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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Dear Jo I am writing with regards to my situation at work. I

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Dear JoI am writing with regards ***** ***** situation at work.
I work for a manufacturer - New Planet Fashions. This business is owned by Mr Chomok Ali.
One of the members of staff is his son Shah Jalal.
I have the position of Production Manager.
I have been in the role since January 2017.
Upon my arrival I was asked by Chomok Ali to spend time working and training Shah Jalal as he has little understanding of the industry, so we have worked very closely over the last 16 months.
Shah Jalal attitude towards me changed some months ago which was triggered by a statement he made to the press that he had part ownership of a second business - Coatmaker (which is a business being set up between myself, Chomok Ali and Allan Scott (also one of the directors at NPF))
This business does not relate to Jalal at all.
I approached Chomok about this issue and various issues relating to Jalal’s attitude towards me.
Chomok advised he would handle this with his son.
Since then Jalal has become increasingly more aggressive towards me and his mood is volatile.
This has ranged from accusations whereby he shouts at me sometime in English and sometimes in Bengali, he refuses to fulfil work tasks I have requested which leads to passive aggressive and an aggressive stance towards me , he has made unfounded accusations of me hacking his email and more recently physical intimidation such as staring me out for long periods of time and standing over me for no apparent reason when asked.In recent months I have been keeping record of these incidents.
I have also witnessed him behaving like this towards another female member of the team.
Chomok’s response to our various conversations has been simply to say ‘I’ll deal with it’ and more recently he has suggested that i am ‘paranoid’ and that Jalal would never behave that way as I have suggested I felt he was execising his power as the boss’ son.
These issues have been becoming increasingly common on a daily basis.I went away I am away on holiday on Thursday last week and on Saturday I received over 30 messages from Jalal throughout the course of the day.Around a lot of non sensical statements he told me that I should not go back to work - essentially giving me 24 hours to resign otherwise I will feel ‘his wrath’, accussing Me of getting in between him and his father, he stated I should leave with what little dignity I have and made threats - using words such as assassination, making reference to me as a power hungry hag, an apostate and various other very aggressive and unpleasant statements.I have been through out the course of this year increasingly concerned about Jalal’s mental health, as he refers to the royal family as uncles and aunties and that the whole of Hollywood, the princess of Sweden hates me etc etc. it’s quite difficult to explain without sending you the texts as a lot of it is delusional. However within these texts I feel he is making it plain that he is going to make it impossible for me to return by these threats.I feel scared of Jalal and have found his intimidating behaviour very difficult in recent months, I am very concerned about what he might do as he has made it plain that I should not go back to work or reap the consequences.I feel like Jalal needs a psychological assessment and the messages sent make me feel very anxious.
I also feel that I am being left no choice but to go to the police.As I am away on holiday I am unable to do this until I return to the U.K. next week.I feel like I need to contact Chomok to let him know I cannot go back to work as my position with Jalal is untenable and I do fear for my safety. I am also concerned about the safety of Dina, the other female staff member.Would it be possible to get some advice on my position and what would be the best way to proceed in this case.
I am incredibly anxious about wanting to handle this is the best possible way and appreciate that time is of the essence in letting Chomok and Allan know, but I’m not sure the best way to go about this.There is another issue relating to Coatmaker which I believe has some bearing on what would be th best way to proceed so feel that a conversation would be very useful.I look forward to hearing from you,With thanks
Nikki Baillie
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I am trying to add photos of the WhatsApp correspondence but it won’t link for some reason. Is there another way I can send this to you?
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
H
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I’ve sent 7 attachments but not sure if you have received them,With thanks
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I think that is all the messages ... n

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

How long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Since January 2017...
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thanks for your assistance today Ben

Thank you and what are you hoping to achieve exactly in the circumstances? Plkease note I am in and out of court today so may not be able to reply immediately, thanks

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Hi Ben,I would like to know what my position is in terms of filing a case of harassment against Jalal with the police. Do you think the text messages are sufficient to do so?I would also like to know what the best way to explain to Chomok and Allan why I feel unable to return to work in the current circumstances and not sure how much detail I need to say at this stage?I feel I need to push this back to them to offer a solution to this situation.
I would like to know my legal position should there be no satisfactory resolution?
Does this leave me with a constructive dismissal case?Please note there is no HR department at NPF - this is normally left to me, so the only person that I have been able to bring issues up about Jalal to date, is with his father.From previous conversations I know that Chomok will not remove Jalal from the business, and I am not prepared to go back to work whilst he is there.I feel like I need to know how to word approaching this issue with Chomok and Allan and what my legal standpoint is with regards ***** ***** harassed in this way and forced out of my job.Look forward to hearing from you,With thanks,
Nikki

Hi Nikki, many thanks for your patience. Having read the messages, I can certainly see why you would be concerned as they certainly do not appear to be rational or be sent by someone who would reasonably be seen to be of sound mind (at least at the time they were sent).

In terms of your options, you can indeed consider a harassment complaint against him. The messages can certainly be seen and used as evidence, although the main issue there is that it is entirely in the hands of the police to decide whether to take this further and how far to actually go with it. So the least you can do is to report it to them and then they decide what to do with it next.

It is also possible to make a civil claim in the courts for harassment, under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. If a civil claim is made in the courts, it must be initiated within 6 years of the alleged act(s) of harassment taking place. The court can make an order instructing the harasser to stop their behaviour. If they still do not stop harassing the victim it would become a criminal offence and they can be prosecuted in the criminal courts. It is also possible to seek financial compensation if financial or emotional losses have been suffered (e.g. causing severe anxiety or distress).

In terms of employment rights, constructive dismissal would be the usual way to take it further, however you need at least 2 years’ service to be able to claim. As I see no legal exceptions to this here you may be prevented from claiming that.

In any event, the best way to go about this is probably to try and get a settlement agreement from the employer, where you are paid off to leave and in turn agree not to make any claims against them. Try to negotiate to get something you would be happy to leave with, but if that is not possible, you may have to seek the above options as an alternative.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Hi Ben,
Thanks for your helpful reply. I have since received some more messages from Jalal.Whilst I understand I haven’t done two full years of service, are there no circumstances in which constructive dismissal can be a case?The issue I have is that even if it was possible to settle without going to the police my concern is that his behaviour will not stop.In addition I have a verbal partnership (33% split) in place with Allan and Chomok with regards ***** ***** business, Coatmaker, which is currently launching.It makes it difficult to quantify the loss of earnings in both capacities as this situation is making both my role at NPF and my ability to launch Coatmaker simultaneously untenable.
Jalal’s behaviour is jeapordising two years of additional work on the Coatmaker brand which started back in February 2016.I hold 100% of the shareholding at companies house for Coatmaker whilst we were in the process of drawing up a shareholders agreement - this also hit some issues in the last few months as Allan/Chomok decided they would no pay for any invoices coming though until I signed over the shares to him and Chomok.Chomok also stated that he decided he didn’t want a shareholders agreement put in place. This is contrary to what we had previously agreed.
I have the minutes of the meeting on email whereby this was discussed.I have not been willing to sign over the shares without a shareholders agreement and we had in recent weeks been in a cooling off period over this issue.Just to confirm Allan and Ali’s capacity in the business was financial and also providing the facilities at NPF to produce (this part when we receive orders would be a standard transaction of Coatmaker paying market rate for the manufacturing services at NPF).Is it possible for me to take the Coatmaker brand?Allan and Ali have put in £100k over two years of which half was post incorporation date. 11th January 2017.My investment in Coatmaker has been creation of the brand, design, development of the collection, design of website, creating the brand name and identity with a third party, taking the product to launch bringing in 3rd party support for the launch through my contacts, pricing, collateral development for launch, in fact all aspects of the business development has been done by me over the course of this last two years - ostensibly Allan and Ali are not active in any capacity other than paying invoices.I guess my main concern is that in order for my to protect my investment at Coatmaker, does launching a harrasssment complaint against Jalal with the police have any bearing ?
Jalal has also put out statements in the press to say that he is a co-manager of this brand and that it is a family owned business - neither of which is true.
He has also been circulating this information to our clients (industry peers) via email and has published an article relating to his book whereby he states he is the production manager at New Planet Fashions, which is my role not his.
The entire press statement is a fabrication and is damaging to the Coatmaker brand which has been designed in essence to be faceless.I appreciate there is a lot of additional information here but hope you can advise on the best course of action with this complex issue in mind.Looking forward to hearing from you again,With thanks
Nikki

There are only limited exceptions to claim constructive dismissal without the 2 years’ service and these are on grounds of discrimination (gender, age, race, religion, disability) or any of the reasons listed here:

https://www.lawdonut.co.uk/business/employment-law/dismissals-and-redundancies/21-circumstances-when-a-dismissal-is-automatically-unfair

The issue with the further queries you have is that it is transitioning from an employment/harassment law issue to a corporate law one and I cannot help with that – they are all rather distinct areas of law and you need a corporate lawyer to deal with these. SO I can continue assisting with the employment and harassment concerns but anything to do with company law and how this affects shareholdings, etc will have to be done as a separate query directed at a corporate lawyer. Hope this clarifies?

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question? You can either reply on here with a quick ‘Yes, thanks’, or select 3, 4 or 5 stars on this page. I can still answer follow up questions if needed to clarify anything for you. Many thanks

Hello, not sure if you are having trouble seeing my posts? Do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the response to your query? I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks

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