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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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There is this new director at work who is trying to give

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hi there is this new director at work who is trying to give everyone a kick up the backside, i first met him a few weeks ago. i suffer from depression and anxiety and a couple of weeks ago i had a major depressive episode and just stayed in bed and didnt come in for three days, at the time my employer had no idea about my depression or anxiety.
after two days of being off i heard nothing and then on the third day i was hounded with calls to my mobile and landline pretty much one after the other for about an hour as well as this there was heavy pounding of my door for a bout 20 minutes. I was highly anxious and thought that it may infact have been a bailiff so i stayed hidden under the covers.
I looked out my window and there was a man in a shirt sitting in his car, i later found out that he was infact the new company director. after about 4 hours sitting outside he drove off. i then recieved a text saying that before i could return to work that i would have to go into the office and discuss my employment. after recieving the text i was going to call in monday morning and try to get into the office to have the meeting and accept a verbal warning as this was my first disciplinary. over the weekend i had repeated calls fom an unknown number starting from bout 9am and lasting until about 9pm on both days. i had planned to call the office first thing monday morning but bfore i could pick up the phone to dial it stated going off and then my mobile would go off and then there was a loud banging at the door, this shook my nerves again and i went to hide under my duvet trying to block the noise out worried it was a bailliff agan. so i phoned in about three oclock to the office and the new director picked up and told me that a notice was been sent out saying that i had abandoned my apprenticeship and that i was to return all my tools even ones i had paid for myself back to the office. when i went back to the office i had a meeting where i told my employer about my mental health issues. and he was also probing into my background he told me that in the last 12 months i had taken 30 days off sick, i explained to him that i broke my foot and that was why i was off for 5 weeks and also about my dad passing to which acoounted for 3 days off and the rest were due to family reasons whilst my dad was in the hospice. he then asked me why i broke my foot, where did i break my foot, which bone did i break, and was i sober and what time of day and also the weather conditions. he also asked me to exzplain about my executorship responsbilities to my dads estate the size of it and how much my father had left me my sisters and my brother and also asked why my other siblings were not given executorship. i found this highly unnerving and felt tht should i have refused to answer i would have no job to go back to, he then told me that another lad had come in with depression and he put him incontact with the cab and after he had done that told him to go back to the doctors and say he wasdnt depressed and then told me that my depression was different to that and that i should be renouncing executorship over to my siblings because they are better off than me. he also told me that he had knocked on several neighbours houses to ask questions about me and also told other members of my road that i hadnt been to work for three days. he also showed me a photo of my front door and the van on the garden. i live in a pretty run down house but im not in a position to move out and am actually pretty embarresed aboutr where i live. it was the next day after i had gone into work again that i had discovered that he had shown photos of my house and door to my supervisors and other managers and even some of the other apprentices. this has left me feeling really embarased and ashamed when talking to my supervisors or managers knowing they have seen how run down the house im staying at i would love to quit my job but i cant because i will lose my appenticeship to which iv only got a year left and the company have made it perfectly clear. i want to place a complaint but am scared to do so as he is the second most senior level and find him quite intimidating. i spoke to a few people about this they and suggested that this may constitute harrassment, please advise?
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified solicitor and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.can you tell me your age and the start date of your apprenticeship please.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i am 27 and my apprenticeship was supposed to start in januay but didnt start or sign a contract or apprenticeship agree ment until late febuary early march but i was employed with the company for 2months prior (04/11/14) and did a months unpaid training with them before that
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience delays.
Many thanks for your patience. I must say that I was very surprised to read what you have gone through and the director’s behaviour is totally unacceptable. This is a rather extreme example and you should not be subjected to what you have been.
In terms of your legal position, this could indeed amount to harassment and also it could be discrimination on grounds of disability.
As far as harassment is concerned, it could be both a civil matter and a criminal one. The law states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment. Although there is no definition of what specifically amounts to harassment, it would usually include alarming a person or causing them distress and must have occurred on at least two occasions.
Under criminal law, and if this is reported to the police who then take action, the punishment for harassment can be imprisonment and/or a fine. A court may also impose a restraining order for the purpose of protecting the victim.
In addition to criminal action, a civil claim can also be brought against a person who is alleged to be guilty of causing harassment. The courts would award compensation to the victim, something that is unlikely to happen if this is pursued as a criminal issue.
So in the first instance the police can be contacted and this matter reported to them as harassment. However, they will not often get involved in trivial disputes so if they believe that this is not serious enough they could refuse to help and advise you that this is a civil matter. In such circumstances, the victim can warn the harasser that their actions are being treated as harassment and that unless they refrain from such behaviour in the future they will be reported to the police and legal action under harassment legislation taken against them.
The discriminatory behaviour would be as a result of unfair treatment due to a disability. Your depression is likely to amount to a disability so if you ate being treated unfairly because of it that could amount to discrimination in law. You can pursue this through an internal grievance and if necessary the option of a claim in the employment tribunal also exists.
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