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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47902
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am a locum social work manager and two weeks ago I gave notice

Customer Question

I am a locum social work manager and two weeks ago I gave notice to end my current contract and was due to end on the 25th October.

However, on Friday 18th October my line manager told me at the end of the working day that he was told that I said something in a meeting the day before that upset some of the staff so today is my last day.

The manager did not investigate or even ask me for my account of what took place in this meeting. I feel that I have been unfairly dismissed can I challenge this treatment.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. When you say you were a locum, I presume you worked on a self employed basis rather than as an employee?

JACUSTOMER-cu1azgg8- :

Yes that is correct

JACUSTOMER-cu1azgg8- :

However it is via an agency

Ben Jones :

were you paid up until the end of your original notice period?

JACUSTOMER-cu1azgg8- :

He did not confirm that I would be paid up until my original notice period

Ben Jones :

When are you due to be paid for it?

JACUSTOMER-cu1azgg8- :

Well he signed my timesheet for the week ending the 18th October and I will receive this payment on Friday.

Ben Jones :

What are the repercussions of this situation apart from a potential non-payment for the remainder of the notice period?

JACUSTOMER-cu1azgg8- :

Im not sure if my reference will state that I was dismissed

JACUSTOMER-cu1azgg8- :

Also they have not fulfilled there contractual obligation of giving me the minimum notice period of one week

Ben Jones :

Was there a disciplinary/dismissal procedure you were subject to under contract that they should have followed?

JACUSTOMER-cu1azgg8- :

My assumption is that procedure was not followed because I am an agency worker

Ben Jones :

Your rights on dismissal will be somewhat limited as you are not an employee and statute mainly deals with how employees are treated in such circumstances. Also protection against unfair dismissal is a right that only applies to employees, not to the self employed or agency workers. As such you cannot claim unfair dismissal in this case.

All you can do is claim for breach of contract if you can show that the employer has not followed the correct procedure when ending your employment or they did not pay you any contractual notice period due.

Whether you resigned and were due to finish next week, or they dismissed you and gave you a week's notice, you would still be entitled to the same now. There is no guarantee they will not pay you yet so it could be that by the end of next week you will be in receipt of the pay for notice due to you. If they do not pay you then you can certainly consider a breach of contract claim to pursue the pay for the remainder of your notice period.

Failure to follow procedure will only be relevant if you had a specific procedure which applied to you which was not followed. I presume a specific procedure may have been contained in a workplace policy but that would only be applicable to employees. So your reference is what is in your contract, rather than a workplace policy.

Finally - references. Whilst there is no legal obligation on employers to provide a reference for past employees, if they choose to do so they will automatically owe them a duty to take reasonable care in the preparation of the reference. This basically requires the employer to be accurate in the contents of the reference and ensure it is based on facts, rather than personal opinion.

Certain difficulties may arise, depending on the circumstances that have led to a particular reference. For example, in the case of Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd it was decided that an employer will be negligent in providing a reference that refers to an employee’s misconduct unless the employer had carried out an investigation and had reasonable grounds for believing that the misconduct had taken place.

This could lead to a reference being negligent so the employer has to be careful about what they say and if they are not, it could give rise to a negligence claim against them.

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your query or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?

Ben Jones :

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you are unhappy for some reason with the advice - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you very much