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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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I have been working for a company exclusively for almost 4

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Hi there
I have been working for a company exclusively for almost 4 years managing a marketing team. I was paid as self employed however I was not allowed to offer my services to other companies so the self employment was for the convenience the company rather than 'true self employment.
Earlier this year there was a change of Managing Director in the company who made some changes that I questioned whether they were data protection compliant. Prior to my questioning I seemed to have a good relationship with the new MD but, after I raised the issue the relationship changed. [The issue was that I worked for Zenith Ltd and the new MD wanted my team to contact all the customers that didn't purchase Zenith, to pretend to be from Weatherseal Ltd, another company owned by Enti Plc who also own Zenith. and try to sell to them. I asked if that was data protection compliant and was told yes within the first 28 days. That isn't true. I pointed out that I would not do anything that wasn't compliant.
The following week i was invited to a public cafe where the MD commenced chastising me for my work wear [It was the hottest day of the year and the air-conditioning wasn't working so I advised my team that they could wear more comfortable casual wear, I myself wore a smart polo shirt and jeans] I have never had to consult anyone in the business, I have always been left to make decisions. We are not a customer facing department, the only contact we have with customers are via the phone so work wear is of little importance. We have also NEVER received written confirmation of what we can or cannot wear or have I ever been advised that I do not have the authority to make this management decision. During this confrontation in the cafe, where joe public were looking on, I apologised for the work wear and explained that had I known he was attending, I would've naturally worn my suit. He said he wasn't interested in my apology and said he did nt need me to work for him. I was left knowing for certain that he did not want me in the business and as he was the MD i felt he was deliberately pushing me to leave. he actually said I could F off for all he cared. As a professional person I felt I had no choice but to leave. i feel this was constructive dismissal.
I also won a prize as the top marketing manager in the company. It was a year long competition and the prize was an all expenses week long trip to New York, San Fransisco and Las Vegas. it was confirmed that I had won and the trip was due to take place on Sept 8th however, I was advised in June that the trip wasn't going ahead however as compensation they will be paying me £5,000. This was never paid and I have asked the group managing director when I will be getting the money and I have been ignored.
My questions are:
do I have a case for constructive dismissal?
Am I correct that passing customer data between companies without the knowledge or permission of the customer is against data protection laws?
can I sue them for the £5,000 owed for the competition payment and loss of earnings from being constructively dismissed?
Thank you in advance

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. Before you can consider whether this is constructive dismissal you have to establish your employment status because only employees can make such a claim. I understand you were being treated as self employed but your status is going to depend on the overall relationship rather than what you were labelled as. You can use this checklist to try and determine your status:

If you are genuinely an employee then constructive dismissal is an option. It 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.

As to the payment you are owed you may indeed argue that this is a contractually owed payment now, based on what happened. You may not be able to pursue it as part of the constructive dismissal claim because it does not amount to wages, so instead you may have to pursue this through the small claims court.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow for each claim, 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

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you. For constructive dismissal, a new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal.

If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement.

The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here:

In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.

For the monetary claim, whenever a dispute arises over money owed by one party to another, the debtor can be pursued through the civil courts for recovery of the debt. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. Before you consider starting legal action you may wish to consider sending a formal statutory demand. This is a legal request which asks the debtor to pay the outstanding debt within 21 days and failure to do so will allow you to bankrupt the debtor (if they are an individual ) or wind up the company (if they are a business). For the relevant forms to serve a statutory demand see here:

4. If you wish to go down the legal route instead of a statutory demand, a claim can be commenced online by going to Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.