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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6390
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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Hi. I work as chef full time at my work place, under an executive

Resolved Question:

Hi. I work as chef full time at my work place, under an executive chef. I am a specialist in my area of knowledge but also work as part of a team in the kitchen. I supervise full time and casual chefs. The general workplace has a broad range of ethnic backgrounds including European, African, South American, with many languages being spoken. I am English and this is the language I speak. 2 months ago a Bulgarian man in his mid 20s was taken on as a part time store man, then moved into the kitchen as a kitchen assistant/chef. His English is very limited and he has no experience as a chef. He also owns no knives, safety shoes and has no health, hygiene or safety training. For the last two weeks I have been responsible for delegating him work. As my area is specialist at times, this makes it very difficult for me to give him suitable work, that can be completed to a high standard. Although I have many years of training people from many different backgrounds and levels of ability, and getting the best out of them, I have found this a very difficult challenge. I have found him to lack motivation and an understanding of the job, be slightly arrogant in his attitude and becoming slower each day. On the 2 previous days I had to talk to him about disappearing for 30 mins plus when I had allowed him to go for a 10 minute cigarette break, he said he cant remember the time and it was my job to go look for him. I did this in a calm manner. But yesterday this resulted in the executive chef sending him home early. Then today he came in late and had a meeting with the chef. I was called into the office after. The man claimed I and one of my team have been bullying him. Which means he has been under enormous stress and cannot sleep at night. The executive chef now seems to have done an 180 degree turn. He know says that because of the mans poor English and lack of skills, I have to basically back off and turn a blind eye. To be honest I was absolutely outraged. I have been a chef for nearly 30 years and have a reputation in all departments at my work place and in places I have worked before of being friendly, helpful, polite and encouraging. I find this puts me in a very difficult position. I will have to allow this man to do as he likes without reproach, or anything that is perceived as negative and treat him differently to all the other chefs or he might complain to the executive chef or HR. I also have to produce work to a very high standard and will get in trouble if things go wrong. I have never been in a position like this. I feel like my executive chef has left me in the cold. And that I am powerless to control the situation and may end up getting dismissed and gain a bad reputation. What are my options?
Thanks,
Mitch
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
taratill :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Has the employee suggested that you have treated him badly due to his nationality?

Customer:

Hi. From what the executive chef told me, the man said he was trying his best and wanted to do a good job, which was causing him anxiety. And that because of his lack of understanding of English, I was picking on him. So not sure if it was because of his nationality.

taratill :

Is your manager aware personally of how incompetent he is?

Customer:

When the man first started as a store man, my manager was very rude to him and got upset when he didn't understand the delivery notes and made mistakes with the deliveries. Then for some reason he put him in the kitchen when our regular store man came back from holiday. He knows the man is slow and untrained but thinks I have a magic wand I can wave, and make him fluent in English and a trained chef in a week, as I have inspired some chefs there previously.. My manager is also rude to other chefs and swears at them regularly. As in when he sent the man home yesterday. But today he has changed his mind and put me in the position of bad guy.

taratill :

Has this employee only worked for your employer for 2 months in total or just in the kitchen for 2 months?

Customer:

Part of the store mans job entails basic vegetable chopping and washing of salads. So from the first day he was working in the kitchen 50 % of the time.

taratill :

Ok but how long has he worked there in total, this is important.

Customer:

I'm not 100% sure as I didn't work with him originally. Maximum 3 months, but I think it is probably nearer 2 months.

taratill :

ok I would suggest you first raise your concerns informally with your manager. As he has only 2 months service he can be dismissed for any reason , i..e incompetence so long as he is not discriminated against on the basis of his race or nationality. I would suggest you log all of the issues you have had with him without making reference to his nationality or difficulty in language. You should politely state that if you are not allowed to tell him he is underperfoming you cannot undertake your role properly and this concerns you. You should say that the implication that you have been bullying him also concerns you.

taratill :

If this gets you nowhere you can raise a formal grievance to ask for your employers support in dealing with this employee.

taratill :

The will have to balance his complaint against yours.

taratill :

They cannot take action against you for bullying without evidence. His word alone will not be enough evidence.

taratill :

If you have any further questions about this please do ask.

Customer:

Ok,

Customer:

Thanks for your help

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