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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32086
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My self and my partner are currently employed to mange The

Customer Question

My self and my partner are currently employed to mange The Lion Hotel in Buckden.
Since last summer we have had serious problems with the water and heating to our accomodation which our employers have failed to resolve . We are obliged by our contract to be on the premises.
We have a 3 yr old daughter also.
In the past month the situation has worsened starting with damage to a water tank in the ceiling above our daughters bedroom which leaked severely into her room ruining bedding, mattress, clothing, toys and carpet.
We now have to live in one of the hotel rooms. (A different one most nights). On 2 occasions we have had to move out because the hotel was fully booked. We are also being put under serious pressure from our bosses to work more hours to cut wage costs as we are salaried. Because of this pressure, we took only 10 days holiday from our holiday entitlement of 24 days and the rest was just "lost"
2 weeks ago the sent some builder who took down the ceiling in my daughters bedroom leaving it until yesterday to begin work to replace the tanks in the ceiling. in the meantime the open ceiling has seen spiders, slugs, and other vermin and a mountain of dust come into our flat covering clothing, bedding, and personal possessions it is basically un-liveable. May daughter is not sleeping because of the constant changes and has begun to wet her bed at night.
My wife and I are both severely distressed with the situation and they can give us no date when the flat will be useable again.
We are fearful for the health and safety of our daughter and ourselves. We have asked to be housed elsewhere or for some sort of compensation in recognition of the appalling situation that we are being made to work in. This has been refused. For the past two days we have had no running water at all so cannot use the kitchen to prepare meals. The employers have only said that we are welcome to a 50% discount in the restaurant. Again, tying us to here.
We feel that they are failing in their Duty of Care towards us as employees and that there is an agenda to make us resign. In among all of this they have imposed a Kitchen Manager on us who earns 25% more than us but without the responsibility that comes with our position as General Manager. We are forced into working or being on call for more than 80 hours per week each for a salary of £21000 each which means we are working for less than the minimum wage.
These are just some of the issues that we have
What help do you hope we can provide?: We hope that you can give us some advice over what to do and whether we have a case for constructive dismissal should we eventually resign. We enjoy the work and have worked in this industry for many years. We also love the area and dont really want to move
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
JACUSTOMER-naj3qzkk- :

We started on 1st March 2013

Ben Jones :

Thanks for getting back to me. Generally, 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 or constructive dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you or force you to resign 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 for other limited reasons that may make the dismissal/resignation automatically unfair.

The most relevant reason you can use in your case to claim there may be an automatically unfair constructive dismissal is in relation to making a protected disclosure (whistleblower’s protection). This is quite a complex area of law but basically if you make a protected disclosure and are treated detrimentally as a result, you could consider resigning or making a claim for detrimental treatment in the employment tribunal. The protected disclosure would be that you raised specific concerns about health and safety issues in your accommodation but the key s that as a result the employer has treated you detrimentally or dismissed you, so if that has not happened then you cannot claim.

However, such claims are not easy to pursue and will also cost you at least £1,000 in tribunal fees. You will be expected to try and mediate with the employer through ACAS first so you could reach a settlement without having to make a formal claim but there is of course no guarantee of that and time will tell if it is an option.

Before you consider any formal legal action it is nevertheless advisable to consider resolving that directly with the employer – you have the formal grievance procedure available to you to use and you should do so. However, if that does not help, your options as outlined above all what is left for you to rely on in taking this further.

Hope this clarifies your position?

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. 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? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Hello Michael, could you please let me know if I have answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this – this is needed so I can either keep the question open or close it if no further advice is required? Thank you