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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49857
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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When I returned from three weeks holiday in January to work

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When I returned from three weeks' holiday in January to work in a legal office I was ignored by one of the employees and did not receive any support from the solicitor in charge. As a result I felt unable to return to such an environment at that time and visited my GP and was signed off for a week with stress following a week without a doctor's certificate which I believe is legal (two weeks in total), only to be told when I was ready to return that I was no longer needed. I wonder if I should I have received a month's notice and a month's pay in lieu of notice. I would be grateful for your advice please.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. can you tell me how long you have worked there


12 years starting with full-time then going on to part-time.

Ben Jones :

Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.


I should mention that the lawyer concerned is my sister and this makes it all the more difficult. I also had three weeks holiday in January out of my five week allowance for 2014 but I worked four extra days last year amounting to two weeks in total as I work two days a week which I wasn't paid for so carried them over to this year and also worked two days at the end of January when I returned.

Ben Jones :

Thanks for your patience. You are correct that for the first 7 days of sickness absence an employer is not allowed to ask for a doctor’s note and a self-certificate is sufficient. Any further absence after that would need to be certified by a doctor’s note or other evidence as the employer may require.


In terms of your rights in relation to your dismissal, if an employee has been continuously employed with their employer for at least 2 years they will be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that to fairly dismiss them their employer has to show that there was a potentially fair reason for dismissal and that a fair dismissal procedure was followed.


According to the Employment Rights Act 1996 there are five separate reasons that an employer could use to show that a dismissal was fair: conduct, capability, redundancy, illegality or some other substantial reason (SOSR). The employer will not only need to show that the dismissal was for one of those reasons, but also justify that it was appropriate and reasonable to use in the circumstances. In addition, they need to ensure that a fair dismissal procedure was followed and this would depend on which of the above reasons they used to dismiss.


Just being told you were no longer needed is certainly not good enough and it is very likely that the dismissal here was unfair. You should have been taken through a formal dismissal procedure and also been given a fair reason for the dismissal. Also if you were no longer needed it would suggest that you may have been made redundant and entitled to a redundancy payment. Of course you would have also been entitled to your contractual notice period, which in your case cannot be less than 12 weeks’ notice.


At this stage you have a couple of options – approach the employer to inform them of our rights and ask them to reconsider their decision to let you go, or ask for a fair settlement, including notice period, redundancy payment at the very least.


If you cannot resolve this directly with the employer you have the option of making a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal but you only have 3 months from the date of dismissal to do so, which means you need to act reasonably quickly.

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