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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50173
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Started a new job but had little induction, manger is a

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Started a new job but had little induction, manger is a bully and constantly shouts at me, undermines me and belittles me. I'm currently on the probation period which lasts approx 9 months to a year. As a result of the attitude of the manager, I have ended up in the sick. I've been on sick leave for 4 weeks, the manager keeps calling me and demanding I'm back at work or lose my job. He is rude and even though I have raised this with the director, I have been ignored. Staff turnover is very poor due to this man, 6 staff members have left since November 2016. I got a letter today via email stating that a review of my sickness would take place on Friday with the manager to discuss my ill health, if they can accommodate me and that they will be contacting my GP. It states attendance is mandatory and I can on,y bring a work colleague or trade union rep. I'm not in the union and no work colleague will attend for fear of the manager. I don't trust him to attend on my own. I was given a different picture when I applied and when offered the job. From the day I started this job, it has been stressful and an awful place to work. Everything they promised has been back tracked. The manager undermines me, belittles me and puts me in a corner. I left my job of 6 years for this new one thinking it had prospects but it's nothing like what they said at interview. Can I bring someone else to this meeting and can I be dismissed. I have had an exemplary sickness record in the past and I feel I am stick between a rock and hard place now. I get married end of July and I'm at my wits end. I have no idea where I stand legally and what the employers can or can't do. I made a compliant to the director regarding the manager and his conduct and nothing came of it. Can you advise me please

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. When exactly did you start?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben.I started on 4th April 2016

Thank you. First of all you can only bring a colleague or trade union rep to such meetings. If you want to bring someone else you can only do so with the employer’s consent, which they do not have to give you.

In terms of your general position, 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 or constructive dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you or force you to resign 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.

If the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then you would not be able to challenge it and your only protection would be if you were not paid your contractual notice period, because unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct, you would be entitled to receive your contractual notice period. If you did not have a written contract in place you would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. Your employer would either have to allow you to work that notice period and pay you as normal, or they will have to pay you in lieu of notice.

If you were not paid your notice period when you were due one, that would amount to wrongful dismissal (which is different to unfair dismissal) and you could make a claim in an employment tribunal to recover the pay for the notice period that you should have been given. There is a 3-month time limit from the date of dismissal to submit the claim.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of trying to establish if you are likely to be protected under disability discrimination laws, 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 is 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.
Thank you for the advice. Can you elaborate on the disability discrimination please. I'm currently on sick for anxiety and stress. Also if they dismiss me or I resign, will I be paid full for the 2 weeks notice period or will I be paid SSP. I'm currently being paid SSP, I was only paid full for two weeks of my sick leave. Thank you

Thank you. The disability discrimination protection will only apply if you are classified as disabled and being dismissed because of it.

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 terms of the notice pay, because your employer has to give you more than the statutory notice period of 1 week (you get 2 weeks under contract so it is longer than the minimum notice period) you will only be entitled to SSP during it. Had they been contractually obliged to give you the equivalent of the statutory notice period (i.e. 1 week) then you would have been paid your full normal pay.