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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50138
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My girlfriend works as a coordinator for a personnel company.

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My girlfriend works as a coordinator for a personnel company. Part of her duties is to place medical staff at short notice as/when required
My girlfriend has been working a 6 month probation period for her company. She received a letter last month advising her of a salary increase and stating "this letter as it forms part of your contract of employment"- not sure why her contract states a 6 month probationary period and this letter came after 5 but in any case its been some 6 months now so if it hasn't already, her probation would be ending around this time.
In the original contract it states that if she wishes to leave the company prior to the probation period ending, she should give a weeks notice and after the probation
period, a month's notice.
I noticed that my girlfriend has been under severe stress recently, not sleeping properly and I was concerned for her health. Some issues have now come to my attention that show her employers to be incompetent at best, ***** ***** have advised her to resign without giving notice at the end of this week. The reason that I have contacted you today is that I believe that there are grounds for her to resign without serving any notice period
(any notice period would be hell for her given the way the company treat their staff), and I believe the company would be wise to accept her resignation for reasons I will elaborate on shortly.
Basically my girlfriend is not looking for confrontation and would like to walk away with with as little animosity as possible. If this is understood, she is happy to move on but
if she is pushed into a corner, then she will stand her ground should they decide to pursue her.
Their behavior towards their staff and their clients can be shown to be unprofessional at best, ***** ***** worst. They also appear to be extremely disorganized . I am confident
that they will want to avoid any court action since it may well open a can of worms for them and at best, ***** ***** be well aware that they are not completely organized.
I'm not sure how they would want to deal with any employee that breaks their contract and simply walks out however I'm certain they are quite a large company and Im sure they wouldn't want any negative publicity and would take any letter from a solicitor very seriously if this is the advised course of action?
- It can be shown that the company has overcharged VAT to one of their clients and upon the company realizing they had made this ???"error?"???, sending a memo to my girlfriend among others stating that this was a serious issue, thus insinuating that it was her/colleagues fault. Of course only the company could benefit from this type of
mistake financially and billing/accounts is not her department/role/job description anyway.
-Taking on staff and then not paying them for shifts until they could show that they had completed a certain type of training - ie. they should never have taken them on
unless they could show they had completed this training in the first place.
-When my girlfriend started her job she was verbally promised performance related bonuses - As a company owner myself I can honestly say that she is one of the most competent and professional people that I know and works extremely hard yet has not received a single "bonus" to date.
-She has suddenly been asked to be "on call" every other weekend. This means that she will need to carry a laptop and mobile phone at all times. She has a young daughter and has very little time for her as it is, now they want to take away her weekends? She was told that she would be doing this rather than asked ....
- there is a huge staff turnover, its not a good working environment at all and its pretty clear that they do not have any respect and very little regard for their staff. One of her colleagues left recently because she lost a huge amount of weight. Her Doctor
attributed this to work related stress
What I am looking for is a letter to the company from a respected law firm, A letter of resignation making it clear that your client is not happy with the companies
practices, and wishes to be released from her contract immediately. I think it may be best not to make any direct accusations however I'm sure phrases such "believes" that the company has acted "unprofessionally/unethically" can be included but it should also be noted that our client is not looking for confrontation/compensation.
Can you recommend a law firm (maybe even yourselves?) and Do you believe this would be a viable way to deal with this issue. I would like to try and keep this as simple as possible for my girlfriend - Please let me know your thoughts
Sincerely
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

If there is a written contract in place and it contains a specific clause detailing the notice period an employee is supposed to give if they wanted to leave their employment, they will be contractually bound by it. Therefore, if the employee fails to honour this notice period then they will be acting in breach of contract. The employer then has the option of suing the employee to seek compensation for damages resulting from their breach. However, in reality such claims are very rarely made. This is mainly due to the costs and time involved, also the relatively small damages that can be recovered. So whilst there is no way of predicting whether the employer will take this any further or not, chances are that they will not. A more likely outcome is that the employer refuses to provide a reference in the future or if they do, it could mention that the employee had breached their contract.

It is therefore best to try and negotiate a mutually acceptable notice period that would suit both parties. However, if that is not possible and there is a pressing need to leave early, that is still a possibility, subject to the risks identified above.

Finally, there are circumstances when an employee may be entitled to leave with immediate effect and without honouring their notice period. This occurs when an employer has committed a serious breach of contract first. The whole contract, including the notice periods, then becomes immediately void and the employee would be treated as being 'constructively dismissed'. So if there are reasons to believe the employer has acted in breach of contract, whether a breach of an express contractual term, or other breaches such as bullying, exposing the employee to unreasonable stress, discriminating against them, etc this reason can be relied on in order to leave with immediate effect.


Customer:

Hi Ben, thank you for your help with this. So just to clarify, if my girlfriend believes that the company has acted dishonestly would this not be an accepted reason to leave immediately?

Ben Jones :

yes it could be if this has resulted in a serious breach of trust and confidence. To be honest I highly doubt that they would pursue her in any way if she was to leave without serving her notice - they have much more to lose by doing so and as mentioned such claims are made very rarely

Customer:

I agree, and I feel that if I get a solicitor to write a termination letter it may be taken more seriously. Nothing to lose ! Thank You Ben, Take care...

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, all the best

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