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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My son-in-law was recently employed by a local college as a

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My son-in-law was recently employed by a local college as a Maintenance Facilitator. The position was obtained through an employment agency who informed him that the salary was £21,000 pa. At the interview, his potential manager did not discuss salary, working hours, holiday etc. He is also a new employee of the college. He was offered the position at the interview and he agreed to start the following week. After starting he was told by his manager that he was doing well and he would "pass the probation with flying colours at this rate". The manager also stated that "you seem overqualified for the position". After 3 weeks the hours of work were changed from 6am-2 pm Tuesday -Friday and 8am-4 pm Saturday to 2pm-10pm Tuesday to Friday and 8am-4pm Saturday. Although he wasn't too happy to change and the person he was replacing for these hours wasn't happy either - he agreed. The following week he was given his contract to read and sign, which had been signed by the Principal of the College. He signed and returned the duplicate copy, even though he had not completed his 3 month probationary period. He read the contract, which stated a salary of £30,000 pa. He waited until he received his salary for the month, thinking that the possible change in hours reflected the increase in salary. Unfortunately, after working out the hourly rate based on the £21k pa realised he had not been paid the correct monthly salary for even the £21k pa but a salary based on £19,900 pa. He took the contract to his manager to discuss only to be informed that the salary was not £30k and that it was clearly an error. The manager denied ever having sight of the contract and that it was drawn up by someone who was away at that time. After a few days the manager requested that he return the contract and a new one would be issued. He was told that a new contract would be drawn up and in fact he was only to receive £20k pa until he passes his probation and then he would receive £21k pa. This was a shock as it was not mentioned at any time by either the agent nor the manager at the interview! After a week or so and no further contract was given his manager's attitude changed towards him and was given more and more work to complete in shorter time scales and felt pressure from his manager to complete them. He stayed late on numerous occasions to complete the projects, at no extra remuneration.
Yesterday, he was called into a meeting and told he would not be kept on after probation as they were not happy with him, they felt he was dishonest as he did not approach them straight away about the contract. They stated, he has got a lot of staff in trouble over the mistake! They were also unhappy with him staying late on his own as it goes against their safety policy, even though he works alone on a Saturday! His manager stated he wasn't happy with his workmanship and that he was leaving tools around and windows open after his shift. Even though he had never been told the day after windows or tools had been left around. He stated that he made staff feel uneasy with not being happy with the new shift pattern. He informed a colleague that he is leaving, who was shocked as he felt he was a much better worker than the previous employee! He has been asked to stay for a further month until the end of his probation!
I realise he is on probation and that they can ask you to leave at any to but:-
My 3 questions are:-
1. Why would they ask him to stay for one more month if his work was so poor? Isn't the usual practice to give 1 week's notice on either side?
2. If the agent stated £21k and salary wasn't discussed at the interview, is he entitled to be paid at this rate for the 3 months he was told £21k pa?
3. As he's been asked to leave and there is no prospect of staying - would he have recourse to ask for the salary based on the original contract of £30k? Although he gave it back he does still have a copy.
Many thanks,
Lynn McGovern
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
To answer your specific questions:
1. Why would they ask him to stay for one more month if his work was so poor? Isn't the usual practice to give 1 week's notice on either side?
I presume the real reason is not the quality of his work but the fact he has upset them with negotiations over the contract. I cannot comment on the real reasons behind their decision but they may be using his work just as an excuse for him to leave rather than being honest about why really they did not wasn’t to keep him on. But there is nothing stopping them from asking him to stay in the job for as long as they want – he could still refuse to and resign instead giving them the notice he is obliged to give, which if it is just a week, would see him leave before the end of that month.
2. If the agent stated £21k and salary wasn't discussed at the interview, is he entitled to be paid at this rate for the 3 months he was told £21k pa?
Yes he would be – this would still be a binding contract. The agent would have been an agent of the employer so could negotiate on their behalf. Unless the error was by the agent and the employer never authorised such a salary then he can expect to be paid at that rate for the time he was there.
3. As he's been asked to leave and there is no prospect of staying - would he have recourse to ask for the salary based on the original contract of £30k? Although he gave it back he does still have a copy.
Unlikely I’m afraid. Based on what happened it does appear that this was issued in error and if the employer can show that was indeed the case then it would be difficult for him to argue it was binding. A contract agreed to in error can be rescinded so in the circumstances he would be better advised to pursue his rights over the £21k contract as that is a stronger case.
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46738
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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