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Hannah83

Employer using disciplinary process to torture me

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Hi everyone. I work for a large telecommunications company and speak to customers on the phone. I have never been rude and regularly get complimented from customers for going out of my way to help them. However there was one performance target I was struggling with and 2 years ago was put on a Personal Improvement Plan to help meet this target. Despite making a massive improvement it still wasn't meeting the actual target so began the disciplinary procedure.

 

Back then the scores I got for that target were worse than the company average so I understand and accept that I ended up with a Final Formal Warning. However, that was 2 years ago and since then I have been constantly dragged in and out of disciplinary meetings and the outcome is always that they will "extend the monitoring period" because I am still improving.

 

The stress from this and from my dad's sudden death made me extremely ill last year and I was signed off with depression and anxiety for 4 months and my employer knew that this was in part due to their continual pressure and threats of dismissal.

 

As soon as I returned to work I got another formal letter for yet another meeting and yet again the monitoring period was extended and I was told that over a 5 week period I must meet or better the company average on 2 specific performance targets and if i did not then there would be another meeting with senior management.

 

Over those 5 week I worked extremely hard and succeeded to get better than the company average in both targets so I was relieved and went off on a week's annual leave happy that this was finally over. So I was devastated on my return to be handed a letter straight away saying performance had not improved and the meeting was set for a week later. I prepared for the meeting by working out my averages for the 5 week period and the company average for the same time and showed they were better so I had done exactly what was asked of me.

 

That was 2 weeks ago and I have had no decision. The signals I'm getting though is that I will be dismissed. I don't understand though because their own figures prove I did what was asked. The disciplinary process says outcomes are provided within 5 working days. They know that the ridiculous pressure almost destroyed me and they don't seem to care at all and honestly appear to be TRYING to get me to break down and just quit. Every day I go in to work and am expected to be at 100% in what is already a stressful job despite being terrified and anxious every second that I'm just about to be taken away and sacked at any moment.

 

Any advice? (sorry about the length, just trying to make things clear)

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Hi Hannah83

 

Welcome to CAG

 

Has everyone else in the same position as you met their targets?

 

Has the constant pressure / stress from the company effected your ability to meet your targets?

 

Have your raised a informal or formal grievance? I would think that your treatment has made you feel depressed and demotivated.

 

Have you seen your doctor about the stress this is putting on you?

 

The guys will advise as soon as they are available.

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Hi,

 

it sounds like this really isn't the job for you.

 

What outcome are you looking for?


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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Well its a very large department with hundreds of employees so all we get to see is our own score and the average score for the department. Nobody really meets the actual target for either of the 2 measures because they are very unrealistic.

 

For example, for the main one, the target is 17% (the lower the better) but the company average is 28% consistently. Because of that all I was asked to do was meet the average or better it. I did that by getting an average of 23% over the 5 weeks.

 

When I pointed that out in the meeting it was pretty much glossed over which was infuriating.

 

I spoke to my doctor back when I was signed off and was given anti depressants and counselling.

 

It is definitely demotivating because I'm constantly being told its not enough no matter how hard I work and can prove how much I have improved.

 

Will need to find out how to raise a grievance, information on how to do so doesn't seem to exist in the company but I'll have a look for sure.

 

At this point, they must know that waiting 2 weeks (so far) for an outcome that should have come within 5 days is bound to affect my performance due to the sheer levels of anxiety.

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The job itself is suited to me in that I enjoy helping customers fix their problems and I do that every day. And I'm now meeting the targets they set. The outcome I'm looking for is for them to see that I've done what they asked and take me off this constant ongoing disciplinary procedure because my performance is now in line with everyone else so now I'm just getting punished for nothing!

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The job itself is suited to me in that I enjoy helping customers fix their problems and I do that every day. And I'm now meeting the targets they set. The outcome I'm looking for is for them to see that I've done what they asked and take me off this constant ongoing disciplinary procedure because my performance is now in line with everyone else so now I'm just getting punished for nothing!

 

It seems to me illogical to discipline someone for being "below average", rather than "seriously below average"

 

Unless everyone scores the same, and all are therefore "average", not above or below, then (for there to be an average) some must be below average and some above!

 

Are they using mean average (the usual), mode 'average' or median 'average'?

 

Take scores of 1, 1, 3, 4, 4, 4, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9

55 from 11 people : average 5, mode 4, median 4

 

If the 5 people with scores of more than 5 get told they are on disciplinaries to improve, to the average of 5:

 

1,1,3,4,4,4,5,5,5,5 and 5 ........ (Median still 4, mode now 5) but:

52 from 11 ..... Average 4.72 : so they must improve again!!

 

This is why "below average, must improve" is unfair - someone is almost always going to be below an average.

 

"Seriously below average" wouldn't be unreasonable.

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stepping out of the pressure and what this does to someone, here's what i see from your first post

 

you were not performing to their expected standard, they warned you and gave you the opportunity to improve.............. you did

 

they warned you and gave you the opportunity to improve.............. you did

 

they warned you and gave you the opportunity to improve.............. you did

 

see the pattern forming, they can argue they did as expected as an employer during capability proceedings and you returned the results they asked for.

 

Now you have hit the target not only have they completed their "support" of you but proven you could and did do better

 

I'm also thinking the delay in the last is as you have hit the target they now re a little stumped so they are now sitting back as if these targets drop again they will have all they need to dismiss you. (or you leave first due to the stress of it all)

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OK procedure says result after 5 days

 

Grievence procedure.

 

Take a witness with you.

Request copies of all notes etc

Only sign notes of meetings after you have fully read them. If they miss something or add something to them that was not said then ask for it to be changed. If they refuse, sign writing "under duress"

 

You say you have worked for over two years, so thats a positive.

 

Also you may want to research and join a trade union. They can represent at disciplinary even if the company does not have a recognition agreement. You also do not need to declare your membership to your employer until you need to. A Union can help with appeals and things like that as well as tribunal and grievance hearings.


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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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OK procedure says result after 5 days

 

Grievence procedure.

 

And thus "i demand an answer to your disciplinary"

 

Answer- Thank you for your grievance, as a response and to satisfy your request you are dimsissed, issued with a warning, your warning has been extended, your performance will be continued to be monitored...need i go on"

 

Never invite trouble unless your clearly in a very strong position, most people who try to jump the shark by putting in a grievance when the crosshairs are already painted on them get eaten in my experience. Especially when representing themselves.

 

You've given some good advice around here from my mostly lurking observations but always remember your not sat next to them anymore to stop the other side taking advantage of their ignorance of this game which plays with peoples lives.

 

Advise cautiously due to this ;)

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stepping out of the pressure and what this does to someone, here's what i see from your first post

 

you were not performing to their expected standard, they warned you and gave you the opportunity to improve.............. you did

 

they warned you and gave you the opportunity to improve.............. you did

 

they warned you and gave you the opportunity to improve.............. you did

 

see the pattern forming, they can argue they did as expected as an employer during capability proceedings and you returned the results they asked for.

 

Now you have hit the target not only have they completed their "support" of you but proven you could and did do better

 

I'm also thinking the delay in the last is as you have hit the target they now re a little stumped so they are now sitting back as if these targets drop again they will have all they need to dismiss you. (or you leave first due to the stress of it all)

 

 

Looking at this pattern - really, this is not the job for you. Most people never have even one performance conversation. And if it feels like "torture", a very extreme word, you should get out.


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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Really, this has been going on for a long time, you even pointed out the 'pattern', although the procedures and policies might be in place for the company to carry on doing this, but as the OP has stated it's causing anxiety and stress and that is something that the OP wants to put an end too, she wants answers from the company. Send your Grievance in writing, to your immediate manager and HR. Send it Recorded Delivery.

 

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/wales/work_w/work_problems_at_work_e/dealing_with_grievances_at_work.htm

 

And thus "i demand an answer to your disciplinary"

 

Answer- Thank you for your grievance, as a response and to satisfy your request you are dimsissed, issued with a warning, your warning has been extended, your performance will be continued to be monitored...need i go on"

 

Never invite trouble unless your clearly in a very strong position, most people who try to jump the shark by putting in a grievance when the crosshairs are already painted on them get eaten in my experience. Especially when representing themselves.

 

You've given some good advice around here from my mostly lurking observations but always remember your not sat next to them anymore to stop the other side taking advantage of their ignorance of this game which plays with peoples lives.

 

Advise cautiously due to this ;)

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http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2178

 

This might be of assistance.

Remember even if you are not a union rep you are entitled to a companion ad disciplinary AND Grievence Hearings. Your companion can be your support. Even better if they have some experience.

 

You in theory could adjourn and ask your companion questions if the employer sticks to their right to not let them speak.


PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

 

 

 

The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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It's probably best I don't file a grievance because this company, massive in the UK as it is, has been proven many times to be extremely petty and would absolutely find any nonsense reason to dismiss me if I did.

 

I wish I could communicate exactly how pathetic and insignificant the one one aspect of performance in question actually is. It surrounds the percentage of customers who have to call the company back within 7 days after their call to you. It takes no account of which department they call, of which there are at least 20 dealing with all kinds of services. I have never made a customer call back in because of me hanging up on them or giving the wrong advice and they record all calls so can't say otherwise. They could call back for any reason at all and it counts against you, even if a system issue was at fault.

 

I've been there 11 years. It's the only full time job I have ever had. Prior to this ridiculous statistic being put in place I had no performance problems. Most people only stay there for a very short time because it's awful and therefore they never get as far down the disciplinary process as myself. But I am not in a position to leave, because as I said it's the only job I've ever had so would have to try and find work at 31 years old with no references? Unlikely.

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Hi Hannah

 

Keep a daily diary of what they say and do. Keep this thread updated. It could be that they want you to leave as you've been there a long time, maybe they can get someone to do the same job for less pay.

 

So has nothing to do with your performance at all.

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That could be exactly it, within the company they have 2 sets of people doing the same job, one on company contracts and one on agency contracts, those people are on minimum wage. The whole way through this disciplinary they keep offering a possibility of moving to another department on an agency contract which just feels so wrong. They think I'm bad enough to warrant sacking me but would take me on in a different role just so they could pay me pennies? Dodgy as hell!

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Play them at their own game, be cheerful at all times, be confident, be enthusiastic and be determined. Lets see what they do then. Remember the guys are here to listen and help.

 

That could be exactly it, within the company they have 2 sets of people doing the same job, one on company contracts and one on agency contracts, those people are on minimum wage. The whole way through this disciplinary they keep offering a possibility of moving to another department on an agency contract which just feels so wrong. They think I'm bad enough to warrant sacking me but would take me on in a different role just so they could pay me pennies? Dodgy as hell!

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Put in a grievance about how you have met performance targets. It is your safety net as they WILL get rid of you or force you to go temp. Make sure you make a claim of breach of contract within three months if they fail to deal with your grievance.

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Put in a grievance about how you have met performance targets. It is your safety net as they WILL get rid of you or force you to go temp. Make sure you make a claim of breach of contract within three months if they fail to deal with your grievance.

 

FYI has to be received by tribunal three months LESS one day form the act being complained of or last act in a series of complaints

However you can *hold* once you have submitted an ET1 saying the procedures are ongoing. This would protect you for a limtied time after the 3 months less 1 day.

 

BUT

 

Im not sure we are at tribunal stage yet. Although keeping an eye on the clock is good advice


PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

 

 

 

The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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