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merlin100

Unfair Treatment of employees....

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Hi all,

I work for a small firm (11 employees).

If any one of us takes a day off sick, we are called into the office and given a patronising lecture - all except one!

None of us are racist except possibly, the management.

We are all white English bar one Arabian Muslim.

In 3 years he has NEVER completed a full weeks work ( Time Sheets prove this).

He is NEVER critisised or chastised. Indeed, all the time he has off is greeted with abject sympathy from the 2 directors.

Now after 3 years this is starting to annoy us.

Hes actually a nice lad, we all get on well with him and he isnt really a problem - its the managements attitude thats causing a rift.

Some of the lads are now wondering if, should they be made redundant ( a looming pssibility) they could approach a Tribunal claiming unfairness due to this constant preferencial treatment of him?

He is not a "key" worker, there are only 3 of us (myself included) that are qualified to carry out the day to day business of the firm.

Even the directors are not qualified!

One written criteria in the Contract of Employment is that an employee should contact the firm at the earliest opportunity to explain their absence - he NEVER does.

 

Can anyone advise?

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just a thought, he may have an underlying illness that he has chosen to keep quiet from his colleagues?

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Have to agree with mrswestham. He may have time of also for religious reasons? As for an illness, he could be really embarassed about something he may have, so appear all normal to you, but only management know.

 

You've got to be careful as well when you say, possibly managemtn are racist. That's just opening up a can of worms that you shouldn't open unless you have facts.

 

i can see what you are on about, and understand that it's getting annoying for you, seeing as you lot get all the rollickings, and he doesn't appear too, but all I'm saying is, you have to keep an open mind and know there's two sides to every story.

 

How do you know he doesn't contact management to explain his absence? Is it a small place where you work, and everybody is in each others company all day? You never know, he may request the chance to speak with management when you're not there.

 

If there are only three of you qualified for hte day to day running of the business, and he isn't then I wouldn't be worrying about redundancies. Have you spoken to your colleague about the way it seems he's getting away with everything? If not, still remember to be careful how you say anything to him, cos he may take it the wrong way and you could have a bullying/intimidation incident hanging over you.

 

Don't mean to sound all negative, but just trying to make you see it a bit differently, that's all.

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HI mrswestham,

I doubt that very much. He is 25 years old and seems to be totally healthy.

He is always allowed time off for religious reasons even though he never completes a full weeks work anyway.

Last xmas he was given a full month off (we had 9 days of which we had to put four of our statutory holidays to) so he could go home to the Yemen.

At one end of the building is a gantry were we store stock. No-one is allowed up there except myself and another qualified employee, except our Muslim who uses the gantry to pray twice a day.

Our complaint here is not with him, but with our employers. They seem to be allowing him complete flexibility with his employment, but we have to run a gauntlet of sarcasm and abuse should we have so much as half a day off.

This culminated last Friday with me having one hell of a bust up with one of the directors. Everyone stood behind me and the directors panicked. Luckily I am in a priveliged position in that I am the one who designs, builds and programs experimental fan-assisted infra red burners that are at this moment quite revolutionary and highly efficient. And after 4 years of investment, they are now being trialed worldwide and the feedback is highly convincing - a 36% average saving on gas. Because of what has been happening over the last 3 years, I have protected my own position by not keeping notes or making drawings, other than a few sketches - in other words, if I get the push, sort the rest out yourselves!

We have a 19 years old who works with us. Hes a very nice lad, eager to learn and sensible. Last month his girlfriend went into labour and gave birth to his first child, a son. He had a week off because of this. He phoned every day as had been requested and all seemed to be well. Until he returned to work.

The directors took him upstairs and told him they were considering a final written warning, or even firing him.

He was very upset. We tried to intervene with the directors and were told to mind our own business. Fair enough. So we all got together and sent the message back that if he was fired, we all walk out, effectively leaving the business unable to operate. It didnt go down very well but it did work!!

Moral is non-existent.

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Well, that certainly does change things. To me, it sounds as if the management are allowing him the time of, and catering for his religious beliefs, which is fair enough, and he is within his rights to enquire about this. Unfortunately though, in this day and age, there are companies who are scared that if they don't, they will be accused of racism, so it seems they appear to be bending over backwards to accomadate him. If this guy is as good and friendly as you say, then he probably wouldn't even consider anything racist towards him from the management, but the management don't know this. As far as he's concerened, he's asked for the time off for his beliefs and to pray, and he's been given it, no problem.

 

I hate having to bring racism into it, but it really does still happen in the workplace, and a lot of employers are scared of being accused of it. Putting that aside, if management are treating an employee in a certain way, then I would assume that sets a precedent for every other employee. You're not asking for time off to pray, or for beliefs. You're asking for equal treatment, regarding days off, correct?

 

When you all stood together and said you'd all walk out if he was fired, maybe you should do that again, this time, with a letter with your concerns in it? It's obvious you have no problem with your colleague having the time off to pray and his beliefs. You could bring up the point about the treatment you all receive concerning days off/holidays/sickness. It does sound that backing each other up worked once before.

 

I do know, though, that telling you to write a letter sounds good, but in theory they won't listen. that's when the legal side comes into it, something I'm not clued up with to give you advice on, but a site team member will probably put someone onto this thread to help you out in that aspect of it.

 

Oh, and I'm not surprised moral is non existant! Most businesses these days still don't realise the importance of good staff communication. Help the staff, then they're happy to work for you. Show them nothing but disrespect and contempt, they don't want to work for you, and then they wonder why!?!

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Hi skonk,

thanks for the advice.

As I said. Non of us really care how or when he works. Hes a decent lad really and we all get on with him. Its the constantly differing attitude the management have between us and him.

Like I said, Ive deliberately made my position solid (Ive had 3 years to do this) and am now in a position of strength.

We know there are no secret illness grounds. The trouble with the management is that they seem to be testing us now - every time he is late or returns after an unauthorised day off they tend to go over the top with concern for him, and this is done in front of us.

It is only a small firm, and people are constantly taken from jobs that have a deadline to compensate for his absence - then critisied later for not completing their own tasks on time.

We know he never phones in as the management for reasons of their own, take great pains to let us know this.

Over the last 3 years or so, the workforce has also been scaled down from 20 to 11, yet the lads in the welding shop and assembly side of the firm are still supposed to complete more or less the same amount of work within the same time scales - and apart from the odd hiccup, they are managing it.

This year they refused to give us, or even consider a pay rise. Ok, times are a bit rough at the moment - but then last week they turn up with 2 new Jags (the existing ones being 5 years old). Its not gone down very well.

Most of the lads have been on a 4 day week for the last 2 months - only just back to 5. I was the exception

It would seem that they are deliberatley trying to cause a rift and make enemies - even they must see the tensions they are causing, but the intelligent question must be "Why"?

If its in the hope that one or two more leave without having to pay redundancy etc, then theyve just got the message that we feel we have no choice but to stand together - if one goes, we all go.

That will bring the firm to a standstill as its not a case of setting more people on - some of this stuff is highly skilled.

A month ago one of the directors told me that the work I do brings as much money in as the rest of the firm. Maybe he shouldnt have said that but it does give me more positional strength - not that I want to use it, but being a senior member I seem to be looked towards by the other lads. I just have to be careful..........

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