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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45376
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I started a new job on Monday last week as a PA to a Practice

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I started a new job on Monday last week as a PA to a Practice Manager (medico-legal). I had been offered the job a month prior to taking up my new position. I submitted the required month's notice to my previous employer and, during the time I was working my notice, I met my new employers twice. I left my previous employment because the new job seemingly offered improved work conditions and a better salary, as well as prospects for expanding my skills. On Thursday the Practice Manager stated that I was making myself too many cups of tea and that I wasn't allowed to accept/make any personal calls on my cell' 'phone. She stated that these were 'Company Rules'. At no time during my interview nor at the second meeting, and not on the day I started did I receive any kind of induction or was it indicated to me that there were any 'Company Rules'. The Practice Manager as very rude and shouted at me that I should have known these rules were in place because she thought everyone automatically knew - she suggested that these were normal practices in 'all offices'. I tried to reason with her by asking if this 'rule' about calls applied to everyone in the business and she said 'yes'. However, during the first three days of sharing the office with her she made many personal calls to organise her wedding, making arrangements with her daughter and calling the washing-machine repairman. I understand that she was my line manager, but I asked her if she was not subject to the same rule. This obviously angered her and she shouted at me that she worked 'damned hard' and often worked 12-hour days and, as a result, did not have time to organise her personal affairs outside of office hours.
On Thursday evening I received a 'phone call at home from the business-owner's wife (company accountant and Practice Manager's cousin) who stated that I had upset the Practice Manager so much she 'was shaking' and that I obviously didn't fit in. She also stated that they were unhappy that I went to eat my lunch in my car during my 30-minute midday break (so that I could get a proper rest away from the desk and listen to the news). She had a real problem with that, though I told her that there was nowhere to sit (there are no proper kitchen facilities at this business, only a micro, sink and kettle, no table and chairs). She said I should have taken my food back into the office to eat at my desk with the Prac Manager.... It was all really illogical. However, the upshot was that I was told not to come back - that they would process my week's pay and a week's notice pay (two weeks' salary). I have a one-page contract which states I was on a three-month probationary period, but what I really want to know is, does this constitute unfair dismissal? There was no meeting, no discussion, no letter, nothing. Is this right? I left a well-paid job and joined them in good faith. I am now unemployed and the job-market is bad in this part of the UK.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Did you have a contractual notice period for termination?

Customer:

Do you mean within that contract? It states that I work a probationary period for three months, during which the notice period is one week on either side.

Ben Jones :

If you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.). In the event that the reason for dismissal fell within these categories, then the dismissal will either be automatically unfair, or there will be a potential discrimination claim.


 


If the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then you would not be able to challenge it and your only protection would be if you were not paid your contractual notice period, because unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct, you would be entitled to receive your contractual notice period. As you were paid the contractual notice period you were entitled to, unfortunately you will not be able to challenge the dismissal.


 

Customer:

This grossly unfair - my life has been left in tatters and this had nothing to do with my work/performance. Surely they were obliged to give me some sort of induction at the start of my employment?

Ben Jones :

No I am afraid this is not a legal requirement

Customer:

So basically, I have no comeback whatsoever?

Ben Jones :

In these circumstances, I am afraid you do not, there is no discrimination at play by the looks of it

Customer:

Thanks anyway.

Ben Jones :

You are welcome

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45376
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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