Employment Lawyers Can Answer Your Employment Law Questions
I want to understand my rights, I don't want to be forced out and find it difficult to find other work. I am already in a difficult financial situation, losing my job now would likely force me into involuntary bankruptcy. Due to previous circumstances I am not currently entitled to benefits. If I lose this job without another to go to I literally won't be able to live. I've worked very hard over the past nine months to produce good results for the company and be the top performer, but I've had to give up my life to do so an I do not want that to go to waste and I am now being punished for simply exploring my options which I have done outside of work ours.
Hello there, the biggest issue here 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.
So in your situation that means they could terminate your current contract by giving you the contractual notice period in it, or a week if no such notice exists. Once that contract is terminated they could offer you any new contract they wish, regardless of whether its terms are worse than your previous ones. If you do not accept it then they can just leave your employment as being terminated and that would be the end of the matter. So you are really stuck between a rock and a hard place – you wither accept the new contract, knowing that even though its terms may be worse off you still have a job, or you refuse to accept it at the risk of having your whole employment with this firm terminated – something they can do whether they have a fair reason or not. Remember that they do not have to justify any reason for your dismissal, all they have to do is give you the notice period required, as long as there are no discriminatory grounds.
I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you
OK I understand. I queried the new contract date and they have amended it to reflect my actual starting date of 21st July 2014.
I dont understand why they haven't just fire me considering the things that the owner has said. However this all brewed from an incident last sunday where i did exert my statutory rights over working time, they tried to make me get on a plane knowing my connectiong flight had been cancelled and I could be stranded in amsterdam late at night, this was because of bad weather. I refused to go, I told them I was unhappy that they were pushing me to do something i didn't feel was safe and that I was giving up my own time to travel and would get no sleep overnight and still be expected to be at the clients side at 9am and wok a 48 hour week. I said that as a woman ravelling at night alone i did not feel safe an my boss said he had no idea what being female had to do with it. anyway this may in be in some part why they are being so cautious. I want to leave but the new contract stipulates a 12 month clause stopping me from working for another firm in the same vain so I really am stuck now.
This is not quite exerting your statutory rights unfortunately. I know there is a maximum 48 hour working week but that is calculated over a 17-week reference period so it only becomes an issue f over 17 weeks you have worked n average more than 48 hours a week. Some weeks you can work more than 48 hours but as long as the average over 17 weeks is less than that then there is no breach. So you are unlikely to be able to rely on that as an example that you tried to exert your statutory rights and make any potential dismissal unfair.
As to the restriction that may be unenforceable anyway - they cannot just stop you from working for another company in the industry or for a competitor. They can only do that if you are for example going to use their confidential information in that job, steal clients or employees, etc - simply working for a competitor whilst you do nothing of the sort is unlikely to be enforceable in law so this is just a clause that is used for scaremongering
Does this clarify things for you a bit more?
Yes ok, its 55 hours averaged over 17 weeks, these extra hours are from international travel so I am not sure if this counts as work?