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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50497
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My employer announced a restructuring plan and 9k job cuts

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Good morning, my employer announced a restructuring plan and 9k job cuts back in Sep 2016. Employees have been left in uncertainty. End of 2017 they announced 350 job cuts in London and a merge of my department in a bigger and more profitable one. They announced a redundancy package, but not volountary. Nothing happens yet, but I got too stressed by the situation that I decided for my health to leave and I asked to be made redundant. They refused. I asked to go in unpaid leave. They refused. I have a 3 months notice and a bonus that is going to be paid in March related to 2017 work. I worked for the company more than 3 years. I definitely need to leave or at least a break, but I don't want to waste completely what I could potentially have and additionally they might ask me to work during the notice that is not ideal. Is there an ideal way to manage this situation? I didn't talk to HR yet. Thanks in advance

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?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi! More than 3 years

Thank you and ideally what are you hoping to achieve please?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Ideally to be made redundant, or to have 3 month unpaid leave (they just proposed to me 1 month in summer) and not lose my bonus

Thank you. Your negotiating position is not that strong at the moment, because the employer has not actually done anything wrong legally. I fully empathise that the uncertainty around the potential redundancies can be unsettling but that is not uncommon and the employer is not required to proceed with them within any period of time - they can prolong the process as long as required, they may not even need to make redundancies in the end and all this would have been for nothing.

Your options are to continue working as normal and see where the employer takes this - if they do eventually make you redundant you will keep your redundancy pay and should be paid the bonus in the meantime.

If you wish to leave, you can ask for voluntary redundancy but that can be rejected as there is no obligation on them to consider or grant these.

If you do decide to leave, you will potentially be missing out on redundancy because they can simply let you work your notice period and the termination will be for reasons of resignation, rather than redundancy. If the terms of the bonus are such that you must be still employed at the time it is payable, then try to time any resignation so that you are still employed at that time.

Ensuring you get 3 month unpaid leave is not something you can guarantee - that depends on them. If you can find a reason to get signed off sick long-term (stress can often be used), then that could at least allow you to stay off work for the notice period, whilst remaining employed, however it is up to you as it can go on your personnel record as long-term absence.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
What if I start working nothing more than my contractual hours while I wait for the redundancy to come? Can I have any side effect if I do that? And if yes, is it legal?

does your contract state they can ask you to work additional hours if needed?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
they can ask but it is systematic here to work longer and not having lunch break

Contractually they can ask you to work extra hours so if you just stuck to the contracted minimum hours and refused to work anything extra at all, then it can place you in breach of contract so it I best not to flatly refuse to do so, although you can say you will not be doing as many as usual. If the lunch break is part of your contract you can also at least expect them to honour this or state that as they are breaching the contract in not giving you one, you should not be expected to adhere to the contract either and work extra hours. Does this clarify a bit more?

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question? You can either reply on here with a quick ‘Yes, thanks’, or select 3, 4 or 5 stars on this page. I can still answer follow up questions if needed to clarify anything for you. Many thanks

Hello, not sure if you are having trouble seeing my posts? Do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the response to your query? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi, thank you very much for your help!

you are most welcome

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Good morning Mr Jones, the situation escalated. I asked to my employer unpaid leave, they proposed me 1 month in July, so I resigned. I had a discussion with my boss regarding the gardening leave and I had a panic attack. I think that that place drove me completely mad. HR told me to stay at home. Does it make sense to have a call?

Hi I am not available today as I am in court, if you wanted a call then it won't be until Sunday most likely as that is when I am free again

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I am very sorry for disturbing. I can wait until Sunday for a call, but HR is going to call me today. I already resigned, lost my 2017 bonus and didn't even get a redundancy. It seems incredible that all this is also causing me a burnout. I couldn't be damaged more! Could you just tell me what I should say to HR today?

It’s no problem at all I am sorry I cannot help you immediately on this.

Difficult to say what you should say to HR because I do not know what their agenda is. I think it would be best if you see what they want to talk to you about first, get a sense of their position and intentions then consider how best to respond or approach them. Do not be pushed into giving any answers today, you can always tell them you need to fully consider what has been discussed before you reply

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Ok I will take time, I think they want to discuss about a possible return or not in the office during my notice period. Do you think that it makes sense to go to a doctor today? There are anyway witnesses about my panic attack yesterday.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Many thanks for your help!!

You can get signed off yourself for the first 7 days and after that you need a doctor's certificate so no rush on doing it today. If returning to work will be detrimental to your health then do not go back, whatever they say. You can remind them of their health and safety duties though and that they need to ensure the workplace is safe and free from obvious stressors so if they are making it impossible for you to return by breaching this then you can potentially have some negotiating power to be allowed to leave without returning, whilst perhaps getting compensated for some of the notice period

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Many thanks, ***** ***** tell them. Maybe we can have a chat on Sunday as I think that resigning has been a reaction to the overall situation. Have a good day in court!
Many thanks
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben, are you still available for a call tomorrow? At what time would it be good for you?

Hi there, I am available over the next couple of hours if that suits? You get about 15-20 mins of call time included so it should hopefully be enough to discuss your issues

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben, I just saw your answer, I am worried it is a bit late now. Please let me know and I will go ahead with the payment
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben, are you available today by any chance?
Thanks
Fede

Hi there, sorry I missed you yesterday, I should have some time this afternoon, not sure exact timings yet but if you let me know what suits you I can try and work around that

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you very much! What about around 3?

yes that should be fine, I will make the call offer now, thanks

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I am sorry for annoying you again... if they agree to negotiate, what financial compensation would be reasonable in proportion to my gross annual salary?

Hi, it is difficult to say, it would depend on things like how long it would take you to get a comparable job, maybe a few months would be reasonable

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Clear, many thanks again!

no problem

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben,
I had a chat with HR. He didn't comment, asked about what I expect out of that, didn't even asked what was the situation.
He said "making a claim to the bank for constructive dismissal is quite dramatic, I am not going to comment on this. Please put it in writing on an email to me". Is there any way you can help me to write an effective email to this guy?
Many thanks for your precious support.
Federica
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben, I prepared the email below. I hope that you can take a look. Would you do any amendment? Thanks FedeDear Lyndon,
As anticipated yesterday by phone, this email is to inform you about my intention to raise a claim for constructive dismissal to the Bank.
The state of stress I have been subject to affected my resignation and reached a peak on Thursday 18th of January, when I experienced a panic attack while at work.
The prolonged discussion around the Bank restructuring, and, in particular, the uncertainty regarding my department’s move, created a sense of discomfort that I communicated to my managers on Monday 8th of January, when I first raised the possibility to be made redundant. My bosses said they were open to negotiate, in order to avoid losing me: my only request has been a period of unpaid leave, to recharge my energies and prepare for the following months of change.
Unfortunately, I have been only offered a 1-month unpaid leave in the summer, but it was clear that I could not accept it given my actual situation of stress. As a consequence of this unacceptable offer I resigned, explaining clearly that I was happy to cooperate as much as required, but in line with my current situation.
After a preliminary and informal communication from my boss that my last day would have been Friday 19th of January, I booked some flights. Unfortunately, on Thursday 18th my boss changed his intention, and when I asked if I could take the following week of holidays, we had an argument that culminated in a panic attack.
I have never experienced panic attacks before, and anyone can confirm my calm and controlled personality. If I reached that point it means that I have been accumulating anxiety and stress for a long time, and even if I am currently at home, I am struggling to digest the episode.
Hence, I feel damaged by the overall situation, that caused me to quit my job, losing my bonus for 2017, and put me in the situation of looking for another employment following a significant loss of self-confidence.
I am open to discuss and negotiate with the Bank in order to avoid a claim, if you recognize the damage that you caused in the form of an adequate financial compensation.

Hi Fede, sorry I was away for the last couple f days and have only just returned. The above email is fine but I suggest the following: send it but without the last paragraph. Send a separate email which is clearly titled 'Without Prejudice' in the subject and then include the last paragraph, amended along these lines:

Further to the earlier email I sent to you today, I am approaching you on a without prejudice basis to advise you that I am open to discuss and negotiate with the Bank a suitable settlement in order to avoid me having to bring a claim for constructive dismissal. The Bank's actions over the past year, up to and including the latest incident on 18 Jan, have clearly breached the implied term of trust and confidence and caused me considerable damage and without a settlement I will have no choice but to pursue this through the employment tribunal route.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben,
I am really surprised by your commitment. Do not worry at all, you are doing even more than what i could expect!
I sent the emails this morning. Thank you very much! I'll keep you posted.
Have a good day.
Fede

No problem at all

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Ben,
I am sorry to bother again, but I got the email below as reply and I do not know what to else I should say:Without prejudice and subject to contract
Please can you provide further information in relation to the actions of the Bank over the past year that you refer to in your email.What do you suggest?

I cannot say what these are specifically, you need to list all the instances where you believe the employer has not acted fairly or reasonably, which have all led to this situation, and even to the panic attack.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi Ben, I am your worst nightmare, but if you could take a look to the email below I would be infinitely grateful.Since the announcement of the job cuts and the restructuring in Sep 2016, the Bank took actions that constituted a clear obstacle to our business if taken together: in my opinion these actions were so "anti-business" that I questioned the Bank's medium term commitment to the commodity products.- Following the infamous KYC backload, the Bank actions prevented the opening of new business relationships and in particular prevented me to work with my main clients.
- The migration of the commodity team in FIC has been managed on a technology perspective in a way that prevented us to offer to our clients not only any new products, but also the ones we were able to trade before, to the substantial detriment of our team's performance.
- On an organizational perspective, before the end of 2017, the Bank announced the appointment of the Head of Commodities to another project and the removal of the Head of Commodity Sales from his role in March, which added to the general sense of uncertainty regarding the future of my position.
- The commodity portfolio has been gradually reduced, some accounts have been closed and other have been transferred to different teams.My role of sales person has been gradually deprived of its nature, in an environment that left us without any commercial guide from our management and any tangible reassurance about the future of our business. I realize that business reorganizations are not easy, but I think you have to recognize the impact that such a prolonged period of uncertainty has on the morale of your employees.
In my specific case, I matured concerns and stress due to the above and when my most basic request (some weeks of unpaid leave) were denied, it was clear that it was more important for the Bank to get rid of an employee without offering any redundancy rather than to retain a valuable resource of the team.

these are good examples, I would just finish with saying that overall, the above examples and the overall situation amounted to a breach of the implied contractual term of trust and confidence and made your continued employment there impossible, hence why you are raising this as constructive dismissal

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi Ben,
I hope that this message finds you well.
I received this feedback from HR. Do you have any suggestions?Dear FedericaThank you for your email of 25 January.The Bank maintains the right to announce and execute business unit restructuring processes in line with overall strategic objectives. The commodity business that you refer to was transferred from FK-EMC to FK-FICC on 1 December 2017 and this business has an ongoing viability within the FK-FICC business structure. The Bank does not accept that the changes within the commodity business has led to a situation where your role has been diminished.In the days leading up to your resignation you spoke with your line manager and informally enquired about possible unpaid leave and a possible sabbatical. You also asked to be considered for redundancy and asked for the Bank to communicate your 2017 performance bonus (payable in March 2018). Performance bonuses are not communicated in advance of the Bank-wide notification week in March and your role was not redundant. You did not submit a sabbatical leave application and your request to take unpaid leave was under consideration at the time that you resigned from the Bank.In your resignation letter dated 16 January 2018 you do not make any reference to a claim for constructive dismissal. In your resignation letter you reflect on the very positive experience that you have had at the Bank and you write, "Thank you very much for the opportunity of professional and personal development during the last years. I have enjoyed working at this bank and appreciate the support provided me during the time with the company. If I can be of any help during this transition, please let me know."The Bank denies that there has been any breach in the implied terms of trust and confidence between you and Commerzbank.You voluntarily resigned from your position at Commerzbank and your resignation has been accepted. We entirely reject your assertion that you have been constructively dismissed from your employment.Kind regards

Hello, thanks for requesting some additional assistance. Unfortunately your question has expired as you must post any follow up queries within 7 days of the date of the original question. If you need any further help on this matter please post it as a new question on our site, starting it with 'for Ben Jones' so that I get it and deal with it as fast as I can as I will be familiar with your case. Many thanks