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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48517
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been working for a tour operator for now over 3 and

Customer Question

Hi, I have been working for a tour operator for now over 3 and half years. My position has always been a Travel Consultant and wage had been increased based on the year of services and inflation, now I am the highest paid employee out of the three on the team. My role is said to be not a target based (based on contract). Long story short, the company isn't doing well and the owner is struggling to pay the debtors (roughly around worth of £10000 of debt including my cash expenses of £400 from September). In September, while she sent me to do a tour guiding job (which is not in my contract) the owner emailed me about how she didn't like the way I manage the files and email finished with a sentence "consider this as your first warning" (no meeting or warning prior to this) and just last Friday she emailed me about how I wasn't following the company's procedure on creating quotations for our clients, I replied to her and explain why I quote the client the way I always do (based 100s quotations I have been doing over the 18 months that I was assigned to do private incentive tours and more than 50 successful converted business which brought the record sales to the company), I followed up with another email requesting the training she promised when she first assigned me the responsibility of selling private incentive tour (the 2 people before me both had training in Holland HQ). I then received a reply and said this is not about me but the company and the company will only train people who are willing to learn and if I do not follow as instructed my position will be untenable (quote) and in the end of the email she said this is the second warning and mentioned in this email that first one was on 12/09.
I got panic and was confused, then replied and said she could not judge my willingness to learning by not offering me the training and asked if there was an appeal proceces in placed. Then she replied and told me my disciplinary hearing would be on coming Thursday (again, I never had one before or been mentioned one at all) and I would have 5 days after the hearing for the company to decide what action they would take against me. Is this a constructive dismissal case? Can I hire outside legal representative to the hearing?
This is just one case of her lashing out at staff when we are at off peak season and have problem with cash flow. There maybe other who quit the job because the emotional stress they were under during the employment here, however, none of them lasted as long as I have. I feel really angry and stressed.Although she has cash flow problem but the company actually belongs to a larger group in Netherlands who support our London operations on both financial and strategic side. (For instance, I have heard from the manager /owner said that she is waiting for the money to come through from Holland to pay our wages).
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 in the circumstances?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
One way or another if she is at fault I want to be compensated for my stress and hopefully it is servere enough to act as a lesson for her.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

Thank you. First of all you cannot just make a claim for compensation here, regardless of how stressful this experience has been. To be able to claim you must either resign and claim constructive dismissal, or be dismissed and claim unfair dismissal. So one way or another your employment just terminate first before you can claim. That then brings the big decision to you - are you feeling you have had enough and are willing to take the risk and resign, or are you willing to fight for your job and see what happens, and then perhaps claim if they end up dismissing you? If you had to choose between the two, the ‘safer’ option is to stay because a constructive dismissal claim can be quite difficult, whereas an unfair dismissal one is generally considered easier to claim. So if you could, it is better to be dismissed than to have to resign.

At this stage your only ‘weapon’ against the employer is to raise a formal grievance about what has happened. It is a formal complaint which should be investigated by them and dealt with fairly. If this does not help then as mentioned your only two options for claiming are to either resign or to be dismissed and then take it further.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the steps you need to take if you had to make a claim in the future. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you for your advice, I agree that I should stay and see what happens. The previous two employee who were forced leave they were offered 4 weeks notice pay, if she offer me the same package for me to be dismissed should I accept it? Will I have any chance to be compensated more if I go to court? My thinking is not how much I will gain but more of how much she will loose even if a solicitor takes a large portion of the compensation and leave less than what I should have if settle at the time of dismissal.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

What is your notice period under contract?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
4 weeks notice period.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 month ago.

Well they are basically offering you what you would have been legally allowed to get on termination anyway (unless you were being dismissed for gross misconduct without notice period, but this is not the case here). So they are offering the bare minimum and if you were considering signing away your rights to sue them in return for a payment then I would certainly advise that you negotiate for more. If you were to claim against them and win unfair dismissal, then you will get more as it is most likely.