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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49789
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I recently completed a work survey which was highlighted

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I recently completed a work survey which was highlighted it was completely anonymous.
I have now been called to HR to speak about it, where do I stand and or do I need to discuss with HR.
I feel totally violated.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for and what was the nature of the survey?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have work there 12 years

It was a company satisfaction survey

How is work environment, do you feel respected by your boss

Have they said what specifically they want to discuss about it?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, but I just want to where I stand if they try to dismiss me.

The fact it stated it was anonymous but clearly isn't.

What comments did you make which you believe may lead to dismissal?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I said I didn't feel respected by my boss, who is quite high up in the chain.

I also mentioned I felt pushed aside on important decisions as a Office Manager.

I also mentioned I was being bullied by email. There is a member of staff in my team who doesn't like me, doesn't want to answer to me, my boss know this and now she goes direct to him rather than me, as she is openly said she wants my position and it seems my boss is encouraging this.

I doubt that they would go for dismissal for this. You have 12 years of service and protection against unfair dismissal. To dismiss you they must be able to show there was a fair reason for dismissal and also follow a fair procedure. Complaining about your boss or raising issues at work is not a reason for dismissal. So if they were going to dismiss you then you will likely have a good case for unfair dismissal.
If the survey was sent by HR and they are the ones asking to discuss it then that is not a breach of confidentiality as they were the original source. They may wish to discuss your concerns and see if there is anything they can do to help or ask if you wish to take matters further in a more formal way such as by raising a grievance.
If the contents of the survey have been passed on to someone else who was not part of the original request or did not have the authority to see it then that could indeed amount to breach of trust and confidence by the employer and potential breach of data protection. This could amount to constructive dismissal, which occurs when the following two elements are present:
• Serious breach of contract by the employer; and
• An acceptance of that breach by the employee, who in turn treats the contract of employment as at an end. The employee must act in response to the breach and must not delay any action too long.
A common breach by the employer occurs when it, or its employees, have broken the implied contractual term of trust and confidence. The conduct relied on could be a single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario).
The affected employee would initially be expected to raise a formal grievance in order to officially bring their concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them. If the issues are so bad that the employee can't even face raising a grievance and going through the process, or if a grievance has been raised but has been unsuccessful, then they can consider resigning straight away.
If resignation appears to be the only option, it must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give an impression that the employer's breach had been accepted. Any resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without providing any notice period. It is advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal.
Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of resignation to submit a claim in the employment tribunal.
An alternative way out is to approach the employer on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under a settlement agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, although the employer does not have to agree to it so it will be subject to negotiation. In any event, there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them because you cannot be treated detrimentally for suggesting it and it would not be used against you.
Just to make a final, yet important point, that constructive dismissal can be a difficult claim to win as the burden of proof is entirely on the employee to show the required elements of a claim were present. Therefore, it should only be used as a last resort.
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
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