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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71328
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I think I am about to lose my job, London, United Kingdom, I

Customer Question

JA: Hi. How can I help?
Customer: I think I am about to lose my job
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London, United Kingdom
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have been put on a Performance Improvement Plan I am now one month into that plan
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: However I don't think I am being given a fair assessment of my performance
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

How long have you worked there for? What do you specifically want to know about this, please? Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you today. Thanks

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Hello Ben. I have been working there since January 2016 (4 years 10 months)
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I do not know if I am entitled to a 'pay off' as they have put me on a performance improvement plan
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I would also like to know if they can give me a negative reference for future employment interviews
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Please can you advise if either of these things are the case?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

An employee's poor performance is a potentially fair reason for dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996, as it would amount to lack of capability. This should be assessed by reference to their skill, aptitude, health or any other physical or mental quality and must relate to the work that they were employed to do.

Apart from identifying the poor performance, the employer must also follow a fair procedure, particularly showing that dismissal was a reasonable decision in the circumstances. An important element of this will be the extent to which the employer has clearly communicated the requirements and expectations of the role to the employee or, where applicable, has provided necessary support and training.

Generally, the reasonableness of dismissals for poor performance would be measured against the following criteria:

- Was the situation properly investigated and the alleged poor performance issues identified – this would include looking at the employment contract, training records, appraisals or other performance monitoring criteria

- Was the employee made aware of the problem and given realistic timescales to improve

- Was the employee provided with the necessary support or training

- Was the employee’s progress reviewed during the monitoring period

- Was the employee told of the consequences of failing to improve during the monitoring period

- Was alternative employment considered to avoid the need for dismissal

The above are just some examples of what an Employment Tribunal would look at when deciding the fairness of such a dismissal. If there is evidence that the employer has acted in a rather heavy-handed manner and jumped straight to dismissal without acting fairly, their decision could potentially be challenged.

No pay off is required by the employer apart from your notice period, assuming they proceed with termination.

In terms of a reference, they can provide a negative reference as long as it contains the truth so it will depend on what it says and whether these statements are factually correct.

If there is evidence that the employer has not followed a fair procedure as outlined above, an appeal can be submitted to the employer immediately after the dismissal outcome. If the appeal fails, a claim for unfair dismissal can potentially be made in the Employment Tribunal. There are two requirements to claim: the employee must have at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer and the claim must be made within 3 months of the date of termination. The next steps to start the process would be to initiate what is known as an ‘early conciliation’ procedure through ACAS, either online by filling in the following form (, or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
ok thanks for clarifying
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this then please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be glad to help. All the best