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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44380
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Could you advise me please? I have worked for a company

Customer Question

Could you advise me please?
I have worked for a company since 21st September last year(2015I am a sales advisor in office at a factory
After having one weeks annual leave I returned to work on Monday 5th September (2016),
After working for around an Hour my company director who is an hands on director asked if she could have a word and we went into a room we use for meeting clients etc. When I got into the room I noticed a work colleague sat in the room with a note pad and pen, I was asked to take a seat as she wanted to have a chat.
I was told that while I was away some errors and mistakes had come to light and that she had looked back over the last couple of months. So we had a chat I didn't make many comments as I was a bit taken back and felt a bit intimidated and nervous. She then told me to return to work and she would decide what her next step was. a couple of hours later I was called back in the room where I was asked to read the notes that had been taken, these where typed up notes on A4 paper no official company header nothing stating that I was receiving a disciplinary I was asked to read the 3 A4 Sheets and sign the last sheet and initial the first 2. Most of the time that I had worked there I felt intimidated I was often crying at my desk still trying to do my work as it was unbearable as she was always stressed she was always shouting at everybody. It was like a form of bulling in the work place, I was a confident person before I started this job I am now suffering from depression and anxiety attacks and I'm now on medication I have held Managers positions in previous employment and know this is not how you deal with a disciplinary, I went home that evening and after being home for around an hour I started with really bad chest pain and pain in my left arm. The next morning (Tuesday 6th September 16) my daughter rang to say what had happened the night before and that I would not be in work that day ( rang 8.05am) I went to the doctors as I felt so ill I knew I had been like this for more than 6 months but tried to deal with this myself but I was now at breaking point. the doctor diagnosed me with depression and anxiety stressed related and signed me off work for 4 weeks gave me medication citalopram and have to go back to see her,
I returned home and found that someone from the company had been to my home to deliver a letter which explained that I had been dismissed giving me I weeks lieu of notice.
Have I been treated UN fairly and do I have any rights. I had looked on Acas and citizens advice but seem to get conflicting advice
Thank you in advance
Jean Smith
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.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
hello Ben
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

Hi Jean. I am sorry to hear of your experience. Based on what you have described, what would be the ideal outcome for you given the circumstances? Please can you also tell me whether you are wanting to return there?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I think that they have made it impossible to return and even if I did it would be unbearable, I went home every evening upset my husband told be to pack my job in but things are not that simple I've always been employed and I've never need sacked.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will 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. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

Thanks for your patience. The main issue here is going to 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.). 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 the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions 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. If you did not have a written contract in place you would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. Your employer would either have to allow you to work that notice period and pay you as normal, or they will have to pay you in lieu of notice.

Based on the information you have provided, the only potential way of challenging this would be to see if your conditions can amount to a disability. Mental conditions such as depression can also be a disability if you meet the necessary criteria so we would have to look at that to see if you can tick all the boxes to satisfy this and argue that they have acted in a discriminatory manner because of a potential disability.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on disability and how to determine if you are disabled, 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: 44380
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

Thank you. In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’.

The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

I will break this definition down:

  • Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;
  • Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;
  • Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;
  • Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.)

If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.

What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances. Below are some examples:

  • making adjustments to work premises;
  • allocating some of the employee’s duties to others;
  • transferring the employee to fill an existing suitable vacancy;
  • altering the employee’s hours of work;
  • allowing the employee to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment connected to their disability;
  • acquiring or modifying specialist equipment;
  • providing supervision or other support.

If someone who is disabled is being treated unfavourably because of their disability or their employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments it would potentially amount to disability discrimination. The first step would be to raise a formal grievance. The next step would be to consider whether a claim for disability discrimination should be made in an employment tribunal (the time limit for claiming is only 3 months from the date of the alleged discriminatory act taking place).

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:

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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