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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 57978
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have been put into a position where a wrongful accusation

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I have been put into a position where a wrongful accusation has been made against me. Two senior managers left me in a room with a person who has a pass record of aggressive and threatening behaviour. The idea was that we were both supposed to sort out a difference in opinion we had with each other. We still couldn’t see eye to eye and I left the room. He then made an accusation that I had threatened him by twisting something that I had said. I now stand to lose my job, and my house not to mention the impact this has had on my personal mental health. Where do I stand?
Assistant: Have you discussed the accusation with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I discussed it with both the senior managers involved, one of whom is my line manager. They both told me that they didn’t believe the accusation but that I had to take a week off while they investigated it.
Assistant: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I’m an employee, I work at a drug rehabilitation centre in the third sector, I don’t have a union rep
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No I think that’s about it. I’m just wondering where I stand legally

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 11 months ago.
I’ve worked there now for four months, before that I worked there on a voluntary role for over a year

Thank you. 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 a reason which makes a dismissal automatically unfair. These include:

· Discrimination due to a protected characteristic (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.)

· Taking, or trying to take, leave for family reasons including pregnancy, maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, childbirth and parental leave

However, if the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then you would not be able to challenge it. In that case your only protection would be if you were dismissed in breach of contract. That could happen if you were not paid your contractual notice period (unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct) or the employer had not followed a contractually binding dismissal procedure. 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.

So even if the reasons for dismissal are completely untrue, the employer can still dismiss you, without you being able to challenge it.

In terms of the false statements by the other party, whilst technically it could amount to defamation, that is a very difficult and expensive claim to pursue and it will cost in excess of £10-15,000 to pursue the claim, without guarantee of getting anything back. So as mentioned, technically it may be defamation, but realistically it is probably going to be rather difficult to take further.

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