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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44876
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I need help to prepare meeting with my employer.

Customer Question

I need help to prepare for grievance meeting with my employer.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 months ago.

Please can you briefly explain your situation so that I can assist?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi Ben, to explain briefly, I worked for a company since 2007 without contract, I am now handing my notice to leave and the owner has invited me to grievance meeting. Not that he wants me to continue to work for him (although his letter suggests the opposite), but just to cover himself in case if I decide to sue him after my resignation. I have several questions to ask about this meeting.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 months ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Can I send you full description of my situation here so that you have full picture?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 months ago.

Yes that would be useful. Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Great, please find below:
So I was employed by a small group of hotels in Central London since 2007 (originally without a contract). I started as Night Receptionist and then worked my way all the way up to the Business Development Manager. Practically I am running hotels - I am the key employee of this company (total number of employees: 9). I do everything from employing staff to managing online hotel reservations. I was in the UK under student visa most of the time, then successfully obtained Tier 2 General visa in 2015 (at this point we signed Employment Contract, but my actual salary and working hours were different from the ones written in the contract - by our mutual agreement), and eventually received my Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK in May 2016, which allows me to leave this employer and get any other employment or set up a company.Around April 2016 I started negotiations with the hotel owner regarding potential hotel rental agreement, since he expressed his interests of 'stepping back' a bit, and I expressed my interests in taking even more responsibilities and risks in the business in return for greater rewards. I have made it very clear to my employer that I was not satisfied with my current position and needed to change it by engaging in this agreement, otherwise there was no point for me continuing working for his company for much longer, since I was no longer dependant on him with my visa, and I clearly had no possibilities of promotion of any kind (I held the most senior position within this small company).In late June 2016, after 2,5 months of negotiations, our deal fell through. Once we clarified that and withdrew our mutual offers, it has become clear that I needed to give notice and leave the company. I delayed this by several days by writing to the hotel owner that I needed some time to think about my future plans, because I just spent 2,5 months fully concentrating on the hotel rental agreement, and it is difficult for me to take an instant decision and give notice straight away. He then went silent for a couple of days, but wrote to me twice asking to give him more information regarding the date I am going to hand my notice and leave.On Saturday 2nd July he asked me once again, and informed that he has already started looking for new staff for his company, and those new staff would be responsible for some of my tasks, because he was not comfortable with the fact that I was the only person dealing with some important processes within the company. I then decided to give him 1 month notice on the same day, 2nd July, even though technically our Employment Contract says I can give just 2 weeks notice (however this contract isn't exactly correct since my salary and hours are different).On Monday 4th July hotel owner received some legal advice and handed me the letter, inviting to a grievance meeting. In this letter he writes that he is dissatisfied with my decision to resign, and would like to reach an amicable resolution enabling me to return to my job with the company. He then told me that this letter and invitation is just to "cover him" in case I decide to take legal action for unfair dismissal or something else. He obviously has no genuine wish to try and return me to work. Neither do I wish to continue working for his company beyond 2nd August.What I want is basically to resign with minimal complications, ideally with some goodwill one-off payment for the fact that I was loyal to his company for 9 years and I held key position and never let him down. Without going too deep into details, I can say that I know everything about his company, including his not perfectly lawful tax and VAT affairs. He is aware of the fact that I am aware of this.Could you please clarify what shall I do or say during grievance meeting? I believe the owner wants just a formal confirmation where I would give statement that I no longer want to work for his company and describe the reasons. Is there anything I need to be particularly careful about during this meeting? What documents would I need to sign and shall I sign them if I am not comfortable for whatever reason? He asked me to send him any grievances I have inwrapping prior to the meeting. What is best write in my situation? If I don't receive any goodwill payment offer from him during the meeting, can I ask him about it or would it be considered as some kind of blackmailing? Can he take any legal action against me or stop me from resigning on August 2nd?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 months ago.

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query.

Could you please clarify what shall I do or say during grievance meeting?

That is quite difficult to answer because a grievance meeting is there to deal with a complaint you have raised with the employer and here I do not see a specific complaint that has been raised by you. You have simply failed to agree in the negotiations to carry forward and as a result you have decided to part ways. That is not automatically grounds for a grievance. So there is nothing really you should be saying – you say as much or as little as you want, it would not really affect your position.

I believe the owner wants just a formal confirmation where I would give statement that I no longer want to work for his company and describe the reasons. Is there anything I need to be particularly careful about during this meeting?

Nothing in particular to be honest. You are free to leave at any time and hey cannot stop that. This meeting is not there to try and catch you out, it is more there for the employer to show that they have tried to cover any potential grounds for you to raise a complaint. Without it your rights would remain the same so do not worry about saying anything you shouldn’t.

What documents would I need to sign and shall I sign them if I am not comfortable for whatever reason?

The only thing they should potentially ask you to sign is the minutes of the meeting. But in any event you do not sign anything you disagree with or are uncomfortable with. If the minutes reflect what was said then you will have no problem in signing these to agree the.

He asked me to send him any grievances I have inwrapping prior to the meeting. What is best write in my situation?

The only real grievance here is the inability for you to negotiate the terms of you remaining to work there. So if you believe they have acted unfairly or unreasonably in the circumstances, that is what you would really be complaining about.

If I don't receive any goodwill payment offer from him during the meeting, can I ask him about it or would it be considered as some kind of blackmailing?

It is not blackmailing if you simply ask for it to reflect the work you have done for them. But it would be blackmailing if you threaten to disclose their practices, such as these relating to taxes.

Can he take any legal action against me or stop me from resigning on August 2nd?

No he cannot. No one can stop you from resigning, an employer cannot refuse to accept our resignation. As long as you give them the required notice period you can leave at any time. Also there are no circumstances they can sue you for in this case.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi Ben,Thanks for your reply.So to summarize, I should go to grievance meeting and say that the only grievance I have is inability to negotiate the terms of me working for the company, after our hotel rental agreement fell through. Then depending on what the other side says, I could ask whether they are planning to only pay me the salary owed, without any additional amount - perhaps this can put a clear message in their head that if they don't propose goodwill payment, then I might take some action against the company in the future, even if it won't be related to my resignation but to other things (tax related).
Can I also ask you the following, the owner has requested to send him over any questions I am planning to bring to grievance meeting in advance. Is this a normal practice? He also requested to provide full details of the person who might accompany me to this meeting. Do I have to provide these details to him by law?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 months ago.

Hi there, who are you planning on taking with you to this meeting?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hi not sure if you saw my question above - who are you planning on taking with you to this meeting?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben,Sorry for the delay with the answer. I was going to go to this meeting by myself. However, the situation has changed in the past couple of days and as it stands there will be no grievance meeting.If I may ask you one last question - since I gave 1 month notice to my employer on the 2nd July, I am due to leave on the 2nd August (employer accepted in writing). On Thursday he informed me that I shouldn't come to work on Friday due to limited space in the office, as he was planning to train someone else. So he proposed for me to take paid day off. Can he legally do this from now until 2nd August, simply stop me from coming to work by giving just a few hours notice (providing he is still paying me my salary)?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hi there, it is possible for them to do so as this is known as ‘garden leave’. Ideally there needs to be a garden leave clause in the contract allowing them to do so. However, even in the absence of such they can still do it because it will be difficult for you to challenge them if you have not suffered any losses as a result. SO if you are still getting paid as normal, they can do it.

If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.

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