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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46749
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My son works for a company in the Shetland Isles. He was offered

Resolved Question:

My son works for a company in the Shetland Isles. He was offered another job with a company also working on the same site but in a different capacity. His employer indicated that it was poaching and inferred that it would not take place. They were very aggressive in their manner and were angry that he had only given 5 days notice as opposed to 7 as stipulated in his contract. It was explained that his new employer required him to start immediately and he had negotiated a 5 day period with them.

His new employer advised that his current employer had no reason to stop his leaving and it would be fine if he handed in his notice.

He was due to carry out his last shift with his current employer but was unable to do so as he was taken off shift with no explanation. He was unable to make contact with any of his employers and they switched their phones onto voicemail.

He then received an email from his new employer withdrawing the offer of employment due to their work commitments changing significantly.

As a result of no communication with his current employer and no shifts available to him, he was of the opinion that he had been sacked and left notice that he was heading home to Glasgow.

Having finally made contact with one of his current supervisors, I was told in an off hand way that my son was under investigation and that this had been passed on to his new employer.

My son is completely unaware of any such investigation and has never been notified or has it been implied that any kind of investigation was ongoing.

No response had been received officially in relation to him handing in his notice until this morning by email. A one paragraph email and no mention of anything that has taken place or any investigation.

My son is now unemployed as a result of this fiasco and no-one seems to be interested in resolving this.

I would welcome any comments as I am considering commencing court action on the following grounds:

Breach of contract
Defamation of character
Loss of earnings
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. can you tell me how long your son has been with his employer please

Customer:

I will just check.

Customer:

4 years in September. He was looking for another job because they had been informed that the contract was coming to an end in a few months.

Ben Jones :

Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.

Customer:

ok thank you.

Customer:

This is the email he received from the new employer. No mention of an ongoing investigation.

Customer:

Dear Jamie,


 


With respect to our telephone conversation last week, I am extremely sorry but our work commitments have changed significantly. Due to this, the vacancy is no longer available and I cannot now offer you employment. We will however keep your CV on file and will contact you if we need to in the future.


 


Regards


 


Jan Terlouw


Operations Manager

Customer:

Hi there, are you waiting on me? lol

Customer:

hello?

Ben Jones :

Hi, thanks for your patience. Just finalising my advice but can you please confirm the following first:



  • Did he formally resign with the old employer?

  • When did he stop working for them?


 

Customer:

Hi there,

Customer:

Yes, he did formally resign last week and gave 5 days notice. His contract stipulated 7 days but he was unable to adhere to this as his new employer required him to start immediately.

Customer:

He was due to finish his last shift last night but he was advised that he had been removed from the shift pattern for the rest of the week which was strange.

Customer:

He was unable to make contact with his employer for the whole of the day and it was a stand in supervisor who had received an email asking to inform Jamie that he was no longer required to work. The stand in was not informed of the reason why.

Customer:

I have this afternoon spoken to Jamie's union rep who has advised that the employer is passing rumours around that Jamie had hacked a router and used the password XXXXX access to wifi. The union rep has advised that there is no proof that the router has been hacked or that Jamie was responsible. It would seem to me that they are trying to magic up some excuse for their behaviour.

Ben Jones :

Thank you. One issue here is that he is the one who has initially acted in breach of contract by not giving the employer the required notice period to leave. He may have wanted to give 5 days but if the contract required him to give 7 and he failed to do so or to agree a shorter notice period with the employer, then he would have acted in breach of contract. So in terms of not being allowed to work past his last shift or at all could be down to him acting in breach of contract. So it is unlikely he can argue there was a breach of contract by the employer as he is technically the one in breach here.


 


However, none of this would excuser the employer spreading any rumours about him to others. Any information they provide must be substantiated or at least obtained following some investigation that shows there was some proof of what is claimed. If they have failed to do so and have just made false rumours then it could amount to defamation or negligence on their part. Defamation would be a very expensive and complex claim so whilst you can raise it against the employer and accuse them of it, realistically it is unlikely you can pursue it as a formal claim. Negligence, on the other hand, where they have provided a reference that was untrue could be more realistic and something you can also raise with them.


 

Customer:

would he have a claim of breach of contract against the new employer who offered then withdrew it again? It was clearly due to their offer that Jamie handed in his notice.

Ben Jones :

was he given a contract by them?

Customer:

He was given a verbal contract followed up by emails requesting passport, driving licence etc so that they could process him as an employee. They also gave him a verbal start date of today.

Customer:

It is clear that they have withdrawn the offer due to pressure from the main Contractor whom both companies work for.

Ben Jones :

In the absence of a contract which specified a notice period for termination it is unlikely he could claim anything from them. This is because the law allows an employer to dismiss someone without a contract in the first month of their employment without any notice. So he could have started the job today and without any linked reason or anything to do with the old employer they could have legally terminated the employment straight away and without owing him anything else. Had there been a written contract in place which stipulated a notice for termination he could have pursued them for the pay for the notice period but not otherwise

Customer:

Would he be able to claim constructive dismissal against his original employer? Surely the fact that he was not allowed to carry out his shift and could not make contact with anyone in relation to it would in fact be seen as a failing on the part of the employer?

Customer:

His employer never said they would not accept his notice. They never said anything until after he had left.

Ben Jones :

he had already handed his resignation in - constructive dismissal is when you are forced to resign due to a breach of contract by the employer - this was not the case here, he had already resigned to get another job and the employer's actions were not the reason for his resignation.

Customer:

Okay, thank you. Not what we wanted to hear considering they have conspired against him and told lies about him to his new employer. I would have thought that the new employer would be required to check it out first before taking a decision to withdraw the offer?

Ben Jones :

Not at all - it is up to them what they do in this situation, they are not the ones at fault here, it is the old employer you need to be pursuing

Customer:

You would think that considering the implication for Jamie, they would have at least spoken to him about it. His old employer clearly have no morals as they allowed 6 men to leave under the same circumstances two months before because it suited them.

Customer:

actually, that may be something I can take back to them... it can easily be proven...

Ben Jones :

yes but his rights are separate to what happened to others in the past - it may show a trend but what he can claim and what he can do about this is unique to him

Customer:

I appreciate I must be going round in circles, I'm just so infuriated that employers can treat people any way they like with no scruples.

Customer:

I'll speak again to his union rep as he seemed to think he may be able to do something about it. Not sure what but he seem to be of the opinion that he can prove they are lying. He also works on the plant and is familiar with working practices.. At best they may offer him his job back? At worst, they may compensate him for the lies....

Customer:

thank you for your assistance, it's been very helpful

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, I hope you get to resolve this eventually

Customer:

Thank you :)

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46749
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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