The Weekly Gripe

FEATURES

Gripes the News
Gripes in the pipes
The Soapbox

Employment law and unfair dismissal

36 comments  Add a comment

My contract with the company I was working for was terminated just over three weeks ago.  Today I received a letter informing me that I would receive pay for my notice period of one week.  This was a grand total of £250.  Underneath this the statement said holidays payments would be deducted ( -5.26 days which comes to £442).   It then went on to say that I owed them and have an employee debt of £192!!!  WHAT?  How the hell did that happen?  Since when was five days days holiday worth more than 5 days working?  Does this make any sense to anyone?

they simply terminated my employment...

The notice payment wasn't the only issue I had.  I decided to speak to ACAS to report them for unfair dismissal because they simply terminated my employment one cold wet Friday morning and I wasn't given any opportunity to appeal.  At the time I just packed up my desk and walked away thinking they can do that.  However, someone at the job centre said to me that they can't do that with out a series of written and verbal warnings.  As an employee I had rights (or so they thought).

Employment law regarding unfair dismissal Anyway, I had a chat with ACAS about my situation and it really opened my eyes about a few things.  For example, if you work for a company, any company for less than a year they can get rid of you and you won't have the same rights in an unfair dismissal claim as someone who had been there a few months longer.  Now how bad is that.. seriously?  As far as my job goes, I had a 3 month probational period and did very well during that and after.  I had absolutely no problems with my employer and they seemed happy with my work.  Two weeks short of that year though and I'm out on my ear!!

It's not just a tough for those of you out there looking for work, it's even tougher now trying to stay in a job without your employer taking advantage of the system.  Current employment law is not fair on workers at all!  "For unfair dismissal claims, an employee must have one year's continuous service." - twelve months is a very long time!


Leave a comment

   

witsend

Guys a final piece of advice and I’ll leave you alone.

If you work for a small company that intends to make you redundant, the chances are they do not have a proper HR department.

Most companies lose at a tribunal based on technicalities, e.g. they cannot produce the proper process aligned to employment law for the actions they take.

A slick solicitor will probably first ask for a copy of the company’s policy on handling redundancies or dismissal. If the company cannot produce one, they have lost the case.

If they do produce one and any part of it is not aligned to current law they lose the case.

Even the largest of companies who employ legal and HR departments are losing cases because they neglected a small part of the legal requirements.

So do not be afraid to take your employer to tribunal around 70% are being lost at the moment by the employer.

Most employers will settle out of court usually within days of the hearing. They will initially hope that you drop the case and as the hearing date arrives they will tend to settle.

Remember you cannot produce a document written after the redundancy, they have to produce documented and dated evidence that is beyond repudiation.

Otherwise they lose the case.
17th Dec 13 01:12

!

-7

witsend

sorry the one below was a response to dazel
17th Dec 13 01:12

!

-6

witsend

Yours is slightly different.

Ok, firstly yes any employers can lay people off if times are hard, but they must give redundancy unless the company is declared bankrupt, in which case you may not get any money at all.

However to make someone redundant is not straight forward, because they must make the position redundant not the person.

Let say you’re a newspaper boy working full time, and the other 4 employees are also paperboys. The employer wanting to reduce staff must put all 5 newspaper boys at risk and because the number is less than 100 people, they give you a 30 day consultation period. (Its 3 months for over 100 people).

In that 30 days they should interview you all and explain why the redundancies are happening and what the selection criteria will be to mark each individual so they can make a decision as to who to keep and who will go.

The criteria will include time keeping, work quality, sickness etc. but should not include who gets paid more or indeed who has been there the longest. Nor should it cover race, colour, religion, sex, and so on (age is not currently under this yet). There is also special conditions for any employee within 2 years of pension.

At the start of the 30 days everyone at risk should get a letter telling them so, and detailing the activities that will follow.

You should have one or more interviews usually chaired by your manager and HR plus some companies put an independent manager in to ensure fairness.

At the end of the 30 days they can announce the candidates to leave.

If you are marked to leave then this is normally done in a private meeting where they should explain why you were selected but generally it doesn’t matter once you’re picked you won’t hear much of what is said. Therefore you should also received a document explaining why and also explaining all your rights. This is the current law and is not negotiable.

As said in another post you should get redundancy and details of it should be presented in that final meeting.

You have a right to appeal. You can do this once you have left and in writing.

If they do not follow this process then you have a right to go to a tribunal.

Finally if you are the only one in your job, e.g. they have only one paper boy, they can say we are making the role of paper boy redundant without a 30 day consultation, however they must make every effort to find you a new job in the company (or group of companies) before releasing you.

In all cases you can and should appeal.

One final point make sure you keep all legal documents, letters and even emails between you. If there is any inaccuracies or your rights have been breached you can take them to a tribunal. You have up to 5 years from termination to do this but check the law on the web as it changes sometimes.
17th Dec 13 01:12

!

-8

witsend

Hi lisads

Yes they can.

If your husband walked out he was effectively in breach of contract.

I'll try to explain, when you start a job your employer under European law is required to give you a contract and terms of reference within 30 days.

This contract signed by both parties is a legal obligation between your both.

If the employer was to change any part of the contract without the approval of the employee, then they would be libel for action in a tribunal. It's called constructive dismissal.

The same is true of your husband, by walking out he effectively broke the contract agreement terms and as such your company could take him to a tribunal for recompense – such as loss of earnings if he was key to business profits in some way.

As everyone working for a company is key to profits in some way (even the cleaners) it can be argued his actions may have lost the Company money.

It's a shame he didn't say he was going home because he felt sick and walked out.

Therefore unless his company agree to over look his actions there is nothing he can do and what's more the company only needs to pay him for up to the exact minute before he left.

You could check with a solicitor to see if anything could be done.


My interpretation of this matter is that your husband was probably being given work to drive him out because the managers/owner had a particular problem with him. Its not always down to personalities or how good someone is at their job. It could be salary or other benefits.

However unless you can prove he was being victimised in some way and this accounted for his actions there is not much that he can do.
17th Dec 13 01:12

!

-7

witsend

KKK

Yes, your company effectively gave you notice (assuming its 30 days) plus a further 30 days of their intent to terminate your contract.

Any company can do this because your contract would be 30 days notification by either party. For example if you didn’t like your job you could give them 30 days notice and leave, well guess what they can do the same.

Where it gets tricky is the reasons for terminating. For example if they terminate because they can no longer afford you then redundancy kicks in. This involves additional payments which are statutory e.g. for every year you spend with them you get a weeks pay above your notice period pay.

The amount you get depends on your age, salary and how long you were with the company. Check out the Government web site for more info.

So if you’ve been with them for 20 years you can (under redundancy terms) get 1 months pay plus 20 times your weekly salary up to a maximum 450 pounds per week.

However its sounds as if your company didn’t like the contracts that they had in place with existing employees. This becomes a bit more complex.

What should happen is the company enters into a consultation with employees to explain the circumstances and try to get agreement to a change of contract with all employees. If this isn’t successful they can then make you all redundant but offer you new jobs with a different contract. You can either then accept the new jobs or take redundancy and the payment.

If this didn’t happen you may need legal advice, and in fact any change of contract the company makes it is obliged to support its work force in a number of ways and this includes paying for independent legal advice from a solicitor of your choosing.


So I would check this out.
17th Dec 13 01:12

!

-5

Thomas

xkirkyz, A word of advice, make sure you are irreplaceable in the company before trying the old "I'm thinking of moving" trick to get a pay rise. And if that wasn't the reason, it's not a good tactic telling them your intentions because it shows that you are not loyal to the firm.
16th Dec 13 05:12

!

9

xkirkyx

I've worked with my company the last 4year. I told them I was thinking of moving away in March.i did not confirm I was and didn't give any form of notce.I told them Id decided not to move .But because I've decided not to move they've sacked me for not moving.
16th Dec 13 04:12

!

2

KKK

Hi , I have been working for this company, for 20 yrs , some employees , that have a few years with the company 10 , 12, and 8 yrs , we all got a letter statting are we have 8 weeks left, then you are dimissed from your job , BUT you are to be rehired the next day , and start , new again as a new employee , and this just happend 4 of us had to sign a letter stating , are start day , i just lost out of 20 yrs with the company, and start fresh again , CAN THEY DO THIS ?
30th Nov 12 10:11

!

-3

dazel

I have been here 14 yrs and there's a total of 4 employees that got hired after i did now there's a rumor that i may be laid off due to financial hardship,but why me i have been here a long,i think its because i'am the second to get pay the highest,but yet everyone else has been here like atleast 2 to 3 three yrs long only is that legal?
7th Jul 12 01:07

!

-3

lisads

My husband walked out of his job last week as he felt he was being treated diiferently to other employees and being given the more difficult tasks on a daily basis. He rang the company 2 days later to apologise and ask where he stood in regards to his job. He was told by the owner of the company that as he had walked out, he didnt have a job to go back to. Can they do this? Surely they should try and resolve his grievances...he has an exemplary work record with no warnings and no-one has ever said they are unhappy with his work??
19th Sep 11 04:09

!

-26

GRoo

I'm in the same position, continually harrased at work and told to leave, and this started after I refused to sleep with the person! Yet been there 9months so have no rights! It makes me sick! This law NEEDS to change! Causing so much unhappiness to people!
3rd May 11 01:05

!

-23

vexin

@ gobacktoschool
For such an educated person such as your self, you sure are ignorant and arrogant. Ever heard of a condition called dyslexia? well its what some people suffer causing them to suffer at school, not all people who can't spell correctly or use grammar are people who just "trashed" their school time. you know some people have learning difficulties. So with all your knowledge and wisdom, why dont you do somthing usful instead of "trashing" people on the internet and being an internet tough guy.

oh and I wish cancer upon you
/peace
11th Mar 11 06:03

!

-16

Tinker

What can you say? the Govt is in the pockets of the employers, hoe else can you explain the move to increase the period to 2 years?
Government ministers have a short career so they keep open all the channels to business and do favours when asked so they gain a better chance of getting a proper job when the gravy train hits the buffers
4th Feb 11 02:02

!

-34

John

Agreed its not very good employee rights should start from day one after all the employers rights do. Having said that I guess studying the contract before hand helps. I was in the same situation fortunately my contract stated a much longer notice period I checked it before I signed it. Having said that there are alot of companies that employ people and get rid of them just before the 12 month watershed its cheaper than employing contract staff when you can hire people on permanent rates which are much lower.
15th Dec 10 10:12

!

-7

MR BEAN

Employers dont have to get rid of you they can do it a sneakey way and torment you with diciplinary procedures eg viola cleaning company.Previously onyx uk the manargers are arrogant abusive if you retaliate they got the diciplinary proccedure to fall back on they also treat contractors agency staff like s......t
18th Sep 10 01:09

!

3

MikeP

What is 'snide and stupid' about suggesting that someone takes the trouble to get at least a basic education?
6th Aug 10 03:08

!

-9

Nana

@ GoBackToSchool

Keep your snide, stupid comments to yourself!

Good luck to everyone else seeking work in this devastating economic climate.
6th Aug 10 03:08

!

-17

helen

Could we do anything about the campaign "Everyone should have the right to claim for unfair dismissal'? I was dismissed too 20 days short of one year service without any warning and consultation.
21st Jun 10 10:06

!

-8

Pam

My god does this sound so familiar. I live in VA. Virginia is an at will state meaning you have no rights, they can fire you for no reason at all and get away with it. I was fired too not for being a bad employee either. Face it employers are not what they used to be. Why you ask? It's because people in charge have no real degrees anymore or people skills. Management is just a bunch of people with titles. I think Obama needs to change the employment laws giving employees much more rights and you would see a lot more of us working. My last job I decided since I did not like it I walked out no notice, why bother since they treated the ones that gave notice terrible. It felt good to walk out too. Good luck to all you who are unemployed and may you find a better job that praises you not cuts down your work ethic as they did me.
3rd Jun 10 02:06

!

-9

pete

I `ve been dismissed coz I couldnt come to work on my days off !! while looking after my 10months old baby , my wife work full time too, I worked 8 months , bloody hard too , but still , isn`t full year is it ?! so there is nothing I can do ...LAW what LAW its all bollocks..The other thing, in work relatead tribunals if you win the case you dont get expenses back ?? two visits in solicitors will cost you around 500£ , if will get to the court you ,may pay around 4500 £ for the whole thing so what is the point ?? not many people have that kind of "spare" cash no wonder why a lot of people are not going that route and employers getting away with murder is not fair ...maybe Mr.Cameron will change something ,its just about the time...
19th May 10 10:05

!

0

Employer1

I would like to ask the people here a question. At what point/time frame would be acceptable to have the same rights as a member of staff who has worked there a year. 1 day, 1 week, 1 month. The point of the year law is not that a person can be dismissed without cause, the employer will still have to bel able to provide evidence of a complaint/misconduct/poor performance on request from ACAS. All UK employment firms are also subject to external audit. This means that while you may not be aware of the reason for termination there will ALWAYS be a valid one. Now while this may be something as simple as the company (regardless of size) is over established in their full time equalivant hours in the case of any form of misconduct there will be a written complaint on file.

To Sassi - while 11 of your colleagues have stated their support for you to your face can you be totally sure the comments they made to management are equally as supportive.

I manage 160 staff across 3 shifts. And can state with total honesty that what they say to each other is the pola opposite of what they say to me about each other.
27th Apr 10 07:04

!

-14

GoBacktoSchool

You were sacked because you are illiterate and probably ignorant too. Use your time off to improve yourself. Learn to read and write (right or rite..to you).

You have trashed your years at school no doubt being a lazy smart alec and now you are learning, belatedly how foolish that was.

If you can actually read this, go back to school!
13th Apr 10 02:04

!

-15

steff91

hi my employer sacked me for being late I have never had any warnings before so how is he in the write im not on trial eiether but have been workin with them for a year why is there a year rule wats the point of havin a trial if an employer can still sack you the goverment go on about people not working you cant really blame them wen ure neva guna be in the rite because of that year rule
13th Apr 10 02:04

!

-14

kes

I agree there should be more protection, all was well for me for the first eight months, then the bullying started my manager told me I would be the most hated person in the office, I was then blamed for an engineer ringing into work stating he was sick, I passed the message on, then got an email from her stating they should ask for management she only sits across the room from me, surley the engineer should have asked for the manager. At the end of the week I got suspended for gross misconduct, I am a timid person and have cried lots over this & has affected my health. cannot name everything that I have been bullyed for even keeping my head down I still get humiliated. I have now put in a grievance but wont stand a chance because of my lengh of service. THIS IS WRONG I am a female living on my own with a mortgage so the stress is awful. Engineers are supporting me & have offered to back me up. There is a lot of sickness in the company which makes my job impossible to fulfill because of the lack of staff
8th Feb 10 09:02

!

-1

Sassi

I've just been dismissed from my job like this too (29th Jan). I've had appraisals leading up to this date saying how well I've been doing and on a regular basis been praised for my work. Just the same as you, on the Friday at 4.15pm I was taken into the boardroom and told I was being dismissed for my 'inability to interact with my colleagues'. I have 11 emails from the said 13 colleagues displaying their upset and disgust that this happened. I wrote an appeal to the employer, but was refused, in spite of my evidence.
I too approached ACAS and the CAB to be told that because in the eyes of the law I was 3 days off my 12 months of service there's nothing I can do about it.
I have started a campaign on facebook to give employees who have served under 12 month rights as well, not sure how far I'll get but I'm going to give it a fair go. I feel that if you can prove that you have been unfairly dismissed you should be able to do something about it...particularly with the climate the way it is. If you're on facebook and wish to join the campaign, it is titled "Everyone should have the right to claim for unfair dismissal'.
8th Feb 10 05:02

!

-6

AK47

Some of these comments are a joke. Employees have far more rights than they did a few years ago and to the person who claims the UK is going downhill, feel free to go live in another country. It really isn't that difficult.

As both an employer and an employee, I find my loyalties divided on this subject. I sympathise with the initial poster of this thread because if you are indeed an honest, trustworthy and hard-working individual there is no reason you should be dismissed. Unfortunately there are a small pocket of companies and employers who abuse this rule. Take the positives: if you have all the above qualities you will have no problem finding another job.

I've found this rule to be very useful dismissing new employees who let you down and simply don't follow the rules. Those who have been dismissed in this regard have no excuses as far as I'm concerned.
6th Nov 09 03:11

!

-14

Kensa in London

My employer has dismissed me for no good reason three weeks before the 12 months were up! I have only just had a pay rise. How is this fair? Can I appeal this??
8th Aug 09 07:08

!

-4

kodkod.84

andrewthornton

The Andrew Thornton from Suffolk?? If it is this is Liam.
14th May 09 10:05

!

-1

Is UK the Third World? Or Just

If this was France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium etc. etc. you would have vastly more rights. As it is you have little more rights in this country as a indigenous person and very probably much less than an illegal immigrant. Face it your employers here are little more than gangmasters exploiting every little loophole in the law. You're nothing but a coolie nowadays when it comes to employment. Remember the days of indentured labour [it still operates in the USA].

Remember the casual labour employment system in the dock. The pay was low and a docker could never get a steady income under the casual system that was operated. Men would turn up each morning at the docks in the hope of work and wait in one of the many stands along the docks, waiting for the foreman or chargehand to arrive. The foreman would then select the men he wanted and offer them a minimum of half a day’s work. The foremen would often have their favourite workers, to whom they would offer more work.

Employees do not have enough rights. Small businesses struggling and who cannot afford to pay proper wages should go under. If you want to hire other people pay them a living wage and offer them proper conditions.
14th May 09 08:05

!

0

andrewthornton

Employees have enough rights, where do people think employers can get money to pay redundancy as it is? A small business struggling doesn't have any money, it can't be just summoned up out of thin air. Employees need to get real.
14th May 09 02:05

!

0

Nikki

Before the first year of employment is up, you can be sacked from your job, you have no rights of employment at all.

Except under the DDA - Disability Discrimination Act. If, say, you can prove that you have a qualifying disability and that the sacking was discriminatory under the DDA, then you will have a case of Disability Discrimination. You do not have to be registered disabled to qualify, nor do you have to be receiving Disability Living Allowance. I was sacked from a job because of an accident I had, and I qualified for disability discrimination simply because I was temporarily disabled due to the accident.
13th May 09 08:05

!

0

An Employee

I would simply ignore the "employee debt" as there is no chance in hell they can legally pursue it. Put them down to experience and tell everyone you know never to work for them or buy their products/services. If they treat employees like this, God knows how they treat customers!
13th May 09 08:05

!

0

Swindonian

I feel sorry for you, and the last posters sum it up very well. Only possible things I can think of are adjustments for NI, taxes, or some other expense. This shouldn't happen but you never know with some company's creative accounting. I would certainly ask for a detailed breakdown of the costs.

However, I'm on the flip side of the coin saddled with the same laws. I want to get rid of somebody because they are a waste of space but I can't because they haven't done anything specifically wrong to warrant verbal or written warnings. They are just incapable of doing their job properly. And it's not a job where targets and deadlines can be met, it's simply IT support for a 35 person company. It's not hard to do (I did it part time for 5 years when we were 25 strong but was moved into management, so we stupidly employed this cretin to do IT).

Oh, one other thing in case they try it on you, if they dismiss YOU then THEY cannot claim any money back from THEM sending YOU on a training course. (Conversely, if you left of your own accord then the company usually has a right to claim back any training expenses for recent training)
12th May 09 08:05

!

0

Will

I had exactly the same problem as the poster. And it was very scary that one year rule (3 more months to go!) I also agree with the two other comments. My personal opinion is this, this country has died, the last one out is a rotten egg!!

It's not even that though, you have NO RIGHTS if you have been working for a company for less than a year NONE AT ALL.
12th May 09 07:05

!

0

There is no Fairtrade in UK

"I would receive pay for my notice period of one week."

They have timed this very, very carefully.

Presumably up to this moment you have already received all the pay you were due, for all the weeks you have already served?

They are getting rid of you with one week's notice. Cheap!

£250 was your weekly pay, wasn't it?

The holiday year ran from January to January didn't it?

You have already taken more holiday than you have accumulated in 2009? You owe -5.26 days which comes to £442???

-5.26 days @ £250 per week [5 working days] = -£260

Their arithmetic is seriously wrong. Get them to spell it out literally in detail. HR representatives are as thick as sheite!

You are victim of the employment law in this country, which stinks! It stinks to high heaven. Our MPs and laws are a complete waste of space.
12th May 09 06:05

!

0

bo

They can't CHARGE you for holiday pay!! Go to the CAB again and sort 'em out. Bloody leeches!
12th May 09 06:05

!

0

FEATURES

Gripes the News
Gripes in the pipes
The Soapbox
spinner