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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 51180
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My boss is trying to get rid of me. I've worked there for 8

Customer Question

My boss is trying to get rid of me . I've worked there for 8 years as warehouse manager . It all started about 6 months ago . When I noticed a change in my bosses behaviour towards me . Slowly but surely I noticed her shutting me out , scaling back communication. Belittling me minimising my contribution to the company saying negative things in front of my colleagues bullying me . About 3 months ago I started training other members of my team to do my job . Last month they employed an operations manager . Who is basically doing my job . And I'm out the loop . Same job different name . Last week they suspended me for under proforming. I have had no meetings or targets or goals . Basically I'm in another warehouse just unpacking thing . I don't manage anyone anymore basically I haven't got a job I'm waiting to hear from them about this supenion. It's total bollocks . please help louise
Submitted: 13 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 13 days ago.

Hello, thank you for the question.

Are you a member of a Trade Union and have you spoken with ACAS as yet? ACAS are the independent body set up to help employees in these situations and can help resolve employment related issues.

Your employers are supposed to consult with you if there are any changes to your job or if they want to discipline you for under-performing, they are supposed to meet with you first and follow the correct procedure, not simply suspend you.

If you can answer the above.

Thanks,

Jim

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 days ago.

Hi there, it would appear that you may be the victim of bullying due to the way you are treated by your boss.

Bullying at work is unfortunately a universal problem that occurs more often than it should. What makes it even worse is that there is no specific legislation that deals with it and dealing with it is not always that easy.

Although there is no legal definition of bullying, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) defines it as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.” Examples given are: spreading malicious rumours, or insulting someone by word or behaviour; exclusion or victimisation; unfair treatment; overbearing supervision or other misuse of power or position; making threats or comments about job security without foundation; deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism; preventing individuals progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities.

Under law, specifically the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, an employer has a duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees. In addition, they have the implied contractual duty to provide a safe and suitable working environment. That includes preventing, or at least effectively dealing with bullying behaviour occurring in the workplace.

In terms of what the victim of bullying can do to try and deal with such problems, the following steps are recommended:

1. First of all, and if appropriate, the victim should try and resolve the issue informally with the person responsible for the bullying.
2. If the above does not work or is not a viable option, the victim should consider raising a formal grievance with the employer by following the company's own grievance policy, or sending a complaint in writing to their line manager. This formally brings the bullying issue to the attention of the employer and they will have a duty to investigate and deal with it.
3. If, following a grievance, the employer fails to adequately deal with the bullying issues, the victim would need to seriously consider their next steps. Unfortunately, employment law does not allow employees to make a direct claim for bullying. As such, the most common way of claiming is by resigning and making a claim for constructive dismissal in an employment tribunal. The reason for resigning would be to claim that by failing to act appropriately, the employer has breached the implied terms of mutual trust and confidence and failed to provide a safe working environment and that there was no other option but to resign. There is a requirement for the victim to have at least 2 years’ continuous service with that employer (which does actually mean that those with less than 2 years’ service cannot make a claim and can effectively be bullied out with no recourse).

As a final pointer, the victim should try and gather as much evidence as possible before considering making a formal complaint and certainly before going down the resignation route. As bullying often takes verbal form, the best way is to keep a detailed diary of all bullying occasions so that there is at least some reference in written form that the employer and/or the tribunal can refer to.

Alternatively if they are trying to get rid of you, you may wish to consider letting that happen and then claim for unfair dismissal.

Does this answer your query?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

My response to your query should be visible on this page. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question or whether you need me to clarify anything else in relation to it? If your query has been answered I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating, selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can still answer follow up questions after that if needed. Thank you