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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50209
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I had been working full time, on a permanent contract as

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I had been working full time, on a permanent contract as HR Manager for a drinks wholesaler. I started on 01 September 2015, with a 3 month probationary period and a performance and retention bonus of up to £7,000 per annum.
I am also caring for my disabled partner, who underwent a spinal fusion operation in August of 2015 and has required full time care throughout his recovery. This has meant that on several occasions (no more than 10) I had asked to be allowed to work from home for a full or half day, and/or to take a half day to take my partner to various hospital/follow-up appointments, which were granted without question, and often without comment.
My probation was completed without comment or any review and at the end of February I received the full bonus amount for the period 01 Sept 2015 to 29 February 2016.
On Monday 4th April 2016 I submitted my weekly plan as usual, showing a half day on Wednesday 6th April to take my partner to a hospital appointment, and a request to work from home on Friday 8th April.
On Thursday 7th April I was called to a meeting room by my manager ( the Financial Director) and told that my performance was so poor that the entire management team, including every Head of Department and the Directors had lost faith in my ability to do the job of HR Manager. As a result they were 'letting me go'.
I was not offered a witness and we were unable to gain an agreed set of minutes.
I was unable to complete an appeal process as the only persons available to Chair a hearing were the Directors who had already stated that they had lost faith, and I in turn had lost faith in the possibility of a fair process.
Despite my short-service I am considering a claim through tribunal for unfair dismissal on the basis that no witness was offered for the meeting, and disability discrimination by association. Does this seem reasonable?
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Is there any evidence of your performance being poor?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was not given any evidence at the time or since. 3 specific examples were stated, but without detail beyond the following:
1. Recruitment. It has taken too long to fill vacant roles. Specifically, a position of Sales and Marketing Director, which was filled the week prior to my dismissal. I was told that I had not brought many candidates to the table and the MD had provided the only viable ones through industry connections.
I reviewed over 100 applications, brought at least 27 to 1st stage, and 5 of them completed final stage presentations. I wa snot allowed to use recruitment agencies until I went to the MD insisting we approach at least one, that I knew well. I negotiated a fixed fee equivalent to less than 50% of standard fees for a Director role. One of my candidates was offered the job, but then had the offer withdrawn under the MD's instruction, after requesting 25 days annual leave plus bank holidays. This role has been open since the end of 2014.
2. There was "that situation regarding my assistant". I recruited an HR administrator, with authorisation. The person recruited did not pass their probationary period and I dismissed them 2 weeks before I was dismissed. A replacement was already in place and started 1 week before my dismissal.
3. Development of manager skills in HR "never happened". Not true. Working with heads of department I chose a coaching route, developing skills with each individual. Evidence to this effect exists. No KPI's were in place for my role and no time limits or other expectations were defined to me with regard these areas. The Operations Manager in charge of warehouse and transport failed in his performance to significant levels - far worse than I, but was not disciplined at any time and has not been dismissed. He is a cousin of the MD.My performance was never managed, good or bad.
Hello, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied and only just returned. The starting point is that 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. This means that your employer can dismiss you 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 because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.). In the event that the reason for dismissal fell within these categories, then the dismissal will either be automatically unfair, or there will be a potential discrimination claim. Not being allowed a companion on the meetings does not give rise to an unfair dismissal claim if you have less than 2 years’ service. A worker who has been denied the right to representation can make a claim in tribunal for compensation, which would be between 2-4 weeks’ pay. As to discrimination by association, direct disability discrimination can occur if an employer treats an employee less favourably because of the disability of another person (normally, but not necessarily, someone 'associated' with the employee). The leading case on this is Coleman v Attridge Law. However, there is another more relevant case to yours which has very similar facts, although it is only a Tribunal decision so it is not binding, however it still may be persuasive in future claims. So you could indeed consider pursuing such a claim too. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the relevant case law I mentioned and details of that case, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your insight. I thought that failure to allow a witness to a disciplinary/grievance hearing (including performance) would warrant an unfair dismissal claim, regardless of length of service?
I would appreciate your further insight regarding relevant case law/tribunal decisions, as you describe.
it would be an unfair dismissal if they actually sack you for requesting to be accompanied and they dismiss because you had made such a request or tried to assert that right. However, if it was a simple failure to allow you to do that or not offering you that opportunity that would not qualify. As to the case law, in Truman v Bibby Distribution Ltd, an employment tribunal held that Mr Truman had been directly discriminated against because of his daughter's disability. Mr Truman's wife was the primary carer for their daughter who has cystic fibrosis. Mr Truman's performance had consistently been appraised as good by his employer. However, shortly after advising his line manager that his wife was starting a new business and he would soon need to spend more time looking after his daughter, Mr Truman was called into a meeting without notice and advised that his employment was "not working" and he was dismissed. The tribunal also took into account the fact that the dismissal meeting took place the day before Mr Truman would have been entitled to take leave to care for his daughter under his employer's family leave policy, and that a colleague had been asked to "gather as much dirt as he could" on Mr Truman.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much.
You are most welcome all the best