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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 77864
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have been working a year as a live in housekeeper.They

Customer Question

Hello, i have been working a year as a live in housekeeper.They havent given written contract. Always have done more than expected. One of my responsibilities is looking after two partridges. They living free in one bedroom. Once i have opened the window and forgot to close net window and one partridge flew out. My employers were on holiday for 3 weeks. It has happened on thursday, they must be back on Sunday. I have let them know and they have changed the flight immediately to hurry back. I have seen the bird outside but wasnt allowed to catch. Next day when they were back i have been asked not to go to close to main house. They have asked me to go and stay in hotel for couple of days. They have cough the bird the same day. But still have asked to stay away. It was bank holiday. Monday evening have got an email telling they apreciate everything i have done for them but got fired. I have lost the job and place to live. Is there anything i can do?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Reading
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Just have packed my staff and booked flight to go home
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.
Hello, I’m Ben, a solicitor, and it’s my pleasure to assist you. I may 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, please? I also wanted to make you aware that this is not always an instant service, due to various legal engagements I could have and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your query and will get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Since 1st April 2021
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Are they allowed to keep wild birds in the house far from normal environment?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, it is appreciated. I am now pleased to be able to provide further assistance with your query. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues brought up by this. It must be a frustrating situation to be going through.

Your question was about your job and being dismissed which is why I picked it up – I am an employment lawyer and cannot answer the query about whether they can keep the birds in the house, unfortunately. Perhaps checking with the RSPCA would be a good place to start.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

Going back to your main query, the main issue in the circumstances is the fact that you have only been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years. That means that your employment rights will be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not have legal protection against unfair dismissal. This basically means that you can be dismissed for more or less any reason, if you have done nothing wrong and without a fair procedure being followed. The only exception is that the decision is not based on a reason which makes a dismissal automatically unfair.

As mentioned, there are some exceptions to this, in which case the 2-year rule does not apply. These include situations where the dismissal was wholly, or partly, due to:

- 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/paternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave or leave for dependants

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

However, if the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions, you would not be able to challenge it due to not meeting the minimum service criteria for claiming in the Employment Tribunal. In that case your only protection would be if you were dismissed in breach of contract. That would usually happen if you were not paid any contractual notice period due to you, unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct. That is where you were guilty of something very serious which justifies immediate dismissal, without any notice pay.

In any other circumstances, you would be due a minimum notice period, as per your contract, together with and associated pay. If you did not have a written contract in place, you would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. You either have to be allowed to work that notice period and get paid as normal, or you can be paid in lieu of notice. That is when you are paid for the equivalent of the notice period but your employment is terminated immediately and you are not expected to work any further.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

I fully appreciate that this may not be the answer you were hoping for, however it is the legal position. Should you need any further clarification, I will be more than happy to discuss things further with you. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 15 days ago.

I trust that everything has now been dealt with to your satisfaction and your original question has been resolved. If you have any further queries about it, please do not hesitate to get back to me on here. In the meantime, I wish you all the best.