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taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6464
Experience:  15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
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My daughter was told her freelance contract is terminated

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My daughter was told her freelance contract is terminated this morning due to gross misconduct. she has only completed one month as contractor. previous 2 months as unpaid intern. the contract has termination clauses of 4 weeks notice so with pay and a gross misconduct no pay. they maintain she deleted an important client email. she raised the fact she had not seen/received this email and does not believe she deleted it. she is the second person in two weeks to be dismissed in this way. our concern is less with the paid notice and more with references and how this will look for future employment.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today.

Was your daughter required to attend a disciplinary hearing?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
she arrived at work and the two bosses met with her. I don't think they said it was a disciplinary hearing i can ask her if that is important.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I don't think a call without me having all the info from my daughter would be cost effective. are you likely to have more questions that I may not be able to answer. I do have her contract and the termination contract

Yes it is important, if she was called into a meeting immediately then it would probably not be classed as a disciplinary hearing because you should be given notice of such meetings.

If she was dismissed without a proper disciplinary hearing then she can claim wrongful dismissal (for the notice period). She should contact ACAS to lodge a dispute

Unfortunately the reference issue is more tricky as the employer can state something which is factually correct such is that they dismissed her. It may be better (if it is a short employment) to avoid it on a CV if possible. The other possibility is that she can say she will forego a claim for the notice pay if they will agree a form of reference. They may be willing to agree to this.

If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
As indicated she is on a freelance (self-employed) contract. Not an employment contract my understanding is that ACAS cannot/do not deal with self employed situations. Your response seems in line with an employment contract and you have not indicated whether the Gross Misconduct is in itself reasonable or defendable?

If they are using the term gross misconduct then they are treating her as an employee which is the reason I have advised as though she is such.

If she is self employed then there is likely to be a clause in the contract which allows them to terminate without notice and I think you need to review the contract to see if the action she is accused of comes within that clause. If it does not then it is a breach of contract claim she needs to make to recover the notice.

As far as the reference is concerned the advice is the same. She really needs to speak to them to see if she can agree wtih them a reference. A factual reference of her names and dates of providing the service is what is normally supplied and it may be that they will agree to this.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
What she is accused of 'deleting an important client email' is not expressly stated they say it is a 'non-exhausetive' list and 'any other acts or omissions which might bring the company into disrepute'. what she is accused of does not seem to fall into this category.

In that case she can say dismissing her is in breach of contract (as a deleted email cannot really be argued to bring a company into disrepute) and she will claim in the county court (or the employment tribunal which is an option even with self employed contracts) for the unpaid notice. She can then use this as a tool potentially to agree a suitable reference.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you Taratill this is helpful.

NO problem at all. If you have any further questions please do ask otherwise I would be very grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer as I am not otherwise credited by the site for the time I have spent working on your question.

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