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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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What has to happen in order to claim unfair treatment at

Resolved Question:

What has to happen in order to claim unfair treatment at work?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Can you please explain your situaiton in some more detail?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I started working in a Finance department doing a number of tasks, the main one being Bank Reconciliation and not much invoice data entry. Two younger team members joined the team followed by a new supervisor who shortly on arriving took the bank Rec. away from me on the premise that jobs will be rotated. I agreed as I had been doing it for a year but had hoped that it would have been replaced by something similiar or at least as interesting. I then realised that gradually other tasks were being taken away and I was now expected to spend most of my time inputting invoices. Over time I was being pulled up for not processing as many invoices as expected which I found stressful as the volume of incoming invoices continued to grow and I feel somewhat undermined as that was not the role I was taken on to do. I never considered myself to be an inputter. So basically the more interesting tasks were given to the younger team members. I do have other tasks which do take up a part of each day but somehow the Supervisor does not appreciate that that is case, so I feel very pressured as I'm not meeting expectations. To top it, very recently myself and the other team member who works 3 days a week and does mainly inputting were told separately that they had created a Senior Accounts assistant role which any of the 4 of us in the team could apply for. I made it clear I was not interested in the role but we knew that one of the younger team member would have been the obvious choice. A month later I had assumed that the position hadn't been filled only to find out through an email sent to all staff listing joiners and leavers that not only was the appointment made a month ago but that both the younger team members were made Senior Accounts Assistants.I felt very humiliated and undermined by the fact that the Supervisor did not think it necessary to inform myself and my other older colleague that this had happened. we are supposed to be a team of 4 and yet she treated us with such disrespect and lied to us about there being 1 vacancy when there were 2 and encouraged us to apply for the position when all the time she knew we would never have gotten the job anyway. Other people in the Finance department knew of the appointment but we didn't. It is just the implication that I am stupid and insignificant or both. As a result I feel totally demoralised and demotivated and am thinking of finding another job. Do I have a case. My other colleague is 62 and feels the same.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Full time since Oct. 2014
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Was that the start of your employment with them or did you work before that part time or in another capacity?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I started as a temp helping out processing invoices in May 2014 until around July, I then left and was temping at another company when I was offered the similar role full time but 2 days a week but before I formally accepted the full time role came up as the person doing the Bank Reconciliation etc, was leaving and I was offered his role which I accepted. But at that point and prior to that the processing of invoices was done by the team and not by 2 people one of whom was already only 3 days a week.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can we continue tomorrow please.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Unfair treatment at work can encompass an unlimited number of scenarios so it is difficult to pinpoint specific factors which must be present for that to happen. It really depends on what the unfair treatment complained is of and what the reasons for it are.

For example in bullying, that is defined as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.” Whatever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual subjected to it.

In constructive dismissal, there has to be a breach of contract and a common breach by the employer occurs when it, or its employees, have broken the implied contractual term of trust and confidence. The conduct relied on could be a single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario).

In any event you cannot just claim for unfair treatment at work. You have to be able to identify the grounds on which it is happening and pursue it that way. The issue for you is that with less than 2 years’ service you are not protected against constructive dismissal. This wold be the most common way of making a claim for things like bullying, general unfair treatment, etc. So to be able to claim you must really be able to show that it was on grounds of discrimination, which does not require a minimum service to claim. This could be things like gender, race, age, religion, etc.

You have mentioned your age may be a factor here but you must be able to show that there was indeed referential treatment for younger workers when compared to you, as an older one. As you can imagine it could be pure coincidence that you were treated the way you were and it may have nothing to do with your age so some evidence that may suggest they had preference for younger workers will be needed.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have on taking this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. So in the first instance you can raise a formal internal grievance. Check if you have a grievance policy to see it says how you should do this, if not then it is a formal written complaint sent to your manager. If you wish to make a claim for age discrimination in the tribunal you only have 3 months from the date of the discriminatory behaviour to do so.

A new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal.

If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement.

The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here:

https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage

In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.

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