Marc Gander - The Consumer Survival Handbook


A 220 page introduction to all things consumer related by our own BankFodder.

Includes energy companies, mobile phone providers, retailers, banks, insurance companies,debt collection agencies, reclaim companies, secondhand car sellers, cowboy garages, cowboy builders and all the rest who put their own profits before you.

£6.99



Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

£19.99 + £1.50 (P&P)


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  1. #1
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    Default Harrassment? Injury?

    Hi.

    Quick points about my work...

    I'm a service engineer. Based in the South West (Bristol Area.) I'm part of a larger team, with engineers in most areas of the UK.

    Last year, I was injured at work. (Dislocated cervical vertebrae).

    After treatment, I returned to work (June 2017). My GP stipulated that I should not drive more than 200 miles per day. This seemed fair and reasonable. I'm near Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, etc., and all these fall well within the radius of the agreement.

    In a formal meeting with the head of HR, my work agreed this, so I returned to work.

    However, mysteriously, my calls started being extended to well over 300 miles per day. Having gone back my diary, roughly 60% of my calls are now over 200 miles - much nearer 300 in fact.

    The type of work I am being used for has now changed. I am being used "instead" of engineers in Southampton, Plymouth, Reading, etc.

    When I've complained to both my line managers and HR, they've said that they are abiding by the 200 miles ruling, despite my evidence to the contrary.

    I've raised a formal grievance. And, to be frank, their excuses and responses are downright lies.

    They claim that I am being sent to places like Portsmouth, despite other engineers being closer, because they are more qualified. This is a outright lie, as I am by and far the most experienced and formally qualified engineer they have.

    When I say that the tasks assigned to me are outwith my job description, again they blatantly lie.

    After the meeting, they demanded that I attend their company doctor for "evaluation."

    This I've just done, and he broadly agrees with me / my doctor. That:

    My neck injury means my driving should be curtailed. He is a little unsure where the "200 miles" per day came from, but he agrees my neck is damaged (I can't remember what he called it) and has said my employer should be held liable for treatment and physiotherapy over it.

    That, having discussed my job description with both my employer and myself, that the tasks assigned to me fall outwith those roles, and that I should NOT be doing them.

    It would appear that my employer is ignoring these recommendations as I've just received next week's rota, and I'm tasked long distances and these same tasks again.

    What are my options?

    Is this harassment? Industrial injury? etc???

    Many thanks.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    are you in the union?

    have you put in an insurance claim for your injury?

    has the doctor given an opinion on whether your condition is likely to be a disability under the equality act? That's what triggers reasonable adjustments, nothing else

    Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    Hi.

    Yes, I'm in the union. I've emailed them, etc., but you know what email is like, so I thought I'd post here.

    The prognosis is permanent in the sense if I continue to drive 300+a day, my neck will become a permanent disability.

    Cheers


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    The magic words you need fmo a doctor are "highly likely to be covered by the equality act." "likely to become a disability" won't do it. It has to be a disability right now.

    Until you get that, they can ask what they like

    As soon as you do you can start insititing on "reasonable adjustments"

    Right now it sounds like you have few legal rights

    Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    I understand the likelihood on the grounds of "disability" is low, but to be honest, I am not really looking for that.

    What I am more concerned about is that they've changed my terms and conditions, by making me drive far more than I used to, (Particularly after agreeing to the limit.) and have changed the "what" I do when I get there.

    To be frank, it won't be long until I'm paralyzed down one side again, most likely 150 miles from home.

    Thanks again.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    are they paying your travel time?

    what does your contract say about travel? please quote the exact wording.

    honestly I'd be switching job; if the injury risk is as drmatic as you say it's just not worth it. The price of a moral stance shouldn't be permanant injury. No one will look out for you, but you.

    Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    You Say that your gp stated SHOULD NOT drive in excess of 200 miles.
    It should of said MUST NOT.
    Yu agreed to go back but this temp arrangement is just that. Temp.

    You need to be careful that they dont call you in and start proceedings under capability issues and get rid of you.
    Sometimes its bettr to Sta off sick


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    This'll bore you - The exact wording of my job description is:


    - Customer Face to Face deskside support
    - Remote deskside support
    - Ticket Management
    - Laptop\desktop builds
    - Customer training\education
    - Documentation
    - Good Analytic/Troubleshooting Skills
    - Hardware support
    You already...

    - Strong working knowledge of MS Windows Operating Systems and Apple Mac
    - Corporate windows environment (Min 3 years)
    - MS Office\Outlook\Exchange experience
    - Active Directory exposure
    - Good understanding of printers\MFP devices
    - Networking fundamentals
    - Good Communication Skills Verbal and Written
    - Good at working under pressure
    What we offer:
    -A secure job in an exponentially growing international company.
    -Exciting projects in your own responsibility with diverse challenges.
    -Wonderful team spirit and a great working atmosphere in a friendly team.
    -Direct and open communication.
    -Very good opportunities for professional and personal further development thanks to our Human Resources development programme.
    -Room for your own ideas and suggestions for improvement as well as their quick implementation due to brief decisions making processes.
    -Many more advantages to make your working hours and breaks more enjoyable.

    _________________________ _____

    There is no specific mention of travel. It is worked as part of your day, You might go to site A, then, B, then C, etc.

    I'd love to leave, but I've already had to refuse a job, because I felt an employer would simply be taking on a lame duck until I get fixed up.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    Hi. Thanks fr the reply.

    The doctor simply stated "No more than 200 miles per day." Work agreed. This was six months ago, and they broke it almost immediately. It's taken this amount of time to get grievances heard, etc.

    The company doctor (Friday) said that there is not a capability issue in relation to my job description, but that they should not be asking me to do these "extra" mileages and duties which are not implicitly listed in my role.

    For instance, I am expected to drive past two or three other engineers to attend low value, crappy calls - outwith my job description. I see this as a deliberate action.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    I did not ask for your job description, rather the exact wording about travel in your contract. Please find that and repost.

    You also say you have raised a greivance and that you are unhappy with the response. What is the written outcome of the greivance please, again exact wording.

    Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    Hi.

    I have never had a contract. I was a contractor from Mar-Aug 2015, and then made permanent from then on. I got that job description to sign, and told I was to work 40 hours per week. No things like 9-5, etc., or travel rules. A hire car was delivered to allow me to do the job, and this became a full on company car in Oct 2016.

    They have not let me know the outcome of the grievance procedure yet.

    Thanks.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    Check the company handbook for guidance, or intranet. You're looking for their travel policy. And ask for a contract, you are legally entitled to one.

    Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    Hi. Thanks for the reply.

    I think the term "Legally entitled to..." is a term they are not familiar with.

    I've asked, along with clarification on other matters, and it just gets ignored. (I also forgot to tell you they refused an Occupational Health Assessment when I returned to work.)

    At present, the position is I have an appointment with my own Doctor, and I'm awaiting for the outcome of the grievance procedure. I'll engage my Union when this has been done and update here.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    Hi. Here is the "contract of Employment" they say I signed. I would point out that they can't actually supply the one I allegedly signed, but this is what they claim. I've also edited out specific points for confidentiality purposes.

    CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT

    This document forms your contract of employment in accordance with current legislation with XXXXX

    Name of Employee: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Date of commencement: 29th July 2015

    Continuous Service date: As Above

    Normal place of work: Home based

    Position title: Mobile Engineer

    The company reserves the right, upon reasonable notice, to require you to undertake any duties which fall within your capabilities or to transfer you temporarily or permanently to reasonable alternative places of work within the UK. You will not be required to work outside of the UK for a period of more than 1 month.

    1. Salary

    XXXXX


    2. Hours of Work

    Your normal working hours will be as required for the proper performance of your duties of employment but will not normally be less than 40 per week. In accordance with the Working Time Regulations, should you wish to work more than 48 hours per week, please refer to the enclosed document and opt out form.

    You may be required to work overtime and shift work as and when required for business and contract needs. If your role attracts enhanced payments for telephone standby or permanent standby this will be outlined to you by your manager.

    3. References

    This offer is subject to receipt of employment and medical references which we deem to be satisfactory. You must provide references which cover the last 3 years of employment.


    4. Background and security checks

    The Employee agrees to provide the Employer with an official document issued by the police or a governmental agency (e.g. criminal record / certificate of good conduct) in order to testify any criminal records as part of a background check. This certificate or at least the confirmation of the request should be presented to the Employer at the latest on the first working day.

    The Employee agrees to undergo further background checks (e.g. advanced security vetting), if these are or will be required for this role.

    5. Probation Period

    Your employment in this position is subject to satisfactory completion of a six month probation period. During this probationary period your employment may be terminated in accordance with notice period outlined at Section 9.

    6. Deduction from Wages

    In accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996, we may deduct money that you owe to the Company from your wages in certain circumstances such as:

    a. You leave your job without giving the required notice
    b. You leave your job and fail to return any of the Company’s equipment or have taken more annual leave entitlement than that which is entitled to you
    c. If we overpay you, you will be required to pay back the amount you were not entitled to.

    We will inform you in writing prior to any deductions being made

    7. Annual Leave Entitlement

    The annual leave year begins on 1st January and ends on 31st December. You are entitled to 28 days holiday for a complete leave year, pro rata. This figure includes your entitlement for the 8 recognised Public/Bank Holidays. Public/Bank holidays in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland will vary. Entitlements will be reduced pro rata to each calendar week of service in the year of joining and leaving the company.

    You may be required to work on a Public/Bank holiday, in which case the company will not deduct any holiday days from your holiday balance. If the company does not require you to work on a public holiday, you will be rostered for a holiday and that day will be deducted from your annual leave entitlement.

    8. Sickness and Injury

    You should familiarise yourself with the Attendance Management Procedure operated by the Company, which is non contractual.

    If you are absent due to sickness or injury, you must notify your immediate manager at least 1 hour before your start time or in any case before 09:00am on the first day of absence. Should your absence continue, it is necessary for you to keep in daily contact with your immediate manager before 09:00am each day.

    Subject to the aforementioned procedure being followed, Company sick pay will be made in accordance with the following scale to be calculated according to your length of service with the Company:

    0-6 months 1 week
    7 months to 2 years 2 weeks
    2 years + to 5 years 5 weeks
    5 years + 8 weeks

    This Company sick pay is inclusive of statutory sick pay ("SSP").
    SSP is available for up to 28 weeks of absence through sickness in any one period. If you are receiving Company sick pay, this will include any entitlement to SSP. Once your entitlement to Company sick pay has been exhausted you will continue to be entitled to statutory sick pay for up to 28 weeks of sickness absence.
    The Company reserves the right to require you to attend an Independent Occupational Health Adviser and your agreement is a condition of your employment.

    Abuse of the Attendance Management Procedure will be treated as a disciplinary offence.

    9. Retirement

    No default retirement age applies. Where you would like to commence retirement the appropriate notice of termination as detailed in section 9 should be given.

    10. Notice of Termination

    During the probationary period your entitlement to notice from the Company and the notice you will be required to give the Company, should you wish to leave, will be one week during the first four weeks of employment, then 2 weeks up to the end of your probationary period. Thereafter, your entitlement to notice from the Company is 4 weeks and the notice you are required to give the Company is 4 weeks up to 5 years service. After 5 years service you will be entitled to an additional weeks notice for each completed year of service up to a maximum of 12 weeks for 12 or more years service and you will be required to give the Company the same notice period.

    The Company or Employee may waive their right to all or part of the notice period on any occasion by mutual agreement. In the event of any gross misconduct on the part of the employee or serious breach of the terms of this agreement, the Company may terminate employment without prior notice or payment in lieu thereof without prejudiceicon to any other remedy which the Company may have in respect of any such misconduct.

    11. Company vehicle

    As agreed you will receive a company vehicle only after submitting all requested documents, you will also receive a fuel card for business mileage only.

    12. Driving Licence

    Whilst employed in this position, you are required to hold a full UK Driving Licence. Where loss of your Driving Licence renders you incapable of carrying out your duties as required, you will be redeployed where feasible or your contract of employment will be terminated under the Disciplinary Procedure.

    13. Pension Scheme

    You may be eligible to join the auto enrolment Pension Scheme. Human Resources will send you more information. Membership of the XXXXXXXXX auto enrolment Pension Scheme is strictly subject to the rules of the scheme as amended from time to time. The Company reserves the right to vary or discontinue any scheme in place from time to time.

    There is a contracting-out certificate in force under the Pension Schemes Act 1993 as amended.

    14. Special Conditions

    There is a requirement for all individuals to provide their new employer with documentation that demonstrates they are eligible to work in the United Kingdom. If you have not already provided original document(s), please bring with you original document(s) on your first day of employment. Please find details of acceptable documentation on the attached sheet. Failure to provide us with the relevant documentation may result in your contact of employment being nullified.

    15. Change of Personal Details
    If there is a change in any of your personal details including name, marital status, address and bank details, you must inform the Human Resources team in writing.


    16. confidentialicon Information
    You must not disclose to any person outside of the Company any information relating to the Company’s business affairs or trade secrets that are of a private or confidential nature. This restriction applies after the termination of employment without time limit but will cease to apply to information that may come legitimately into the public domain. Further information on this clause is contained within the Company Confidentiality, Invention and Restricted Covenants Policy.

    17. Conflict of Interest

    Restriction on other activities
    You must obtain the written consent of the Company before engaging in any activity of occupation concerned with any trade or business other than the business of the Company.

    Employing relatives
    Close relatives should not be employed in any situation where one would be responsible for managing, auditing or authorising the work of the other. This also applies to personal relationships that may develop in the work place: here the Company reserves the right to transfer one or both of the employees to suitable alternative places of work.

    Acceptance of gifts
    You should avoid acceptance of any gift of greater than £10 e.g. a diary, simple calendar, or of any entertainment or favours which go beyond common courtesies of any sort in connection with work for the Company. If an employee is approached with a gift of greater than £10, they must escalate this to their manager before acceptance.

    18. Use of Company Property

    You must not use Company property including Company mobile phones, landlines and internet for personal use unless express permission has been obtained from your manager in writing.

    19. Company Policies and Procedures

    The Company has a full range of employment policies and procedures, which are non contractual relating to a spectrum of employment related matters including a Maternity Policy, Attendance Management Policy, Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure. You must comply at all times with Company policies and Procedures as amended from time to time.

    Failure to comply with the Company’s rules, policies and procedures can lead to disciplinary action.

    20. Third Party Rights

    A person who is not party to this agreement shall have no right under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any term of this agreement. This clause does not affect any right or remedy of any person which exists or is available otherwise than pursuant to that Act.

    21. Governing Law and Jurisdiction

    This agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales
    Each party irrevocably agrees to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales over any claim or matter arising under or in connection with this agreement.

    22. General Regulations
    In accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996, we are required to inform you of the following:

    a. No collective agreements have been entered into with any trade union which affect the terms and conditions of your employment

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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    You've left your name in there. If you're quick you can edit.


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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    So, the relevant clause is this

    "Position title: Mobile Engineer

    The company reserves the right, upon reasonable notice, to require you to undertake any duties which fall within your capabilities or to transfer you temporarily or permanently to reasonable alternative places of work within the UK. You will not be required to work outside of the UK for a period of more than 1 month."

    And the unhelpful wording is "reasonable", which can only really be determined by a court. And as long as your travel is broadly included in your working hours, it'll likely be deemed ok.

    So I think your only real route is adjustments, if you are likely to be covered by the Equality Act.

    Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    Hi. Once again, thanks for the reply.

    You mention "adjustments" and that is quite interesting. In June(ish) last year, they accepted "adjustments" based on my neck injury. This was based on negotiations between my GP and the Company. He wanted much less than 200, they wanted much more. Eventually they settled on 200 miles per day. They agreed (In email correspondence, after a grievance meeting) to limit my driving to 200 miles per day. I have repeated emails from them that they've complied with this, but, clearly, they haven't.

    They have repeatedly broken this agreement / adjustment. I've just done a mileage spreadsheet, and it shows that almost 40% of the time, I am tasked well beyond 200 miles per day. As an example, this month, I've worked 14 days, and I've done 7 days over 200 miles. That's 50% of my time with this agreement being broken.

    This is part of the email sent to me on 5th of July by the Head of HR. (Hope the red works, lol.)

    "You said that we can support you by limiting the driving distance, specifically no London or South Coast. We did agree that this is possible. Please do not think that it was a “lack of common sense” on our part. At times we have emergencies or lack of a free local engineer and this has been the reason for assigning long-distance tickets to you. However, we now understand the impact this has on you and will not be assigning such tickets to you."

    I don't know if I'm being pedantic, but that - to me - seems an adjustment being agreed by them.

    Additionally, none of these tasks fall within my job description, or my previous skill set. The way I described it to their doctor was "While you're a Doctor, and a GP, that is fine. But would you be comfortable doing a retinal transplant?" That is, in technical terms, what they are doing to me.

    I've got some comms going with my Union now, and we're arranging face to face meetings. But if you feel there's anything to be said, feel free, you are certainly one smart cookie.


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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    I would focus on what is important and that is your health. I understand the kind of work is annoying, but itíll be covered under another reasonableness clause, and dislike is not a good legal test of that.

    If they have agreed the adjustment in writing, what happens if you refuse longer drives? You are somewhat complicit if you say itís ok now and then.... itís either ok or it is not.

    Was your agreement forever, or time bound while you recovered, or is t vague? Occ health referral again to seek clarity if vague.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    Hiya. Thanks for the reply.

    I see three points there, so I'll have a crack at them.

    Regarding the kind of work... Their Doctor has confirmed that the "intricate" work, as we'll call it, is physically damaging to my neck. I'll be honest. I don't know where he got that from, but I'm happy to accept that. It wasn't something I specifically asked him to put in, he just did. So, to my mind, there is a causality between my neck injury and the type of work involved and that's been verified by their own doctor.
    Also, it's not simply a "dislike" - it's an inability. I'm always trying to find a way to explain it... Imagine you are tasked with threading very small needles with incredibly fine thread (While in the front room of someone's house, while their cat tries to befriend you). Some people will be able to, others can't. I belong in the "can't" partition. As I've described it, it's like being employed to repair cars, and then being expected to repair old clock movement watches.

    I agreed the adjustment, and have repeatedly complained about the driving in excess of that adjustment. Most of the time, they ignore my complaint, and on many occasions, they've used the well known phrase "Well, you've not got a job with us then," (I would say they do that by phone, so no email audit trail.)
    How I would word a statement on it would be: "Despite making repeated and vocal complaints, to both my line manager and HR, I felt forced to do these, in fear of losing my job..."

    While there is "wiggle room" regarding the belief of the 200 mile a day ruling. I agree both sides can read it differently. And while, to me, my doctor, and now my Union Rep, the medical certificate is clear and precise, I can cope with others perhaps thinking differently.
    However, their statement about certain tickets: "You said that we can support you by limiting the driving distance, specifically no London or South Coast. We did agree that this is possible. Please do not think that it was a “lack of common sense” on our part. At times we have emergencies or lack of a free local engineer and this has been the reason for assigning long-distance tickets to you. However, we now understand the impact this has on you and will not be assigning such tickets to you." This seems as slam dunk as it could be. This was a promise / commitment made by their head of HR. By ways of intimidation, they coerced me into breaking it, and I've complained about those times.

    As to outright refusing. I did that very thing yesterday. I emailed both my line manager and HR, explaining my reasons, and quoting both my doctor and theirs about the physical damage it was causing me. I have not heard back from them. I believe I have been marked off as sick.

    Finally. As far as I am concerned, the statement a few comments ago was, and remains forever. The quote is directly from the document. I can't see any ambiguity in the statement. Unless Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Falmouth, Torquay and Plymouth have magically been transported elsewhere in the UK, their commitment has been breached numerous times.

    Thanks again.


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    Default Re: Harrassment? Injury?

    They are able to dismiss if you are physically unable to meet the requirements of the job. "I can't" would be the words.

    But, you would be able to do another job. So no ill health retiral for you.

    Fighting on both fronts would in my opinion be foolish if you wish to remain employed. But I think ultimately, if you can't travel where needed, and you can't do the jobs required, you are going to part ways. And because you could do some work, for someone else, that's not going to be with a payout.

    Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!
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