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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Employed over 1 year with a large 'conveyancing' firm,

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Employed for just over 1 year with a large 'conveyancing' firm, not solicitors. Started last June. Original contract, terms for giving notice were 1 month. However, following continuous mass exodus, primarily by 'conveyancers, i, like most of the employees were asked to sign a document agreeing to 3 months notice. They hovered over you til you signed. In October, as a result of an accident 2 years previous, I suddenly lost the ability to walk. Consultants concerned that I would be paralysed. Was off work 6 weeks. Can walk but in pain because of 2 protruding discs. When I returned to work was given a written warning. In February this year, 2 days off work due to flu. Final written warning. Meanwhile, taking medication because back injury, side effects of these and high blood pressure meds and other meds is drowsiness. Firm aware I am taking these. Work has been over capacity pretty much since I became employed. Started having to work around 65 hours, paid 37.5 hours. Stress has been building for months. Always promising that things were going to improve, but never did. Finally put in notice on Thursday 25th June, was not pre-meditated, but I knew it was getting too much. Heard that they had accepted 1 months notice from another employee wo had also signed the 3 month notice document, so I also gave 1 months notice as we were employed to carry out the same duties, although I am a more experienced conveyancer. Out of nowhere on Friday 26th June I had a meltdown. It was and still is serious. They refuse to accept my one month's notice BUT they expected me to carry out the same duties and at the same pace as someone who is not taking the medication I am on. I have excellent references for absolutely everywhere I have worked. I am not a shirker and go above and beyond as can be noted by all the extra hours I have put in. As far as I am aware, I am the only person at our offices who has received flowers etc as thank you. Sent them a sick note for a further 2 weeks this morning. Advised them that Dr is very concerned as to my health. Despite the notice and the sick note, they have come back with what they are trying to do for me. Considering I have handed in my notice and am clearly off sick for some time, not sure what they are trying to achieve. Would I have a case to take them to an employment tribunal for discrimination. I cant say I like the idea but they simply wore me down with no concern at the time and now that I have had this meltdown, they have conveniently now started to listen.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How do you think they could have helped you in the circumstances?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

They were aware of my having to take medication. They acknowledged they were aware of my back injury by allowing me to leave early when required to attend physiotherapy. Yet they continued to send files to me, I was dealing okay with approximately 85 clients however they continued to increase my capacity. Whilst my title was 'Associate Conveyancer' I, along with most of the employees there, are nothing more than sweatshop call centre operators. I did not have time to bring this to their attention. But then they were aware. I ended up working from home at 4am, leaving for work at 6am and working from 7am to 5pm without a lunch break. I have dealt with over 100 phone calls in a day whilst somehow having to progress my own files. The calls were usually not my clients but you still had to deal with the call accordingly. I told my Team Leader approximately 2 week earlier that if the current trend did not change then the 'death in service benefits' would come in very handy for my husband. It was not the first time discussions such as this had happened and still nothing changed. I am aware that in a recent Team Leader meeting, a deputy Team Leader said she was concerned for me, still nothing. Now it would appear that they cannot do enough for me, judging by today's email. Seems pointless considering I have put in my notice.

Before you consider whether you can make a claim for discrimination you need to work out if you can be classified as being disabled. In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’. The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. I will break this definition down:Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.) If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees. What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances. Below are some examples:making adjustments to work premises;allocating some of the employee’s duties to others;transferring the employee to fill an existing suitable vacancy;altering the employee’s hours of work;allowing the employee to be absent during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment connected to their disability;acquiring or modifying specialist equipment;providing supervision or other support. If someone who is disabled is being treated unfavourably because of their disability or their employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments it would potentially amount to disability discrimination. The first step would be to raise a formal grievance. The next step would be to consider whether a claim for disability discrimination should be made in an employment tribunal (the time limit for claiming is only 3 months from the date of the alleged discriminatory act taking place). If a claim for discrimination is made, the usual remedy would be to award compensation for injury to feelings. This is calculated by considering the level of discrimination that the claimant has been subjected to. The seriousness of the discriminatory behaviour is assigned to one of three ‘bands’ known as Vento bands, named after a court case with that name. The current compensation levels are as follows:Lower band - for less serious cases, for example an isolated incident or event (£600 - £6,000)Middle band - for serious cases which are not serious enough to fall within the highest band (£6,000 - £18,000)Top band - for the most serious cases, for example if there has been a lengthy and calculated campaign of harassment/discrimination (£18,000 - £30,000) I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Ben, I appreciate your reponse. Luckily, having worked at Solicitors offices for more years than I care to remember, I was able to find most of this information on the Equality Advisory & Support Service. Are you able to assist with a relevant response to their email of how they are going to make things better for me now that I have suffered a mental breakdown, how they appreciate how hard I have worked for the firm and want to make things better, bearing in mind by the time the Dr feels I will be ready to return to work, there will barely be a few weeks remaining of my notice. I have not even been on the planet for the last 2 weeks and am only starting to see minimum improvement in my health. I do not take this lightly, I have felt I have had t work all those extra hours because all I ever got was that I was not working as well as others in my team and constant pressure, plus the threat of 'off ill once more and you will be dismissed'. They use something called the 'Bradford Score' and having become temporarily paralysed last year, they have included that in my score, which of course is very high. Why are they doing all they can to 'assist' me now, when I have put my notice in? I dont know much about employment law, hence my contact to this site, so I think they can't dismiss me as I put my notice in but the 'threat of instant dismissal' does not expire until November 2015

Hi, we are a Q&A service so the normal assistance we can offer is just to discuss your position and advise you of your rights. If you need me to draft a response then that will be treated as an additional service and will be at extra cost, so if that is what you want then please let me know and I can organise it. If not and you simply want me to answer some follow up questions for you then just let me know what these are on here.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Ben, it would be appreciated if you could let me know what the extra cost would be for the additional service of providing a draft response?
Sure, before I do so can you please explain what type of response exactly you require and what you are hoping to achieve?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I feel from their email this morning they are simply trying to carry out damage limitation and it is an empty offer given that I have already given my notice in. The bot***** *****ne for me is that I went over and beyond to try and empty an ocean with a tea spoon. They have suggested that I attend the offices next week to go through 'their plans for me' Why? I'm leaving whether it is in a month (2 weeks left) or 3 months. They worked me into the ground with little or no consideration for the effect it was having on my health. They were aware that I was working at 4am in the morning, going to work and then working from home at night and at weekends. If it is attainable, I am looking to take this to a tribunal and therefore do not wish to jeopardise my position
Thanks, ***** ***** submitted details of the additional service to draft a letter
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry Ben, I cant see where the details of additional service are. Can you direct me where to look please?

Hi sorry not sure why it may not have worked, I have tried again, please let me know if you still cannot see it
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay but I have had to take extra medication to keep me 'calm'. I have received your quote. Unfortunately, whilst I appreciate it is a lot lower than attending a solicitors office, as I am now only receiving SSP, we now have to be extremely vigilant in respect of funds. I will therefore have to decline. Can you at least let me know whether responding to their email and indicating that I intend to take the matter further would have a negative impact. Should I simply give them a 'basic' response? Having worked around law, I appreciate that your response cannot be 100% guaranteed but feel I do need to respond to them urgently.

Hi there, no problem at all on the delay. I see no issues with sending them a reply and setting out your position. Whatever you say, you do not have to go through with it but it could make it clear that that you are aware of your rights and would not hesitate taking it to the next step if you had to. That could help in changing their mind to an extent, although there is of course no guarantee of that. There is no need to go into great lengths, but as long as you make it clear that you are aware of your legal rights and are considering your next steps that should be sufficient at this stage.
Hope this clarifies?
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