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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Work issue I work for a big corporate firm in London for

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Work issue
I work for a big corporate firm in London for almost 4 years. I have been experiencing bullying at work during the last year. Officially there have been incidents of inappropriate comments about my country/descent, lack of overall respect in the way some Partners addressed me as well as emails with sexual suggestions. Last September at the year end review the company wanted to give me a negative rating not based on the quality of my work which they said was excellent but based on my perception. The partners didn't have any examples to provide When I requested further clarification so I went to HR and raised officially a complain. The rating changed as it was assessed the partners' feedback was out of context. I received some 'unofficial' comments that pretty much they don't like me as a person and they try to push me to resign. The firm has a record of 'pushing' people out when they feel they don't fit a certain style. They majority of my colleagues resigned and those who didn't they were offered in secrecy pay off packages.
Since last September the senior stakeholders are doing everything possible to make me feel uneasy either through emails or comments. There are specific stakeholders who have shouted at me on a number of occasions in meetings. In June I had another serious incident of bullying from a Partner which made me go to HR once again and file the incident in writing.
During the last 3 months the situation has worsen as a new manager took over that oversees my team. From my team all my previous colleagues have gone so the manager have recruited to fill the positions as well as recruited for additional positions to grow the team. She has told me on a number of occasions that she 'wants to help me' to shake off any negative perception I have on which there are no specific examples. She has been bullying me by sending me emails that keep repeating I need to work as a team and implying I am not. Nonetheless I have been excluded from key meetings on a number of occasions, I have gradually been demoted to a less important position and overall her efforts have rather the opposite objective than 'help'.
This situation at work made me a number of times to go to the doctor as it has affected me. The doctor has suggested signing me off but was too scared to do so. I went again today as this last week series's from bullying became insufferable and took a 2 week sign off which I am planning to present on Tuesday.
I heard today that redundancies are coming. Not sure if they would affect my team as the manager has recruited additional people but if the company is set to dismiss me I am not sure. Do you think the sign off period will be in my benefit if a redundancy is planned? Could you advise how to handle this situation, I am planning to get another job but I want to be the right role rather than running off the company. And I want to do it in my own pace. Until then I don't want any more bullying a daily basis. What is the best course of action?
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Why do you think the sign off period would benefit a redundancy?

Customer: In order to stay on the pay roll as much as possibld
Ben Jones :

Staying signed off sick for 2 weeks will not really change your rights much, unless it takes you over another full year of employment with this employer, in which case your redundancy payment will be increased slightly. In the meantime you will just receive any sick pay entitlement you are due if you were off sick.

In terms of the bullying, that may not necessarily be stopped or prevented, especially if it comes from the top. You do have rights in terms of raising a formal grievance to try and deal with this and com plain to the employer, who can investigate this and take whatever action is appropriate, but there is no guarantee that the bullying will stop as a result. You are dealing with individuals here and even though they may be warned or disciplined for their actions, it does not necessarily guarantee a stop to this.

So your options are to pursue the grievance if you wanted to at least try and form ally deal with this but if that does not help then you would either need to remain off sick as long as possible to remove yourself from the hostile environment or to consider the option of leaving under some sort of financial settlement, even if that means leaving earlier than planned, although you could try and negotiate for a higher settlement for those reasons. Of course you can also continue working there for as long as necessary but that is a personal decision for you to make, depending on how you feel about staying in that environment and for how long you can do so.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer: How could I pursue a settlement if the employer doesn't suggest to me?
Ben Jones :

you can raise it with them - it does not have to be the employer that makes the initial suggestion, it can come from you. However, the issue with settlements is that neither party can be forced to agree to one so if the employer is not interested in pursuing the option of a settlement, you cannot do anything about that and would need to consider your other options.

Hope this answers your follow up query?

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

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