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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49773
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have worked in sales within the printing industry for three

Customer Question

I have worked in sales within the printing industry for three years and I was approached by a competitor to join them in a field based role starting on the 6th January this year. Upon handing my notice in with my employer I was immediately placed on garden leave and pressured by my new employer to canvass all existing clients during this period. Something I refused to do.

I started in my current role in the 6th Jan and was set a sales target of £15k for Feb. Upon being advised this By email I replied saying I thought this was unrealistic and suggested £7500 would be more realistic for month 2.

I pt looks like I will not achieve my target however I have a strong quote pipeline and confident March will be a good month.

My wife is 18 weeks pregnant and whilst this was never discussed at interview yes she has had a difficult pregnancy and yesterday was told she would need need an operation tomorrow (Fri). My Sales Manager wanted to meet me for a catch up tomorrow and I advised him of my wifes situation and that it would be difficult to meet.

Today out of the blue I got a phone call saying things are not working out and unless I accept a £13k pay drop (pro-rata) and achieve at least £10k in sales revenue next month they will dismiss me with one weeks notice in lieu. If I do not accept this I will be dismissed immediately.

I left a secure, well paid job to join my current employer and I feel they have simply used me to gain access to my previous employers clients and are concerned of the time off work I may need due to my wife's complications coupled with issues working in a home based role with a with a baby.

When I verbally raised these concerns they were denied and I was simply advised that it w due to performance issues.

I have been advised that unless I accept the reduced salary by the end of today they will terminate my contract.

Can they legally do this?

How should I respond?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

JACUSTOMER-idaanozk- : Thanks Ben
Ben Jones :

Do you have a contractual notice period?

JACUSTOMER-idaanozk- : 1 week within the 90 day probation period
JACUSTOMER-idaanozk- : Whilst I have a contract this has been signed by me but not by a director
Ben Jones :

do you think your wife's pregnancy as anything to do with their decision?

JACUSTOMER-idaanozk- : Personally yes but they verbally denied this. I admit that I am disappointed with the sales I have made to date but struggle to see how they can judge a new sales person within 7 weeks of joining.
Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

JACUSTOMER-idaanozk- : thanks
Ben Jones :

If you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.). In the event that the reason for dismissal fell within these categories, then the dismissal will either be automatically unfair, or there will be a potential discrimination claim. However, you are not the person who is pregnant here so your rights will not be the same had your wife been the person who was facing dismissal and there were concerns that the reasons may have been linked to her pregnancy.


If the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then you would not be able to challenge it and your only protection would be if you were not paid your contractual notice period, because unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct, you would be entitled to receive your contractual notice period, which is one week.


So it does mean that the employer can issue an ultimatum of either accepting a pay cut or facing dismissal because they could legally dismiss you in the circumstances. It is an unfortunate situation but your length of service lets you down here.


JACUSTOMER-idaanozk- : So realistically they could employ someone from a competitor matching their current salary for 4 weeks then simply collect all their new employees contacts from their previous employer and then threaten dismissal unless they accept half of the salary they originally offered the employee?
Ben Jones :

legally that is possible - morally it is wrong of course but from a legal point of view it can be done

JACUSTOMER-idaanozk- : Thanks Ben, not the answer I was really looking for but guess I have learnt the hard way on this occasion!
Ben Jones :

I understand it is probably not the best of news but obviously I need to tell you the law as it stands. There will always be a risk with starting a new job and whilst most of the times it is not a problem, if you face the wrong employer it could create some difficulties, as in this case

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks