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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32086
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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At present I (and Mrs. P) are going through early

Customer Question

At present I (and Mrs. P) are going through early conciliation with ACAS and a university - our former employer.
When made redundant my indefinite 3 day a week post was Finance & Buildings Administrator on S&C Grade 6, the highest level for secretarial and clerical grades. I performed this role for 2 years but for the previous 13 years I had performed a wide range of administrative tasks i.e. event management, secretarial/PA work, minute taking, space management, advising students and taking on special projects plus I was a Harassment and Bullying adviser for 10 years. I basically did anything my previous (now retired) line manager threw at me. I worked full time for almost 15 years but reduced my working week to 3 days at the start of April not realising my job was at risk and how this would affect my redundancy pay out and my pension. I am 60 years old. All my work at the university was carried out in the same department.
There are a number of issues so I will try and put them over in a brief but clear format.
October 2015 – a review of our department following the Dean’s retirement
July 20 2016 – invited to meeting with Acting Dean & HR on July 25. I was informed my post had disappeared and I was at risk of redundancy. I was offered a Grade 4 post (nearly 36%) pay cut, one week’s less holiday and less seniority and it turned out the post was fixed for one year only. I argued this was not suitable alternative employment but HR did not agree with me although they agreed to pay redundancy when I my contract terminated on 5 September. During the meeting I queried why I could not apply for the Grade 6 Senior Administrator post which was supervising the admin team along with a manager. They said I could but I would have to complete a suitability form. This form wanted details of recent proven supervisory experience which I could not give as mine was historical. I did complete the form but was not offered the post.
After my first meeting with HR I discovered from Mrs P, another part time Grade 6 worker (age 58 with similar work experience to myself) that informal meetings had taken place with the Acting Dean (AD) offering her PA Ms K (Grade 6) the role of Senior Administrator even though she had no supervisory experience. If this took place the AD’s former PA would move sideways to be the new Dean’s PA keeping her present Grade 5 pay. Mrs P had also been told she could take on a part time Grade 6 post in supervising the new admin team. As it transpired none of this took place as Ms K was worried about taking on such a responsible role and wanted to say a PA. She confided this to Mrs P and another member of staff outside the department. No mention was made of myself nor was I privy to the informal meetings despite the AD being my line manger for the past 9 months.
At my final meeting with the AD & HR I mentioned these meetings and indicated I may submit a formal grievance. I was offered £500 at this point which I refused. I then appealed my redundancy which was not upheld by my employer.
My argument with my employer is that two other Grade 6 posts – that of the AD’s PA post (went from being PA to 1 person to PA to 3 people) and an Administrator & Project Officer’s post (new title of Student Adviser & Project Officer) should have been included in the selection pool. Both these members of staff are 30 years younger than Mrs K and myself. My employer’s argument is that the posts have changed in a number of ways but are basically the same. If they use that argument then surely Mrs P role which was supervising the Information desk and Counseling section which is now part of the new admin team should have not been included in the pool? Both Mrs P and I have historical and interchangeable skills which meant we could have applied for these roles.
In addition part of my financial role began to disappear to the AD’s PA as from February this year. This was disputed by the AD in an email but when I requested information from her in a further 5 emails she did not respond. The AD’s PA also began to take over areas of my role relating to the Building side and this carried on right up to the termination of my contract. The AD was my line manager for 9 months but she never met with me either regularly or irregularly to line manage my work and I was totally ostracised by her.
So the 3 arguments here are:
1 There was never a restructure as posts were already pre-determined as outlined in the previous behind the scenes secret discussions;
2 The other 2 Grade 6 posts should have been included in the selection pool;
3 I and the other part time older female worker have been discriminated on grounds of age and being part time workers plus I myself have been bullied by being completely ostracised by my line manager.
I need to know if my employer doesn't wish to conciliate how strong my case is and what to ask for, ACAS have indicated there is a case but have mentioned the Polkey deduction.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the information provided. Please could you kindly confirm how long you have worked there all in all? Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
15 years 2 months
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, I have been thinking about your question and I am not sure if our site is the best place to get the answer you require. To consider prospects of success and quantum of a claim you really need to get a full case analysis carried out. We are just a Q&A service, we have limitations as we have very limited information about your situation so it is very difficult and could even be negligent to advise you on what you need based on what we have. So I probably will not be able to help but will leave this open to everyone else on here if they can help you. Thanks and sorry I could not help

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're OK with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!