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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50480
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have a problem with my manager, who is unfairly treating

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I have a problem with my manager, who is unfairly treating me and probably it could be defined as bullying behaviour, and I wonder what will be the consequence of raising a formal griviency and what I could reasonably obtain. I am mainly concerned that he has given me an end of year appraisal that is below standard and what he has written to justify it can be easily seen as incorrect and also badly written. I wonder if anybody really in HR read those documents. However as a consequence of that I had to go through a performance review process which was painful for me, although it ended well, i don’t feel comfortable working in the team now. I would like to change team internally and I am concerned that new managing director and new managers who don’t know me (I worked in the company for eight years) may have the wrong impression of me based on my manager appraisal and that’s also why I would like this to be rectified. I am aware that I waited too long, but only when the last straw made me loose my patience and I threatened to resign, I realised how this had affected me in the last months and how my stress level and health had been affected. My reaction to leave was caused by my manager making a insensible comment about a client leaving us which implied that it was my fault, and the colleagues who heard said it was an inappropriate comment. That client had also sent me a present some years ago and they did not want to talk to my manager, the reason they are leaving is much more complex. The doctor signed me off for stress after I described my situations and was close to cry, in the last few weeks I had asked pills for stomach problems and to help sleep. I have decided not to take the sick time and after a few days off as holidays I feel better, but I don’t know for how long if the situation is not resolved. Thanks for your advice

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

How long have you worked there for and what are you hoping to achieve?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I worked in the company for 8 years and I would like to stay but be helped by HR to change team internally (I said both in my letter). Alternatively if I have to resign how could I get some compensation other than the statutory?

Thank you. Whilst grievance is indeed an option, it obviously would not guarantee a satisfactory outcome. It does bring it formally to the employer’s attention though and prompt them to formally investigation it and reach a reasonable resolution. What the outcome is will depend on what has happened, what you have asked as a resolution and what is actually possible.

So you could try that to start with before you consider something more drastic, like leaving.

If you did have to leave then it would be potentially under constructive dismissal, which occurs when the following two elements are present:

· Serious breach of contract by the employer; and

· An acceptance of that breach by the employee, who resigns in response to it.

Whilst the alleged breach could be a breach of a specific contractual term, it is also common for a breach to occur when the implied term of trust and confidence has been broken. The conduct relied on could be a serious single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario).

If resignation appears to be the only option going forward, it must be done in response to the alleged breaches (i.e. without unreasonable delay after they have occurred). Whilst not legally required, a resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without serving any notice period. It is also advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal.

Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of termination of employment to submit a claim in the employment tribunal.

It is worth mentioning that there is a possible alternative solution, where the employer is approached on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under such an agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company with no fuss and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, where both parties move on without the need for going to tribunal. However, it is an entirely voluntary process and the employer does not have to participate in such negotiations or agree to anything. It just means that these discussions cannot be brought up in any subsequent tribunal claim and prejudice either party. So there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them as the worst outcome is they say no, whereas if successful it can mean being allowed to leave in accordance with any pre-agreed terms, such as with compensation and an agreed reference.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the steps you need to take to pursue this as a constructive dismissal claim. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Hello, my response should be visible on this page. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. If you did decide to resign and pursue constructive dismissal, you must initiate a claim within 3 months of resignation.

Before a person can make a claim in the employment tribunal, they would be required to participate in mandatory early conciliation through the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

The purpose of this process is to allow ACAS to mediate between the claimant and respondent to agree on an out of court settlement in order to avoid the need for legal action in tribunal. The respondent does not have to engage in these discussions, or if they do and the talks are unsuccessful, the claimant will be issued with a certificate allowing them to make a claim.

However, if a settlement is reached, the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. Other terms can also be agreed as part of the settlement, such as an agreed reference.

To initiate the conciliation procedure ACAS can be contacted online by filling in the following form (https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage), or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for the clarification, very useful and I checked the ACAS page.
I want to try internal griviency process first, but this will take some time and if unsuccessful, can I still resign under constructive dismissal then?
Also will the 3 months for persue start from the resignation or from when I first raised the issue?
About references I understand that only HR give official references and they will just state the start and end date of employment and role, nothing else, I am not sure if the reason for leaving is normally mentioned, in that case is discussing references important in case of resignations and proposed settlement?

yes you can still resign following a grievance, but do not delay this. The 3 months for a constructive dismissal claim start from the time you resign, when your employment actually terminates.

A reference is always a good idea to negotiate in the settlement, even if it just a basic one, just so you are guaranteed one if needed and know where you stand