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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46780
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I received a conditional offer of employment letter in October

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I received a conditional offer of employment letter in October 2013 and on the 6th. December I was asked to attend a meeting where I was told all the conditions ( ie. reference checks, etc.) had been fulfilled and I was offered a Contract of Employment ( to be issued) on 1st. January 2014, so I would no longer from that day be working on a supply basis I would be a full-time employee. This was also confirmed in an email sent to me on the same day. However I was dismissed, because the college where I worked claim they received an Unsatisfactory reference on 16th. January. I hadn't actually started the job, from 1st. January because I was unfit for work and sent the college a Fit Note to cover my period of absence. However, the college maintain that I was still on a supply contract in January so I was dismissed without any pay (sick pay) or notice. I have challenged the college with the email I received that I was under contract from January 1 but the college claim that they stated in the email, and I quote, ' you will be issued with a contract of employment which will take effect from 1/1/2014 as per the original offer of employment (which at that time didn't include a start date)' and the wording of the email still makes the offer conditional. Are they right about this? is there anything I can challenge?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

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

Ben Jones :

Are you basically trying to get any notice you may be due?

Customer:

Hi Ben!

Customer:

Yes, under the term's of a teacher's contract I would be entitled to one term's pay ( approx. 4 months ) which is not an inconsiderable sum.

Ben Jones :

When you were paid from 1-16 Jan, was that under the old terms or the new ones?

Customer:

I wasn't paid anything! As I said in my question to you I was medically unfit for work at that time and I sent the college a Fit Note signed by the GP. However the college claimed I was still under a supply contract, in their dismissal letter of January 16th.2014, and therefore I wasn't entitled to any notice or pay, including sick pay!

Ben Jones :

You can certainly claim that there was a contract of employment in place at the time of your dismissal - for a valid contract to be in existence you need to have an offer and acceptance, together with some consideration. The employer offered you a contract to start on 1 Jan. You then accepted this and by doing so the contract should have been created. It is not necessary for there to be a contract in writing for it to be in existence or valid - a contract can still exist as long as the offer and acceptance were in place. You may not have begun working under the contract on the 1 Jan but that is not because you had rejected the contract but because you were unfit for work. So the contract could still have been in existence at the time. The only other issue is whether they can state that the contract was still conditional pending successful references because they were still waiting on one, which eventually resulted in your dismissal. That would however depend on whether they had already confirmed that all conditions were satisfied

Customer:

Yes, in the meeting that I referred to, on December 6th. the college confirmed references, etc. were now all in place and that's why I accepted their offer of a contract to be issued on 1/1/2014. The 'sticking point', which the college refers to is the wording on the email confirmation, which I've quoted in the question I put to you. The college claim that because the contract will take effect from January, " as per the original offer of employment", that the offer was still conditional even though, on the 6th.December they gave me a start date as " per the original offer of employment". Perhaps, now you can see why I'm so frustrated about this whole matter Ben!

Ben Jones :

it's ok no need to worry about the time limits on this question

Ben Jones :

I understand your frustration. However the wording does not make the contract still conditional - the conditions were satisfied, the the offer to start on 1 Jan was given and you subsequently accepted it - the contract would have then been in place to start from 1 Jan. As the employer did not indicate in any way that they were postponing or retracing the offer, it would have still been in effect from that date

Customer:

Thank you Ben for your time and kindness! Do you think I could successfully challenge this at the County Court? This is my last question to you.

Ben Jones :

Well no one can guarantee that, only the courts have the final word I'm afraid but there are certainly grounds to take the matter further

Customer:

Thank you. I will sign off now and let you know what happens Ben!

Ben Jones :

many thanks all the best

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46780
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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