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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48192
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been employed for 3.5 weeks in a ixed term contract

Resolved Question:

I have been employed for 3.5 weeks in a ixed term contract of 4 months. My mother who is 74 fell and broke her hip on Tuesday, having previooulshave beenby suffered no ill health. This was a shock to us as a family and my father has broken down repeatedly crying on the telephone but insisting that I dont visit. After this phone call at work at approx 11am my employer sent me home. I have been all at sea. I have 2 samll children at school, my husband was away working in Romania all week. It was awful. I didnt go into work on the wednesday citing family (and my) distress!) the owner of the company, guy, assured me on the phone that 'family comes first' (twice) Since then I have been served with an offical dismissal notice on the basis of gross incompetence. Please help, this is a small family firm with a bullying nature. How please do I stop people doing this?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How much notice were you entitled by contract and his much were you given? Please note that as I am just going offline I won't be able to respond now but you will have my full response first thing in the morning, thanks
Ben Jones :

Hi, I on't think I have received an answer to my initial query above, without which I cannot provide my response. Could you please let me know how much notice you were entitled to under contract and how much you were actually given?

Customer:

Hi there, sorry for delay in reply. I was entitled to 1 months notice which works both ways. The women cited 3 reasons for suspension on full pay.

Customer:

1. I had made some mistakes on the 'sage' software, these were normal mistakes any new employee would make and included things like 'penny rounding' problems.

Customer:

2. Two orders were missed from the downloading process, resulting in delays to customers. We had already discussed this and the sage problems in the office and it was just treated as one of those things.

Customer:

3. Because I was neither ill nor required by my family on the wednesday i should have been in work. Her husband, guy, the co owner of the company had told me 'family first' and no problem Jo, on the phone the day before. Very confusing!!

Customer:

This women basically went home that night and spent the evening hunting for anything she could' get' me on.

Customer:

She arranged a disciplinary 'hearing' at her own home in devizes next Tuesday.

Ben Jones :

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.).


 


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. Even if you had a fixed term contract, as long as there was a specific clause for early termination, which was correctly followed, your employer could terminate your employment before the expiry of the fixed term. Together with the fact there is no protection against unfair dismissal at this stage, you won’t be able to challenge the dismissal unfortunately.

Customer:

I am flabergasted that people can get away with this. I was not dismissed, suspended on full pay

Ben Jones :

You said o were issued with notice of dismissal?

Customer:

i meant suspension, i am upset and confused

Ben Jones :

Ok, well at least you know the law in terms of a potential dismissal. As to suspension, being placed on suspension is not an automatic assumption of guilt and does not amount to disciplinary action. It is there to be used as a precautionary measure whilst an employer investigates any allegations against the employee. Reasons for suspending could be in the case of gross misconduct, breakdown of relationship, risk to an employer's property, their clients or other employees, to preserve evidence or ensure it is not tampered with, avoid potential witnesses being pressured or intimidated, etc.


 


During the period of suspension the employer should conduct a reasonable investigation into the allegations against the employee. If the investigation gathers enough evidence to justify the taking disciplinary action that could be the next step. In that case the employee has the right to be informed in advance of the allegations against them and be given the opportunity to prepare for the hearing.


 


On the other hand, if the investigation does not find enough evidence to justify a disciplinary, the employer should terminate the suspension immediately and allow the employee to return to work as normal.


 


So at this stage you simply have to wait and see where they take this and in the meantime you should gather any evidence to counter the allegations.

Ben Jones :

But again, you cannot challenge the suspension because you cannot resign and claim constructive dismissal as there is also a 2 year service requirement to claim that

Ben Jones :

I am mobile at present sp my connection will soon drop but I will respond to any follow up questions you have today, thank you

Customer:

ok thanks but basically i havent got a leg to stand on! the laws an ass!

Ben Jones : At this stage you have to just wait to see where the suspension goes, because as mentioned there is no guarantee it will result in anything bad for you. For all you know you could be allowed to return to work once things have calmed down. But if this was to result in a dismissal then unfortunately you will not be able to challenge it as long as your notice period was paid
Customer:

ok thank you for your help

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, all the best

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