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steve806

Unfair dismissal case - legal threat from solicitors

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Hi All

 

Can anyone advise please?

 

I am due to have my claim heard in August and today i have received a letter from my former companies lawyers stating that they believe I have no claim and that when they win they will ask the court to award costs against me of £7500.

 

They have also made an offer of £2,000 which will be withdrawn in a week if not accepted.

 

Is the threat of costs just to scare me or is there a likelyhood I could end up having to pay these costs if I lose?

 

Any help welcomed.

 

kind regards

 

Steve

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If it's an employment tribunal then costs are not usually awarded. I would also venture a guess that £7500 would be an excessive amount to claim in costs. Anyway, if they're offering you £2000 when they're so confident of winning then clearly they're either full of **** or so vastly dumb they shouldn't be allowed to breathe the same air as the rest of us.

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This is a difficult one....

 

To some extent this is a try on. Yes, just possibly if they could persuade the ET that you have no case at all or are just seeking to cause your former employers trouble then on a bad day they just might get awarded something like this amount. I don't think it happens often.

 

Equally most ET awards are quite small, not like the few that grab the headlines. You also would need to show that you have made all reasonable steps to mitigate your losses.

 

Only you know what your would settle for (have you taken advice?). If they are offering £2K now I'm sure they would pay a bit more to have the matter settled. Also it must be worth something to you to close the matter and move on.

 

Your call......


PLEASE NOTE:

 

I limit myself to responding to threads where I feel I have enough knowledge to make a useful contribution. My advice (and indeed any advice on this type of forum) should only be seen as a pointer to something you may wish to investigate further. Never act on any forum advice without confirmation from an accountable source.

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Thanks to the 2 replies so far.

 

If it is helpful to people who could give advice the value of the claim is £27,000 - this being the loss of wages from dismissal date to tribunal date minus any benefits I have received in this period (which ACAS advise is the calculation for unfair dismissal cases).

 

I am confident I have a case and confident that I have taken all steps to mitigate losses. However, with the current economic climate I have been unemployed for 7 months despite my best efforts to find another job.

 

There is part of me that wants to close this matter and move on but the current offer makes me more inclined to continue to the tribunal.

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As you say Uncertain, when it does happen that they are awarded costs, it would generally be for cases where they could prove the motives were malicious or for similar reasons where the claimant would know the claims were unfounded. Generally speaking an ET will recognise the right to pursue a claim if you show a genuine belief you've been treated unfairly. And they also understand the company's responsibility to be insured against such claims.

 

What I should've pointed out in my original response is that some large company's may well have a standard settlement process which may not necessarily be reflective to the validity of your claim. If you do decide to take the settlement you'll have to take legal advice anyway, although they may well only advise you on the contents of the compromise agreement rather than whether you should accept it or not based on your claim.

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thanks for the opinion flipper79.

 

I will not be accepting this settlement offer. I have done a great deal of reading in the last hour and discovered amongst other articles a report by the CAB describing how 'threatening legal letters advising they will seek costs and then offering a derisory sum to settle' have become standard practice for employment solicitors a few weeks before the tribunal and despite having little chance of becoming a reality (the % of cases where costs are awarded has been consistently less than 1% for the last 10 years) they have proved successful in scaring off many claimants.

 

I am confident enough in my claim to go to tribunal but of course there is a figure I would consider settling for to avoid further hassle/risk and move on with my life but £2000 is not that figure.

 

Out of interest does anyone have an opinion on what the figure they would accept is against a claim of £27000?

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DO NOT be intimidated by this letter, infact use it to your avantage and send it to the tribunal telling them that you feel harassed by their tactics.[or present it to the tribunal on the day and surprise your ex employers]

 

It is a tactic used by all employment law solicitors,the chances of a tribunal awarding a costs order against you are less than 1%. speak to ACAS and they will confirm this figure......i repeat do not be intimidated chances are they will increase their offer nearer the tribunal date so be prepared for this ,and have a figure in mind if you do decide to settle on the day of the tribunal.

 

I would be looking at a figure that would be closer to paying off my mortgage otherwise go for a fight in court as at the end of the day if you loose you can always put i down to an expriance that cost you £2000 [people pay this much for a college course in employment law].

 

Feel free to PM me if you need any further advice.

 

best of luck..

Edited by madari

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thanks for the opinion flipper79.

 

I will not be accepting this settlement offer. I have done a great deal of reading in the last hour and discovered amongst other articles a report by the CAB describing how 'threatening legal letters advising they will seek costs and then offering a derisory sum to settle' have become standard practice for employment solicitors a few weeks before the tribunal and despite having little chance of becoming a reality (the % of cases where costs are awarded has been consistently less than 1% for the last 10 years) they have proved successful in scaring off many claimants.

 

I am confident enough in my claim to go to tribunal but of course there is a figure I would consider settling for to avoid further hassle/risk and move on with my life but £2000 is not that figure.

 

Out of interest does anyone have an opinion on what the figure they would accept is against a claim of £27000?

 

 

I followed a similar route to you and shortly before i was due to go into the hearing their solicitor knocked on the door to offer a settlement. Tribunals are funny and dont always go as you expect, however if you are confidant in your case ask them to make an offer that reflects the serious nature of the case and not a derisory figure.

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[or present it to the tribunal on the day and surprise your ex employers]

.

 

The advice in madari's post is sound, but please do not try relying on documents that have not been disclosed to the other party in advance of the hearing.

 

You run the (quite likely) risk of the documents being in-admissible.

 

And in any event, why stoop to their underhand litigation tactics, as this may well back-fire

 

Che


...................................................................... [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Please post on a thread before sending a PM. My opinion's are not expressed as agent or representative of The Consumer Action Group. Always seek professional advice from a qualified legal adviser before acting. If I have helped you please feel free to click on the black star.[/FONT] [FONT=Comic Sans MS] I am sorry that work means I don't get into the Employment Forum as often as I would like these days, but nonetheless I'll try to pop in when I can.[/FONT] [FONT=Arial Black][FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=Red]'Venceremos' :wink:[/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT]

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Hi All

 

Can anyone advice if my ex company could legally make the change described below without consultation?

 

Within the company jobs were graded:

 

  • grade 1 - administrators
  • grade 2 - first level manager
  • grade 3 - senior manager/specialist
  • grade 4 - Head of Department (HOD)
  • grade 5 - directors

The department I worked in restructured (RS) the grade 3 roles. Pre RS seven grade 3 roles all reported into HOD.

 

Three roles were common and the other four were unique.

 

The RS reduced the grade 3 roles from 7 to 4. This was acheived by:

  • reducing three roles from grade 3 to grade 2 (staff placed at risk and had to apply for these jobs)
  • making one grade 3 role redundant (incumbent allowed to apply for new grade 2 and grade 3 roles)
  • creating 2 new grade 3 roles
  • not filling the vacancy created by one of the new roles being awarded to a grade 3 that held another role (effectively making another role redundant)

A consultation period of 28 days was held. I was not involved in this - I was simply told my role was not affected.

 

When the consultation ended I was told I would now report into one of the new grade 3 roles.

 

Therefore, after RS department now had 4 grade 3 roles. Three of which reported to HOD and one (me) who reported to someone of the same grade.

 

My questions are: Can the company legally do this without any form of consultation? And is this effectively a demotion without consultation?

 

Incidently, 16 days after restructure completed company directors decided that due to poor sales (sales had been poor for 3 months - so prior to RS) they would consider redundancies. 2 months later I was made redundant (HOD decided my role was a luxury they could no longer afford). How many other grade 3 managers in my department do you think they made redundant????? You guessed it - none.

 

Any view would be gratefully received.

 

regards to all

Steve

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Hi All

 

A lot of people seem to have viewed my post but no one has been able to offer advice.

 

In case my post was too much waffle and not explained properly the question boils down to:

 

Can my employer change my reporting line as a result of a restructure I was not involved in without any form of consultation?

 

Really would appreciate any advice anyone can give.

 

regards

 

Steve

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Hi All

 

A lot of people seem to have viewed my post but no one has been able to offer advice.

 

In case my post was too much waffle and not explained properly the question boils down to:

 

Can my employer change my reporting line as a result of a restructure I was not involved in without any form of consultation?

 

Really would appreciate any advice anyone can give.

 

regards

 

Steve

 

Yes.

 

They can require that you report to a cleaner if they like - unless your contract includes the reporting line.

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Hi All

 

I am due at tribunal end of August and working on my argument.

 

After reading through all the papers I have requested from ex company I note many inconsistencies.

 

Two examples would be:

 

1. In responses to both my appeal against redundancy and my ET1 my ex company have stated that my new boss was not aware of a redundancies announcement until the day it was announced. However, I have the transcript of the interview conducted to answer my appeal and boss states he did know prior to announcement (cannot recall when told but was told before announcement).

 

2. I have argued I was encouraged to speed up/complete/stop/transfer projects over a 3 month period to engineer my redundancy. Responses have given numerous different reasons for speed up/stop etc:

  • clearing space for new projects
  • HOD concerned I was taking to long to do work and asked new boss to investigate
  • New boss was concerned I was taking too long to do work and told HOD they were going to investigate
  • Work was removed to clear space to work on joint projects with sister company
  • Work was removed as sister company would take it over projects
  • etc etc - there are more

My point is, is stuff like this important in my argument in building up a picture of incompetence, dishonesty etc or will a judge not be interested.

 

Any thought welcome.

 

regards to all

 

Steve

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Guest Old_andrew2018

Bump

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Hi All

 

i was made redundant on the basis my role was unique and the work was stopping.

 

However, I have evidence that my work did not stop but was simply spread amongst 3 other people.

 

Also, as my role was unique i was told there was no requirement for a selection pool. In my department there were 6 unique roles and I have the transferable skills to do any of those 6 jobs. Should there not have been a selection pool on that basis?

 

Also, I have not been given any analysis of why my unique role and not one of the others other than boss saying your role is a 'luxury' and the work is stopping. I did ask for an analysis.

 

Any thoughts welcomed.

 

regards

 

Steve

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However, I have evidence that my work did not stop but was simply spread amongst 3 other people.

 

This could still be a genuine red situation within the meaning of s.139 ERA - an employer is entitled to re-organise the workforce and if that means that their need for your role ceased or diminshed then this can = red.

 

Also, as my role was unique i was told there was no requirement for a selection pool.

 

This is true if your role really was unique.

 

In my department there were 6 unique roles and I have the transferable skills to do any of those 6 jobs. Should there not have been a selection pool on that basis?

 

Bumping is possible - how long had you worked there, and what was the respective lengths of service of the other 6 employees?

 

Che


...................................................................... [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Please post on a thread before sending a PM. My opinion's are not expressed as agent or representative of The Consumer Action Group. Always seek professional advice from a qualified legal adviser before acting. If I have helped you please feel free to click on the black star.[/FONT] [FONT=Comic Sans MS] I am sorry that work means I don't get into the Employment Forum as often as I would like these days, but nonetheless I'll try to pop in when I can.[/FONT] [FONT=Arial Black][FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=Red]'Venceremos' :wink:[/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT]

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Thanks for your response elche.

 

I had been employed by the company for 19 months at this time.

 

Most of those in the other 6 unique roles had been with company longer than me, however, 3 of those roles were created in a restructure that was completed 16 days prior to my selection for risk of redundancy and awarded to staff whose roles were made redundant in that restructure and replaced with new roles. At time of this restructure I expressed my concern that these roles showed crossover to mine and could put my role at risk in the future. Little did i know just how quickly this would happen.

 

NOTE: At time of this restructure I was told my role was safe and therefore not placed at risk in restructure.

 

Also, when questioning why i was chosen for redundancy i was advised my role was 'a luxury' and that some of my work was stopping and the rest would be redeployed. I have evidence the work they told me would stop did not and this work along with the redeployed work was given to the 3 new roles created in restructure.

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