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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44961
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hello, I am UK General Manager at a distribution company.

Customer Question

Hello, I am UK General Manager at a distribution company. I have had a personal relationship with my Head of Marketing that people suspect but can't prove. We are currently restructuring her department which will involve the senior designer position being removed and the creation of a bank of standard designers on lower pay. He will be given an opportunity in the restructure to apply for this role, but I suspect that he will choose redundancy as an option. I have just found out that if we go down this route he intends to go for constructive dismissal and site the relationship between myself and the head of marketing as the reason his current role has been identified as non existant going forward. He will use past disciplinary issues with the head of marketing as further reasoning for this cause of action. I have been given a 'heads up' of this by my senior report line and asked to come up with options that include;
1. Admitting my relationship with the head of marketing
2. Removal of marketing from my report line
3. Offering the head of marketing redundency or sacking her for gross misconduct (surely if proven)
4. Putting myself forward for voluntary redundency
Either way, we want to avoid dragging our names into the mud or raising this unneccessarily as we are owned by a very strict Irish PLC.
I feel very nervous as myself and the head of marketing have always conducted ourselves very professionally at work, but clearly the rumours are rife and credibility is at stake. What is the best option?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to be able to assist with your question today. Please let me know how long you have worked there?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Me 12 years


Head of marketing - 2.5 years

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
is there a policy that prohibits such relationships? Does this relationship affect you professionally in any way, can it be implied that you or your partner are placed in a more favourable position or taking advantage of this in any way?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


For Ben Jones only


 


No policy in handbook preventing people from having relationships at work.


 


The head of marketing reports into me but as previously stated, we conduct ourselves very professionally at work. However, we have been together for 2 years and work people do suspect.


 


I believe it will be implied by the Senior Graphic designer that because of my 'suspected' relationship with his line manager that she has influenced me to identify his position as effectively redundent in the re-org as they have had a turbulent past.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Which is your preferred option out of the ones you have listed?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


1. I really want to know based on the information I have sent to you whether I should be worried for myself and the head of marketing (partner)


2. Could the senior Graphic Designer have a strong case even though I don't believe he has any proof of our relationship?


3. Am I already guilty by association as I have mentioned to my boss (also a good friend), that a non work relationship did happen in the past.


3. After 12 years, I have recently considered moving on, so if I could get a healthy settlement, then that would be option 1, with option 2 being removal of marketing from my responsibility and option 3 being settlement for head of marketing

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
1. I really want to know based on the information I have sent to you whether I should be worried for myself and the head of marketing (partner)

At this stage you have not broken any specific rules, there is no policy that prohibits personal relationships between staff and also there is no direct evidence to suggest the redundancy has been engineered in a way that your relationship has been used for personal or professional gain. As long as you can keep everything above board and justify the proposed restructure and redundancy then there should be no issues, at least from a legal point of view. Your employer's personal view on this may be different but that cannot be pre-empted really and only time will tell.

2. Could the senior Graphic Designer have a strong case even though I don't believe he has any proof of our relationship?

If he was claiming constructive dismissal then it would be up to him to convince a tribunal that there was a breach of contract by the employer (which can include your actions) but as mentions if you can objectively justify the restructure and the proposed redundancy then this will be difficult for him to prove, even if the relationship was revealed

3. Am I already guilty by association as I have mentioned to my boss (also a good friend), that a non work relationship did happen in the past.

No, not necessarily. At present this is more of a circumstantial matter rather than anything more concrete.

3. After 12 years, I have recently considered moving on, so if I could get a healthy settlement, then that would be option 1, with option 2 being removal of marketing from my responsibility and option 3 being settlement for head of marketing

There is nothing preventing you from opening negotiations with the employer over a potential mutually agreeable departure. They would be more inclined to have this wrapped up amicably rather than face potential legal action by the other employee and by you, if you were to be removed yourself, or forced to leave. So that is an option you can consider.

Please take a second to leave a positive rating as that is a very important part of our process. Your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you

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