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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48556
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Iam an agency worker and have recently had 1 day off sick,

Customer Question

Iam an agency worker and have recently had 1 day off sick, the following day I returned to work, but I was so ill I left early. That was the only time I had off ill since joining the organisation and within 2 days of returning to work, staff as a whole were verbally informed that they were rolling out new procedures for sickness called the traffic light system with immediate effect and retrospectively. This meant any time off sick for any period even if they shown up for work and left work early they would be automatically be placed on amber traffic light (sick note or not), a formal warning that will go on the employment record. Can they discipline me retrospectively like this?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to be able to assist with your question today. Please let me know what does it mean if you continue receiving these warnings for absence?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


okay one absence puts you on amber 2nd is red and you are dismissed.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.
How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Since 18th September 2012 and my contract ends 31st July 2013.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.
There is nothing specific in law that deals with retrospective disciplinary action, although the general legal principles of fairness and reasonableness would dictate that such action is unfair and should not be applied. However, you may not necessarily be able to do anything about this and that is mainly due to your status as an agency worker. You see, as an agency worker you do not get the same rights as an employee and your protection in your employment is rather limited. Most importantly you will not be protected against unfair dismissal which means that the employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason they want. Therefore, whilst an employee may have been able to challenge the fairness of a dismissal that begun with a potentially unfair retrospective disciplinary, you cannot do this if you are an agency worker. So even if the actions that your employer took are potentially unfair, you cannot actually challenge them formally. In fact, even if you were an employee you would not have been able to challenge this as to claim unfair dismissal you need at least 2 years of continuous service, which unfortunately you do not have.

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you wanted to hear but I hope you understand I have a duty to explain the law as it actually stands and sometimes this does mean delivering bad news. Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Thank you I have not yet been disciplined but I have a feeling this will be coming so I wanted to know my rights in advance,


Thank you again,


Carolyn

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.
My pleasure and all the best