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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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I work for a company that provides a service to a corporate

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I work for a company that provides a service to a corporate company working within a small team essentially as their sales department. My situation is this: been off work for 3 months due to Hysterctomy and returning on a phased return, however at my back to wrk meeting today with my boss I have been told that the third party no longer want me to engage with them and prefer my secondment (colleague) to take my place.
I have been told they do not like my approach to their business (property market) even though all targets Re reached and I have been instrumental in managing millions in terms of sales , I have asked my boss to put this in writing but he is reluctant for obvious reasons, ihe says he doesn't understand why I would want to push things however I have pointed out that there is an element of unfairness, I once again stated that I would welcome the opportunity to have a meeting to see if we could find a way to improve how my approach comes over, he stated that the third party would not entertain the idea.
Someone else is now in my role as region Manager he doesn't want me to rock the boat and is happy to help set up meetings with others in our wider network to find me alternative work not sure how I stand on this however feel angry and frustrated I have held this position for 3 years and seven months.
This and knocked my confidence and caused injury to my feelings

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. are you still on the same pay scale and terms of employment

Customer: Yes I am
Ben Jones :

Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.

Customer: Ok many thanks for your help
Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience. There are circumstances when an employer may feel forced to move or even dismiss an employee because of pressure from a third party. Whilst I am not saying that dismissal is where this would eventually end up, it is where most of the laws in this area come from and the courts mainly get involve when someone is dismissed after pressure from a third party. Nevertheless the law is exactly the same and your rights will be determined in the same way, so when I refer to a dismissal do not assume the worst and just see it as a general indication of how far the employer can go in such a situation.


So as mentioned, the pressure to move someone or even dismiss them may come from a valued customer or from another third party that has a degree of influence over the employer, such as a supplier, the landlord of their premises, etc. Such a move or dismissal can be deemed fair because it would amount to 'some other substantial reason' (SOSR), which is one of the potentially fair reasons for dismissal allowed under the Employment Rights Act 1996.


It is generally accepted that the reason behind the third party's request is irrelevant and there is no requirement on the employer to establish the truth behind the allegations. What really matters is the how important the third party's continued business is to the employer and what risks there are to that relationship if the employer does not act as per the request.


For example, in the case of Dobie v Burns International Security Services, Mr Dobie was a security guard working for a contractor who supplied security staff to a Council. Friction developed between a senior Council employee and Mr Dobie, with the Council demanding his removal from their site. His employer eventually dismissed him. He made a claim against his employer, however he lost with the decision being that third party pressure to dismiss can amount to a fair reason for dismissal.


So in your case I completely understand that you feel treated unfairly but the issue is that the employer is somewhat limited in what they can do in these circumstances. They are getting their instructions from their client, it is the client that makes the final decision here – if they no longer want to work with you then that is their prerogative and they can make a request to your employer that you are no longer supplied to work with them – this request does not have to be justified or backed up in any way and can be largely unsubstantiated. Your employer could try and act as a mediator and ask the client to reconsider their position or ask them for a meeting to discuss this with you but if the client refuses then you cannot expect the employer to fully stand by you and go to any lengths to protect your position – their priority is the professional relationship with their client and they can eventually state that there is nothing they can do to change the client’s mind and that they must respect their wishes. As mentioned above they can even dismiss if necessary so if they are actually making attempts to keep you in a job and find you alternative employment rather than dismissing then they are already doing what is expected of them in the circumstances, although I understand it may not be what you were hoping for but it may be best in the circumstances, considering your legal position.

Customer: Thank you for your assistance, it's no surprise really as it's a unique situation.
Ben Jones :

You are welcome...and it's not really that unique, as you can see there has been case law that has dealt with similar situations and it will also cover yours to a large extent.

Ben Jones :

Could you also 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

Customer: No that is all Thank you
Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, all the best

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