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Grievance complaint started and now being offered a compromise agreement


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Hi,

I have looked through the posts and cannot find anything similar to this. Any advice or help would be very welcome.

 

My wife has worked for a company for 2 1/2 years and 2 weeks ago she made an official complaint to her immediate director about another director in the company. This other director has upset a lot of people in the company and has made it clear that she does not like my wife and has made things very difficult for her. This has also been the case of the business owner whom took on this director about 10 months ago when these issues started to happen. Before this director joined the company, my wife had a good relationship with the business owner and was well respected.

 

My wife put up with many issues and I guess you could say she was bullied, although she would not use this term loosely. After work at home, she often would end up in tears about the situation in her office. She eventually made a complaint to her immediate director which was not an official grievance although she did put it in writing to him. Needless to say, the situation did not improve and as I mentioned above, she made an official grievance complaint about the other director.

 

In the two weeks since the complaint, the director she complained about hardly spoke to her, this situation made things very difficult in the relatively small office where they work, approx 12 people. Nothing has been done about the complaint, no formal letter received or mention at all.

 

Yesterday she was taken in to the office by her immediate director and told that they (the other director and owner) would be doing a compromise agreement and that she should collect all her personal belongings and leave the office and they would call her this Monday to arrange a meeting.

 

She was given no letter or anything.

 

I am not sure where to start with and questions on whether this is allowed or what her rights are. We will obviously need to see a solicitor and how will this be paid for.

 

This seems to be a very unprofessional way of dealing with the situation and the fact that she is good at her job and has been forced out of the company mainly due to the fact that this other director does not like her and has some control and influence with the business owner in someway.

 

For what it is worth, the financial director that she reports to has told her that she is very good at her job and he is very angry at the whole process and has argued with the owner and other director not to carry out this action.

 

I presume that a compromise agreement will wipe out any grievance action, however, we are not sure whether this would be the best course of action for her, she earns £33k a year, what likely amount would she get under an agreement?

 

If anyone has any advice or experience in this situation it would be nice to hear from you.

 

Thank you for reading this and I look forward to any comments.

 

Many thanks

 

Bruce

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They cannot force a compromise agreement upon your wife, the wording means what it says and AGREEMENT is the key. Basically what they have done is summarily dismissed her which is unlawful and probably unfair as well. The lack of letter is again wrong but use this to your advantage as she can ask for what she wants before it is set in stone.

You are right that the compromise settlement will be worded to wipe out any grievance claim, it also removes the opportunity to go to an employment tribunal, hence the AGREEMENT part. If she is willing to accept a monetary settlement she shoul also ask for a clause that gives her a positive reference and stops anyone in the company from making unfounded allegations of her conduct and character. As regards to cash, it wont be a huge amount, pay in lieu of notice, holiday pay and any bonuses or incentives due and a sum to reflect any other considerations. I would be looking at probably £5000 including the salary in lieu of notice. Any less and she is being sacked without pay and any more is a bonus but less than the cost for the employer's legal fees when they are dragged off to court so dont expect 10's of thousands. These agreements are commonly known as gagging clauses for good reason and are always one-sided in their application.

If she receives a letter stating terms that are not agreeable then she should tell them that she has been unlawfully dismissed as there has been no reason given, no notice period and no procedures followed and that she is on a certanty to win that particular argument so they should rethink and then tell them what she expects. She is in a good position at the moment so she doesnt have to accept what is put in front of her and they should know this..

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Today she did not turn up for work. With nothing in writing that's going AWOL.

 

I suggest she either turns up or emails asking for a written confirmation that she is not to go to work, or she'll be in tomorrow...

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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If she successfully claimed for unfair dismissal, she would get a basic award as follows:

One and a half weeks' pay for each year of employment after age 41.

One week's pay for each year of employment between ages 22 and 40.

Half a week's pay for each year of employment under the age of 22.

Plus a compensatory award, which will largely consist of loss of earnings to cover the period until she can find a new job. Obviously it is difficult to know how long that will be at this point but try to estimate.

Also worth noting there will be notice pay (although this overlaps with the compensatory award - you can't claim twice). The statutory minimum notice period for your wife will be 2 weeks.

Also try to calculate what pay and holiday pay is outstanding, and make sure this is received.

There is potential for an uplift of 25% on the compensatory award due to failure to comply with the ACAS code.

 

On the surface this sounds like a classic case of unfair dismissal. I would get out a calculator to tot up the above and use that as your starting point for compromise agreement negotiations. I also suggesting making sure that the reference which must be given to future employers is written into the agreement.

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Hello there.

 

Sorry if someone said this and I missed it. If they offer a CA, they have to pay for an independent lawyer to look at it and explain the terms, don't they?

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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they do indeed. but they usually pay the absolute minimum with no extra for negotiations time.

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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Basically your wife has been suspended indefinitely without any sort of written notification until such time as they decide to have her go in to see them. This has been done in the middle of a grievance process.

 

That's a breach of contract right there unless your wife's contract specifically says that they can do that.

 

She will still be employed until she is formally dismissed or she chooses to leave.

 

The 'compromise agreement' will not be worth the paper it's written on unless and until your wife agrees to accept it. Obviously she cannot decide her next move until she sees what is being offered.

 

If she is not satisfied, or if no amicable settlement is reached, she could then offer her resignation in writing stating that she has been clearly constructively dismissed and that she will be taking legal advice as a preliminary to legal action.

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Heya!

 

I would suggest that she sends an email or something to the "good" director about her current position i.e. if she is required to go back to work - it is imperative she finds this out and will cover her back if she decides to go the ET.

 

They cannot just suspend her without telling her why and the last thing she needs is the company to claim that she decided to up and leave.

 

If she wants a CA that's up to her but she needs to plan for long term consequences as it would be in full and final settlement. Therefore, it should state a clause about a pre-written reference and also state that her dismissal was due to reasons of redundancy as then when she is looking for employment she can state that she was made redundant. Also put in a clause that states the company cannot in anyway victimise her.

 

The issue is that once you raise a complaint or grievance you are "marked". Your days are numbered and that is the harsh reality. This director is likely to get sacked or disciplined since I think he is still in his probationary period and thus why they don't want to take the matter further.

 

For settlement I would suggest a minimum if 8250 as this would be enhanced redundancy pay (month's salary for each full year you worked) and a month for the notice period (if it is the usual month). Add on any other benefits. She should inform them that her offer is reasonable and get her to indirectly give the impression that if it went to the ET that it would cost them a lot more and tarnish their reputation.

 

This is my opinion and I am not a shark, sorry a solictor.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello and thank you for your responses to this.

 

Time for an update.

 

My wife received no further information until last week when she was asked to go and see the "new boss", which she did.

 

She was told that she is now being made redundant along with another 9 or 10 people.

 

She asked "can you do that" and was told "I can do what I like", she mentioned about the compromise agreement (which she is still waiting to receive the draft) and was told to "get your solicitor to speak to mine".

 

That was a week ago, she has still received no correspondence whatsoever from the company, neither have the other people that have been told they are redundant.

 

Apparently, the owner has fallen in to financial difficulty (with the business) and this guy is in as an "investor" that has come in and now running the business. It looks like they could go out of business as there has been mention of a CVA and they may be possibly now trading under a different name, so who knows what will happen with the business.

 

I just do not know how these people get away with actions like this and treating people with no decency whatsoever.

 

My wife has spoken with a solicitor so we will have to see where this goes,I will keep the thread updated.

 

BTW - the good director has also been made redundant!

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I completely agree.

 

So how do you deal with a situation like this:

 

1. 1 person put on garden leave 4 weeks ago and then told redundant - no correspondence whatsoever, letter or email

2. 9 other people made redundant over a week ago have also not received and letter or email

3. The only director replies to my wife's email asking for help and resolution with "all I can do is pass your message on"

4. The supposed new owner and other manager in the business do not answer calls or emails.

 

It's not like a big crime has been committed and you can call the police.

 

These people have mortgages and other commitments and all of them are being ignored - is this common practice?

 

I said they all should go down and sit inside the building until something happens, but seriously, what else can they do?

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Write to the registered busiess address asking for confirmation of redundancy date and when monies will be settled as a start, to get van audit trail going. Just address 'the directors'

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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  • 1 month later...

Hello,

Here is a further update on this situation.

 

At the beginning of April 70% of the workforce received a letter saying that they are redundant and that they are due notice pay etc and that the company is unable to pay this and to pursue the insolvency practitioner for compensation.

 

My wife contacted the IP and they say they have spoken with the director but had not been appointed as yet.

 

They all spoke to ACAS and were told to all write to the director and if they have heard nothing then ACAS would take it up on behalf of all of them.

 

The remainder of the workforce have been paid at the end of last month from the company, so they have paid the staff that still work there but not one penny to anythat were made redundant. It has also now started up a previously dormant company and trading from the new company. There is also suspicion that the new company has taken over orders from the old company.

 

Monday will be the end of the 14 day period in which the company had to respond.

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