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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 72019
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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FAO:BEN I have spoken with and he has referred myself to you

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FAO:BENHi I have spoken with jim and he has referred myself to you following on from him being unable to advice regarding an employment claim against my employer.
Can you please advise me.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Please provide some more details of your circumstances.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Sure Ben Jim knows my situation could you chat with him and come back to me! I find reliving what has gone on very hard so would appreciate you seeing what he says if it can avoid me reliving it. As my doctor has put me on calming drugs to cope. If you struggle to get what you need I can answer your questions.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I am now off with crippling anxiety and will now not likely be able to work for 4-6 months minimum.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
This is due to work and a culture of belittling me and making me feel unwelcome and like me being sacked is inevitable. My manager did not prevent this and as such I believe she had a plan to get me out of the business

Thank you. As we are independent lawyers working remotely we do not talk amongst each other, so I cannot chat to Jim to find out more about your situation unfortunately.

So if you could please just summarise what you want to know I will try and answer any queries on employment law you may have.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I feel that my employer has damaged my health and that I am unable to work for a period of 4-6 months. I am having to apply for benefits as a result of the damaged they have caused. Chronic anxiety and depression. From your side of things I am a little unsure how you can help but I was told have two possible claims. One regarding employment law the other around the health side. They have been aware of my condition and I was then put into an environment that I was belittled to a point that I believed I will be sacked and it is simply a mater of time before this occurred. You may need to ask me some questions to get a more focused response.

Thank you. In the circumstances there are indeed two potential avenues of claim you can consider. one is the employment side and the other is the personal injury one.

Under employment law you have the option of a constructive dismissal claim (which is where you have been forced to leave due to the employer’s unreasonable behaviour), an unfair dismissal claim (if you are unfairly dismissed by the employer instead) and also disability discrimination which is where you are deemed to have a disability in law and are treated unfavourably because of it.

Under personal injury laws, you can consider a claim for damages if the employer has done something negligent, which has in turn caused you to suffer injuries (whether they are physical or psychological).

So these are the legal options for you in the circumstances. For the employment side of things, 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 the employer 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.

Hopefully this clarifies your position

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for the clarity is there a way that I can approach my employer to seek this off the books settlement so I don’t have to go down the other routes as I juts find it too stressful

Hi there, yes you can do it all yourself either by writing to them in a letter which you title ‘without prejudice’ or by asking for a without prejudice meeting

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
What would you recommend I do as I find dealing with them hugely stressful and I think
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
It would be best for me to just communicate it via letter and then as for a settlement in that manner.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Do you think that can be effective or would you always recommend a face to face.

There is no right/wrong way – there is a way which works best for you and that is the approach you should adopt

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks for the advice..should I put forward a figure and then work from there? Would you suggest a structure to approach them? Such as so much for losses earring, so much for costs, so much for trauma suffered. So much for expenses related to this illness etc?

I wouldn’t go into great detail at this stage, just have a ballpark figure in mind and what you are prepared to accept, the start higher than that and expect to potentially have to work your way to it. The finer details of why you are claiming that particular sum can be discussed in any subsequent negotiations when you stat justifying why you are asking for it

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
in terms of a percentage above what I expect to get should I go 20-30% higher and include tax etc to start with? Example ask for £35k on the idea of walking with 25k after dedications etc. Sorry no experience of this kind of negotiations

Again, no right or wrong way to go about it but you do not want to go in too high and make yourself look like you are asking unrealistic figures but a spread of around 15-20% is a good starting point

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
to be clear to summarise so write a letter entitled without prejudice.
Then layout that I would consider leaving the business for a figure..which you then quote and make it around 20% higher as a starting negotiation and ask them to comeback to you to discuss the figure and see what agreement can be reached. At what point should I lay out the complete figures and should in the first letter I lay out what I believe has happened and my evidence etc.

Keep the first letter relatively basic and if they come back and start negotiations you can get into the finer details of trying to justify why you are seeking the amount in question

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Sorry to be dumb the first letter is that you are prepared to settle and walk away and the figure and to discuss in finer detail...
They will need some basic info though will they not so they know where I am coming from in basic detail.Then if they come back and say ok let’s negotiate I can then give them a break down of the case for the settlement I have asked for?Then it is simply a point of reaching and agreeable figure if they are open to negotiating...presuming that if they are not it would look very bad on there side due to my mental health and the impact a court case etc may have.

Yes in the first letter obviously state why you feel you have to leave for example or make a claim, but that you are open o exploring the idea of a settlement agreement and then propose what you would settle for, then the rest is as you have described

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Brilliant a final question
I have asked the business to help out with regards ***** ***** due the issue of not working. I have been given a curt answer would I simple go up the chain of command or now just add it too my list of issues in the negotiation as it feels very closed off.This is what was sent so your are in the Your grievance is regarding the bullying allegations you made, we would need to speak to you about this only, not your previous absences, therefore I would strongly advise that you attend the meeting tomorrow so we can help resolve this issue for you.
I understand the impact of being off sick can be worry some especially when it comes to pay. However, you have already been paid 10 company sick pay which is the most that we do pay out under our sickness and absence policy, so you would only be entitled to Statutory sick pay. I do recommend that you get in touch with Health Assured, they are our new EAP helpline providers, they will be able to listen to your concerns and also be able to provide you with sound advice and recommendations.
happy to close the case on this once I have your guidance on this you have been excellent and a great help!

Thanks , what is your specific query about this last part please?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The bottom two paragraphs are an email received today after I said I could not attend a meeting tomorrow due to medical advice of it being too stressful and that I am in Scotland as I had explained for my health to get away from the stress LG work. I have received this email from the member of staff the last two paragraphs..which I find not only unhelpful but a clear indication that the hr department is not interested in protecting my wellbeing and only on keeping it’s scheduled meetings. I find the email almost threatened in nature and hits the buttons of me believing that I am being forcefully removed from the business. What is your view on the email...bearing in mind I have been advised that pay can be awarded in certain cases usually only surgery or Cancer. So i wanted to see if I was being unreasonable to the email and reading into it incorrectly in your view?

You may have a different view on the email, to me it does not look threatening but it is direct which may make it look that way to you. Don’t read too much into it, in the end just do what you can and what feels right

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