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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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I am a freelance television editor. I was recently sacked from

Resolved Question:

I am a freelance television editor. I was recently sacked from a job after 5 weeks of a 7 week contract. At the time I was asked to leave by the Unit Manager I was told it was because I had said I couldn't do as much overtime as I had done the previous week, when I had worked 90 hours.
However on the morning of my dismissal I had found myself in a disagreement with my immediate colleague which concluded with her declaring that she was walking out, which she did. My agency subsequently told me that the Unit Manager had received email complaints about me from this same colleague, I don't know what the nature of the complaints were.
Despite having a contract/booking stating that cancellation of the contract within 24 hours would mean the booking would be 100% payable, the production company have refused to pay any notice period. This same company had also provisionally hired me for a 5 week booking in January 2015. It seems unlikely that I will now get this contract, meaning that I may lose 7 weeks work, amounting to around 15% of my annual income.
I would like to know whether I can make a Subject Access Request to see the emails and assess their content for libel/defamation and who if anyone I should be suing if it turns out that the content relating to me is untrue and injurious to my professional reputation.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 2 years ago.
taratill :

Hello with regards ***** ***** contract point are you saying they have failed to pay notice , in breach of contract?

Customer: That is my understanding yes
Customer: My agency agreed that they are in breach of contract, but warned me not to pursue the company for payment because it might have implications for future employment in the industry. However it would seem to me that my future employment might already be negatively impacted.
taratill :

Do you believe that the original decision to terminate you in breach of contract could be deemed to amount to discrimination on the basis of sex. age, race, religion, disability, pregnancy or for raising a health and safety or other whistleblowing type complaint?

Customer: No
Customer: It was not made clear to me precisely what the decision was based on. I was told one reason in person and then my agency was given different information later the same day.
Customer: i have asked for a meeting to clarify what the reasons were. However as a freelancer I don't think they are obliged to give me a reason, but they are obliged to pay notice. Ny issue is more with regard to my professional reputation and how this may have been damaged. For this reason I would like access to any emails that relate to this.
taratill :

Ok well they do not need to tell you reasons but they should pay you notice and are in breach of contract if they fail to do so in accordance with the regulations.

taratill :

You are entitled to make a Subject Access Request (SAR) for data they hold about you.

taratill :

This would include any written information, including emails.

taratill :

They are entitled to delete information that would identify other individuals.

taratill :

They are entitled to charge a £10 admin fee and can take up to 40 days to respond to the request.

taratill :

If they fail to comply you can report them to the Information Commissioner at www.ico.gov.uk

taratill :

The problem is that as it is a 'small world' this may get around and it may affect your ability to obtain future work, as you have already been told by the Agency. But this is your legal right and you are entitled to ask for the information.

taratill :

If you have any further questions please ask.If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.

Customer: Ok, if the information or accusations are untrue (as I suspect they are as I had previously only received grateful and positive feedback from senior colleagues), can I then take steps for redress of damage to my professional reputation, which in this 'small world' is extremely important. If I do nothing in order to protect my future employment, what can I do about the damage that is already done?
taratill :

The only redress might be in the law of defamation but this does not normally apply in the employment context and only occurs where a statement (oral or written) is publically made (which is why it does not normally apply in the employment context), which is untrue and has the effect of making right minded individuals hate or ridicule you. It is highly unlikely that this would be the case. The other possibility is in the tort of negligent misstatement which is where something is untrue is said which causes you harm, this could be a factually incorrect reference.

taratill :

To be honest both of these are quite difficult to prove.

Customer: I should add that I have been in this job as a freelancer for 15 years and have never been sacked from a a job before.
taratill :

I can see why you are upset by this. You can claim in breach of contract for the notice pay if you do not want to do anything else.

Customer: Ok well that does clarify my situation for me. I'm basically screwed.
taratill :

Sadly UK employment law does not protect the employee so much these days. The government are putting control back in the Employers had to the detriment of employment rights.

Customer: I have however asked for a meeting with senior colleagues to discuss the situation which they have a greed to in principle. I have not made any other contact with any parties , so perhaps it is in my interest to patiently explain my side of the story and find out whether they would still give me a positive reference, they did also feed back to my agency that the thought I was 'a great editor', which begs the question of why they simply sacked me rather trying to intervene and manage the relationship between myself and my colleague. And accept the situation as 'shit that happens'.
Customer: Ok well, I got my answer though. Thank you
taratill :

No problem, I am really sorry that this has happened and I hope you get your answers at this meeting. I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer as I am not otherwise credited for the time I have spent answering your question. All the best for the future and do come back to me if you need to.

Customer: Yes absolutely thanks
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6307
Experience: Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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