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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49817
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am being accused of bullying and harrassment at work which

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I am being accused of bullying and harrassment at work which I am mortified about as I had no idea that our friendship has been treated as such. However I do accept that my behaviour in the office has been odd recently due to a number of person problems and ultimately probably led to a mini breakdown in the office. I am due at a hearing tomorrow and whilst I am very sad for the person who is accusing me at the same time I (feel callous) but I am trying to protect my career. Can I resign even though I am due at the hearing (and breach my contract so that I don't expect my months pay?)
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
1 and a half years. I do add that I accept that my behaviour has been erratic but I assumed the person was friends (a partner) and I am a senior manager. I am prepared to resign as I am confident of getting work elsewhere but whilst I would like them to hear all my evidence I do not want to risk being sacked for gross misconduct.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry I have not used this before (and not chasing!) but do I just wait by my PC for a reply or does it go to my email?Thank you
I will reply on here shortly
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
thank you Ben
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If I call will you follow up with a written reply?thanks
Sorry not taking calls at this time, it would have been an automated offer which you can ignore, thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
that's fine!
If there is a written contract in place and it contains a specific clause detailing the notice period an employee is supposed to give if they wanted to leave their employment, they will be contractually bound by it. Therefore, if the employee fails to honour this notice period then they will be acting in breach of contract. The employer then has the option of suing the employee to seek compensation for damages resulting from their breach. However, in reality such claims are very rarely made. This is mainly due to the costs and time involved, also the relatively small damages that can be recovered. Also the employer has to show that actual losses have been incurred and often that is not easy to do. So whilst there is no way of predicting whether the employer will take this any further or not, chances are that they will not. A more likely outcome is that the employer refuses to provide a reference in the future or if they do, it could mention that the employee had breached their contract. It is therefore best to try and negotiate a mutually acceptable notice period that would suit both parties. However, if that is not possible and there is a pressing need to leave early, that is still a possibility, subject to the risks identified above. I very much doubt they will take it further, but remember that if they provide a reference they can state that you had left pending a disciplinary so future employers may draw inferences from that. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. 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.
Ok thank you Ben that is very helpful. Just a final clarification whilst I note that you say that they 'may' mention a pending disciplinary action where I to resign tomorrow is it optional in a reference for them to mention it?i.e. are they are duty bound by law?Of course I appreciate if I am found guilty then they have no option. I did have some severe stress externally and so I hope that is taken into account but I am a qualified professional and so I just worry about the risk in the future.thanks
they are not legally required to disclose it, unless specifically asked. The law says that whilst there is no legal obligation on employers to provide a reference for past employees, if they choose to do so they will automatically owe them a duty to take reasonable care in its preparation. This requires the employer to be accurate in the contents of the reference and ensure it is based on facts, rather than just personal opinion. Certain principles have been established through case law over the years and the main points can be summarised as follows: 1. In the case of Bartholomew v London Borough of Hackney the employer provided a reference which contained details of disciplinary proceedings which were pending at the time the employee left. The court decided that the employer had not breached its duty of care by providing such a reference as it would have a duty to provide a reference that is true, accurate and fair and does not present facts so as to give a misleading impression overall. Therefore, if the employer had not included details of the disciplinary proceedings it would have failed in its duty to the prospective employer to provide a reference that was not unfair or misleading. 2. In the later case of Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd the employer provided a reference that contained details of an employee's alleged misconduct. However, they did not properly investigate these before providing the reference and the employee challenged the information in it. The court decided that an employer will be negligent in providing a reference that refers to an employee’s misconduct unless the employer had carried out an investigation and had reasonable grounds for believing that the misconduct had taken place. This can be applied to other matters forming part of a reference, not just issues of misconduct. Hope this clarifies?
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you I will now leave you in peace - rating will be 5.
Many thanks and all the best