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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44343
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I handed my 3 month notice in on the 9th August due to

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Good afternoon,
I handed my 3 month notice in on the 9th August due to stress and lack of support in my role. I have been there just under a year and it is my first senior management role. I had previously requested a management training course which they cancelled. On the 23rd August at 10am I discussed a hand over and replacements (there are to be 3 new roles in replacement of me) for my role, then the meeting was adjourned and I went back to my unit to work.
At 2pm the owner / Director of the company and a HR representative from an external company came across to the unit and in front of others read out a letter to me that they stated was private and confidential advising me that I was being investigated for Fraud and workplace harrassment and that I was suspended with full pay and had to leave the premises.
I was not informed of the actual allegations. The next day I went to the doctor (I had previously seen the doctor due to stress) and they advised that it would be detrimental to my health to be in any stressful situation and that I was not fit to go to work. I sent the statement of fitness to my Director advising i could not be at work until after the 9th September as per my doctors request. The next day I received an email from the HR representative stating they had received the statement but that they wished for me to attend a meeting / interview on the 31st August, I requested to postpone as I was advised by ACAS that due to the nature of my doctors fitness letter I could postpone until I was mentally able.
The next day I received another email which contained a letter from my Director stating " encourage you to attend so that your views are considered. If you do not attend the meeting on 31 August, I will have no option than to undertake the meeting in your absence. Any outcome could ultimately have potential impact on your employment" and that they had contacted the police, even though it was supposed to be an investigation, not a disciplinary. At this point they still did not state the allegations although I had requested for this information twice. I did speak with a Trade union representative (I am not a member but requested some general advise and guidance) and they said that I could not be terminated at this stage as it is an investigation, not a disciplinary and that I have a right to defend myself, I had not declined the meeting, but requested to postpone until I was fit to return. I advised my employers that they had breached confidentiality and the data protection act by reading out my letter publicly (ACAS advised that they should not have done that and the Trade union representative advise that this has made the investigation biased as people had heard) and that they had also gone against their handbook but trying to intimidate me by stating that they had contacted the police but not stating why and what it has to do with me.
I saw my doctor on the 30th August and told them that my company had requested a meeting twice and she advised not to attend as the stress could be detrimental to my health, She wrote a letter to my employer and it was sent the same day by recorded delivery advising them not to contact me and that they are causing undue stress.
Today I have received another email with a letter attached from my company stating that I have been terminated. They have also stated that I have been in contact with staff (the staff are not employees, they are self employed and one of them is my brother - I have been avoiding contact with the team there) and suppliers - I have not spoken to any suppliers at all.
What can I do?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

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

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

What are you hoping to achieve?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

Hello there, the main issue for you here would 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. This means that your employer can dismiss you 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.). I see no discriminatory reasons here.

So all the factors you have mentioned, such as not providing you with details of the allegations, creating apparent bias by disclosing the allegations, dismissing at an investigatory meeting, dismissing at all….are all irrelevant I'm afraid. That’s because they are all related to the the procedural fairness which is not applicable until you have the 2 years service. The alleged breach of data protection is also a non-issue as you can only really take such maters further if you have suffered direct losses as a result of the disclosure, which is not the case here. So whilst technically it may be a breach, it does not give you any opportunities to challenge it in any way.

If the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the discriminatory exceptions above then you would not be able to challenge it and your only protection would be if you were not paid your contractual notice period, because unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct, you would be entitled to receive your contractual notice period. They should have really given you the opportunity to defend yourself properly before dismissing without notice.

If you were not paid your notice period when you were due one, that would amount to wrongful dismissal (which is different to unfair dismissal) and you could make a claim in an employment tribunal to recover the pay for the notice period that you should have been given. There is a 3-month time limit from the date of dismissal to submit the claim. This is the only potential claim I see in the circumstances.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you must follow if you wanted to take 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

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44343
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi Ben Jones,Thank you for this, please can you provide more information as stated and also can you let me know about defamation in this case as the Trade Union worker said I would have a case for this as the letter was read out in front of people at the unit.Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

Thank you. Defamation is somewhat of an unrealistic option here. Whilst this may appear to be a potential case of defamation (this includes libel if it is in written form, or slander if it is in oral form), such claims are extremely difficult to pursue. Many people are intent on suing for defamation without having any appreciation of the law behind them, so I will try and clear things up for you now.

First of all, certain conditions must be met for the statement to be classified as defamatory. These are:

1. The statement has to be untrue.

2. It must directly identify the complainant.

3. It must have been published, usually communicated to at least another person.

4. It must be in a form of words, which would tend to lower the claimant in the estimation of ‘right thinking members of society generally', expose the claimant to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or cause the claimant to be shunned or avoided.

5. Its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant.

Whilst it may be easy to prove that defamation has occurred, the legal process of pursuing such a claim is extremely complex and expensive. As this goes through the High Court, you would need the professional help of specialist defamation solicitors and the costs are undoubtedly going to run into the thousands right at the outset (usually £15k and above). Also there is no legal aid available for such claims so the complainant must fund these personally. So when you hear about defamation claims being made, these are usually pursued by big corporations or celebrities who have a public image to protect.

You must also consider whether the party alleged of making the defamatory statement can defend the claim. Even if you satisfy the criteria to prove the statement was defamatory it could be defended on a number of grounds, including by providing evidence that the statement was substantially true or an honest opinion.

So the only option is still if you have not been paid your notice period due. In order to try and resolve this, the employer should be contacted in writing, advised that this is being treated as wrongful dismissal and ask them to pay the money within 7 days. Advise them that if they fail to pay the money that is owed, legal proceedings could follow.

If the employer does not return the money as requested, the following options are available:

1. Employment Tribunal - the time limit to claim is only 3 months from the date the deductions were made. To make the claim, form ET1 needs to be completed and submitted - you can find it here:

2. County Court – this is an alternative way to claim and the advantage is that the time limit is a much longer 6 years and is usually used if you are out of time to claim in the Tribunal. The claim can be made online by going to:

Hopefully by warning the employer you are aware of your rights and are not going to hesitate taking further action they will be prompted to reconsider their position and work towards resolving this.

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