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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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My question is about employment termination just before the

Resolved Question:

My question is about employment termination just before the 2 year anniversary.
I had my employment terminated on 15th July this year, having started on 28th July 2014. The employment was terminated with payment in lieu of notice during a meeting on 15th July where I was given a letter advising this.
However, the payment was not made until 29th July which is after my 2 year anniversary so I am wondering whether this therefore means that the effective date of termination could be seen to be 29th July and that I have some recourse and can seek a redundancy offer in addition to my payment in lieu.
My employment contract does allow for PILON - the clause reads, "The company reserves the right to make a payment in lieu of notice for all or any part of your notice period upon the termination of your employment, regardless of whether notice to terminate is given by you or the Company".
Thank you for any advice that can be provided.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

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

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Ben, many thanks for your help.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. Do you know why the payment was made later?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi. It was paid as part of the usual salary run which is the last working day of the month
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

There is a famous case on this subject, namely Societe Generale v Geys, which went as high as the Supeme Court. There, it was ruled that the contract had not terminated until the PILON was paid to the employee, even though they were given notice of termination a couple of months beforehand. However, the PILON clause there sated that the employer “reserves the right to terminate your employment at any time with immediate effect by making a payment to you in lieu of notice”, which suggested that it was the payment that would terminate the contract, not the giving of notice. This is not quite the case here – the clause says that once your employment is terminated, they have the right to make a PILON so the termination itself is not dependent on the PILON being made. So this is the main issue I would see with the argument here and the main difference with the Geys case. Of course, anything can happen in court and a judge may interpret this in different way and to your advantage but by looking at the wording and the case law, this is the main risk I see with claiming.

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 1 year ago.
Thanks - I had found this example as well so its good to know that it is relevant. Would you say that the wording "make a payment in lieu....upon the termination of your employment" is likely to be interpreted in my favour because it is similar to the case above or would this be totally dependent on the judge?
I'm trying to decide whether to try and make a case or just to move on?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Well the issue with such wordings is that they are open to interpretation and it is certainly not black and white where you can state with a degree of certainty whether it will work in your favour or not. The wording suggests that a termination would have already occurred before they are able to make the payment, so that is my main concern. The Geys wording specifically said that they can terminate the employment BY making the payment, here it is ON termination, i.e. once termination has already occurred. But this is the issue with such clauses, it is a play on words sometimes and only a judge can decide what they believe it was meant and how it should apply. Hence, why only a court can give you a definitive answer. Hope this clarifies?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you. Are you also able to advise me on the position around redundancy if I had worked there for over 2 years? The employment was terminated for under-utilisation (I am an IT consultant) and I was not given any indication that there was an issue prior to being terminated.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Sorry I had to leave the office to travel home earlier. If you had worked there for more tan 2 years at the date of termination and the reason for your termination is redundancy, then you would be entitled to a redundancy payment as well. Is this what you were referring to?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year 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 1 year 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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