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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46167
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have worked months company. On 14th March

Customer Question

Hello, i have worked for 16 months for a company. On 14th March I was informed verbally by line manager that my employment was to be terminated for sales performance reasons, and I should look for alternative work. No written confirmation was given despite my requesting twice. Meanwhile My manager suggested I would be better off resigning to protect my reference. I subsequently discovered there is a company policy for performance reviews that was not made available to me. HR was advised, and subsequently agreed that the process had not been followed, that the meeting on 14th should not have happened, and that I was not terminated, and that they were investigating. I held a meeting with them and it was agreed there was a procedure for performance improvement that is available (circa 7 months timescale) On Monday (while I was on leave) an e mail was sent to me asking me to attend work to start the process today. I had a doctors appointment (HR were aware of this appointment before they wrote the letter). I calLed my line manager and advised I was sick this morning. I was signed off with work related stress at my doctors appointment, and when I returned home, I found an e mail from HR terminating my employment with effect from today, referring to the meeting that happened on 14th March citing this as my notice period. What can I do?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
What are you seeking to achieve?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
(Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Either a settlement agreement, or at the least a proper period of notice, formal, in writing.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Are you there?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Yes sorry please leave it with me, i am in tribunal so will reply fully later today. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your patience. The starting point is that 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. If you did not have a written contract in place you would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. Your employer would either have to allow you to work that notice period and pay you as normal, or they will have to pay you in lieu of notice. There is no legal requirement to issue notice of termination in writing, unless the contract specified it.As to the performance procedure, you need to check if this was just a non-contractual workplace policy or if it was a contractually binding policy which formed part of your contract. If it was non-contractual the employer would not have been required to follow it in order to dismiss and the above would apply. If it was contractual you can argue that they should have gone through the whole procedure first and that could have meant you remained employed for longer and could consider asking for compensation for loss of earnings for not being allowed to work through that period.If you were not paid your notice period when you were due one, or you were dismissed in breach of a contactual policy, that would amount to wrongful dismissal (which is different to unfair dismissal) and you could make a claim in an employment tribunal to recover the pay for the notice period that you should have been given or for the loss of earnings.This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow if you need to take this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46167
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for this. It looks to me like there may be grounds for wrongful dismissal. Here is the chronology:Verbally told I have been sacked on 14th April with notice to end 31st April but recieved nothing in writing.Subsequently advised to hand in notice by line manager which seemed odd so led me to query company policies that weren't initially provided by company.Had conversation with HR who confirmed I had not been fired and that policies had not been adhered to.Was put on suspension on full pay whilst investigation was going on with line management.Had a meeting with HR in which I requested a settlement agreement as has lost all faith and trust in management and company having been lied to about my position.Company came back on 11th April disregarding my request for settlement and formed a solution that involved me returning to work on weds 13th April at normal working hours to start performance review under manager who had tried to fire me and continue as normal.Had a further conversation with HR on 11th to confirm I wasn't happy with the solution and that there were questions unanswered. At the time, I informed HR I had a doctors appointment on weds 13th.I called in sick to line manager on morning of 13th with stress related illness and subsequently was signed off for two weeks by the doctor.During this period, the company emailed me notifying me of my Immediate termination and that I should return company property. Also stated that they revert back to the original date line management tried to fire me and stated my notice started from then. Also stated that my right to appeal was used when questioning my position following the false sacking on the 14th despite no appeal process ever having been advised to me.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Are you not being paid your notice period and how long is that out of interest?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
My notice period is one month. They have stated that my notice period was covered from the point of telling me I was fired on 14th match up until now 13th April which as of today, my job has been terminated. However, I revert back to the fact that HR said the attempted dismissal on the 14th March was wrong and management hadn't followed correct performance policies. Also not having been given any form or written/formal notice up until today, how does that constitute as a notice period?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Does the contract state that notice must be given in writing?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I cannot locate the contract currently, however, the employee handbook does state that unless the employment is terminated by agreement, you or the company are required to give a period of notice in writing which in my case is one month's notice after probationary period.I can confidently state I have had no notice to this point and that the false notification on the 14th March was confirmed as false by HR so that cannot surely constitute as the beginning of my notice period?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
I would agree that it appears the notice period was retracted by the company so technically the notice you were issued with a month ago should not stand. You can therefore still consider pursuing them for the month which you are due, stating that after the retraction you have not been issued with a new notice of termination
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I'm at a loss as to how to go about this as I have attempted to raise this with HR to which the only response I have recieved is to hand back company property...
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
If the company are reluctant to resolve this then the only option is to make a claim in the employment tribunal. You have 3 months from date of dismissal. A new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal. If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here: https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
So in your opinion, would that be the best way forward? Or would it work to have a lawyer such as yourself to compose a well worded email to the company with the aim of getting a resolution before perusing the tribunal route?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
No need to get a lawyer, unless you want to - you can send a final reminder yourself if you wanted to. after that you may as well use the ACAS service, it is free and also a requirement before you can go any further
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
No problem, I will compose a final reminder again stating our conclusions and requests with the suggestion that if we cannot come to an agreement, it will go through ACAS and a potential tribunal.Thank you very much for your advise.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
You are welcome, best of luck

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