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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48208
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Work place harassment - an email was posted on the main

Customer Question

Hello,Work place harassment - an email was posted on the main staff shared inbox the contents of which are intentionally intimidating and provocative attempting to publicly humiliate me and frighten other members of staff due to a trivial procedural reason. I responded as my position was undermined by falsification of fact. I also responded because this should have been communicated with me privately despite its triviality. I am now intimidated and work is becoming almost impossible due to this unprofessional action. what are my options? I have evidence of the shocking correspondence.
Assistant: Thank you. Can you provide any more details to help us find you the right Expert?
Customer: The nature of the emails are threatening and manipulative. Giving the impression that i am ideal at work. The response email described the method to be used by senior management against me -"to be firm with him not to be seen joking around with him as he will lose respect". This to me is unacceptable and intimidating - other members of staff who were exposed to this were also shocked and feel intimidated by its contents and i have reason to believe that this is an attempt to instil a culture of (name and shame) and of fear among staff in the office.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello how long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Since March of this year.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In line with company policy i lodged a formal complaint request and action to be taken to the director who is also party in this.
We met yesterday but even the meeting tried to steer away from this - implying that the email was a mistake pressing the (reply-all) button on the email.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Customer: The nature of the emails are threatening and manipulative. Giving the impression that i am idol****(correction to my first correspondence with you) at work. The response email described the method to be used by senior management against me -"to be firm with him not to be seen joking around with him as he will lose respect". This to me is unacceptable and intimidating - other members of staff who were exposed to this were also shocked and feel intimidated by its contents and i have reason to believe that this is an attempt to instil a culture of (name and shame) and of fear among staff in the office.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

On what grounds do you think they are picking on you in this way?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am not entirely sure. But it seems that adverse action against staff in this way comes with a history. Several members either lost there jobs or simply left because of this attitude towards staff. The director gives the general manager a carte blanche remit to act in this unprofessional manner. This can make life very difficult over the most trivial rasons. Incidentally the first email was posted by the director (company owner - who is covering for the general manager who is on leave) immediately after i had comeback into the office from the toilet - by implication leaving the office for any reason is enough for either a disciplinary warning or action .
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Okay thanks leave it with me please I will reply later this morning

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I would like to know if this escalates to an employment tribunal - how will this be viewed? Its evident that this was posted on the main inbox for all to see. It serves as a warning to others as well. I have a feeling that the effects of this will multiply as friction is evident - to create an environment of unreasonable restrictions that will ultimately lead to me serving notice of resignation. The general manager is very manipulative and generally resorts to threatening language "i have witnesses" (his assisting staff) as a mobilisation in any dispute. Also what are the legalities of assisting with the running of a family business on the side while employed? I am also being threatened with this as a reason - a "conflict of interest" despite making this clear in the interview that i help my elderly family with this - and seldom engaging in its minor activities during work hours?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for your patience. The issue here will be your length of service. If you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you or force you to leave for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.). In the event that the reason for dismissal fell within these categories, then the dismissal will either be automatically unfair, or there will be a potential discrimination claim.

If there are discriminatory grounds for what has happened then that can amount to discrimination regardless of length of service but it has to be on one of the grounds mentioned above. Whilst a formal internal grievance can be submitted at any time, in terms of legal action the only possible way would be to pursue this if there are discriminatory grounds. If there are not, then there would be no option for further legal steps.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the ways this can be taken further if there was discrimination, 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

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

Thank you, ***** ***** any discrimination based on the grounds I mentioned?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Unfortunatly not - at least not clearly. However there is abuse of position and authority. Surley i have rights that should protect me from this; that should also protect me from public harrasment and intimidation.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Under employment law there is little you can do. If you are looking at harassment, it could be both a civil matter and a criminal one. The law states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment. Although there is no definition of what specifically amounts to harassment, it would usually include alarming a person or causing them distress and must have occurred on at least two occasions.

Under criminal law, and if this is reported to the police who then take action, the punishment for harassment can be imprisonment and/or a fine. A court may also impose a restraining order for the purpose of protecting the victim.

In addition to criminal action, a civil claim can also be brought against a person who is alleged to be guilty of causing harassment. The courts would award compensation to the victim, something that is unlikely to happen if this is pursued as a criminal issue.

So in the first instance the police can be contacted and this matter reported to them as harassment. However, they will not often get involved in trivial disputes so if they believe that this is not serious enough they could refuse to help and advise you that this is a civil matter. In such circumstances, the victim can warn the harasser that their actions are being treated as harassment and that unless they refrain from such behaviour in the future they will be reported to the police and legal action under harassment legislation taken against them.

Another thing though is that as you do not have protection against unfair dismissal, you could potentially be dismissed for complaining about this or trying to take it further s be aware of this potential risk.