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Disciplinary - Any law I can refer to ?

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I've worked at my current role for 2 and half years. For 2 yrs I had two managers, neither of which ever raised any problem with my work.

 

 

The company I work for are very small and we don't have any appraisal or any HR process

- so my feedback had always come via 1to1 meetings with my managers.

 

Over my 2 yrs I had also been given praise from some of our clients over work delivered.

 

Six months ago I got a new manager.

At our 3rd meeting she told me she had concerns over my work,

suggesting I wasn't fulfilling the job as she'd see fit and had told the company directors I was thinking of leaving.

 

 

This stemmed from a private conversation I had had in an earlier session which I joked about leaving

- unfortunately this was taken literally and passed on to the company director as fact - something I wasn't very pleased about.

 

At the same (3rd) meeting I was told that I'd need to improve or it "wouldn't end well". Understandable this shook me up.

After that meeting relations didn't improve.

 

 

For the past couple of months I continued to do my job as I had before,

and a couple of times since I have been told I need to do things to match her way of doing things

- nothing has ever been written down - it's all verbal.

 

I've also been given new processes and systems to work on, but no training has been given

other than the offer of sitting with my manager when she's available to be shown.

I have done this, but

 

 

lately I am asked for forward work to her for approval, or for her to update rather than me spending time on it. I am made to feel like a spare part.

 

I have understandably become a lot less confident in my role as I feel I am not supported.

This in turn has made me more withdrawn with my colleagues.

 

 

Recently I've been told that directors have been discussing me (openly) suggesting if my quieter mood doesn't improve there would be consequences.

 

I did try and meet with my director to discuss, but he didn't follow up on my requests and frankly gave me the impression he wasn't keen to meet.

 

We have no written disciplinary process other than a sketchy paragraph in my contract about "not fulfilling my role".

I am keen to know legally if I do have an employment law I can refer to ?

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The law - specifically the Employment Rights Act 1996 - gives you the right not to be unfairly dismissed. That is the legislation, and the framework around which the employer must meet certain conditions in order for any dismissal to be ruled 'fair'.

 

OK - you are not yet at the point where you have been dismissed, but from your post, and from the outline that you have given it sounds that your 'capability' do perform your role is being brought into question. Capability IS a potentially fair reason for dismissal, but in order for the employer to have a defence to a possible Employment Tribunal claim for Unfair Dismissal, they should take clear steps to demonstrate that their decision to dismiss was made reasonably and that you were treated 'fairly'.

 

This (along with matters of 'conduct' - another potentially fair reason for dismissal) should involve a properly recorded warning system, escalating to a point where dismissal may be considered. You will probably be aware already of a system of 'verbal' warnings, 'written' warnings and 'final written' warnings, and that should apply in your case. Your contract or company handbook should contain a disciplinary policy which sets out what procedures should be used. In the absence of any specific code of practice internally, the ACAS Disciplinary Code should be used. An employee would normally (depending on the nature and severity of the offence, or failure to perform) expect to receive at least one formal warning in order to allow for improvement in a given timescale before dismissal would be considered. In many cases there would be a warning, either written or verbal, a final warning and then if still not satisfactory, dismissal may result. At each stage the employee should be informed in writing of the allegation, invited to a meeting and given the option of having a trade union official or colleague present as a witness. After the meeting the employee should be informed of the outcome and what is required to prevent the matter escalating to the next stage.

 

So, although not 'law' in itself, an employer seeking to dismiss an employee fairly, should allow clearly documented steps prior to dismissal or would find it very difficult to justify the decision were the employee to take the case to a Tribunal - as the Judge would be looking at whether the disciplinary policy or ACAS code was followed and if the case went in your favour any award could be increased if this were not the case. Applying this to your case, the employer's concerns over your performance may or may not be genuine, but if your future is being considered, then you should be entitled to formal meetings, with a witness and clear direction on what you need to do to get back on track.

 

In terms of what you should do, I personally would avoid direct confrontation. I would probably be looking over my shoulder and looking at opportunities elsewhere, because if they are losing faith in you - justifiably or not - it is often difficult to come back from that. In the meantime I would still be looking to deal with it head on and persist with a meeting - at whatever level of management - to get an honest appraisal of what more you need to do to be considered a valuable employee. Tell them that you are keen to impress, and ask for some clear steps on how you can achieve this. If loyalty is in question, take the opportunity to dispel their doubt. If it comes to a fight, then you will be in a better position to demonstrate that you took all reasonable steps to resolve the problem and can then consider what more you can do by way of grievances about your treatment or failures to follow procedure.

 

Good luck - these situations are never easy, but can often be resolved before they get nasty - hopefully you will get through this OK

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Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed and complete reply. I will take that on board.

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No problem - feel free to come back and give us an update or ask for further advice if you need it


Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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I had a meeting with my manager today and was told that they want to give me a warning over an incident when I'd called someone in our team a prick. I was told it was aggressive behaviour and the warning was bullying.

 

No formal warning process is in place at my company and when I mentioned this I was told that I would be sent a process.

 

My manager then told me I should take the weekend to consider my position. I was told that the company has changed a lot in the time I've been here (2 yrs 6 mths) and I hadn't evolved with them. I didn't seem to want to fit in or work with people and my attitude was not right.

I was told the company were now more tech focused and I needed to learn to understand it more.

 

I was told that I had 2 options.

 

1 - I "Decide" that the company isn't right for me any longer and if I want to remain

 

2 - I remain in the role and take a warning for my behaviour the previous week.

 

I am at a bit of a loss, I have told them I want to remain and want to be trained. Even if I don't (longterm) manage to fit in it will at least buy me some time.

 

I feel I am being forced out by a manager who doesn't want me. Legally I am not sure how this can happen either.

 

Any further advice ?

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As far as the warning you will have to take it, you can't use that type of language and get away with it 99.9% of the time.

 

If you cannot fulfil the job they need you to do you can be taken down a capability route and dismissed.

 

those are the facts here

 

You have these options

 

1. leave

2. take a warning then leave

3. Carry on as you are and be dismissed

4. Improve, engage brain before mouth and don't say anything, if i had a pound for every time the grey matter has muttered a plethora of disparaging and downright insulting thoughts about my workmates i'd be typing on my gold plated keyboard right now ;)

 

As long as they follow a set out and fair process the above are your options in my view.

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Thanks for the reply.

 

In regards to No 4 - I've asked for training to be given (as other members of my team have had this) but it's not been offered to me. The whole incident seems extremely harsh to say that is bullying as the word was said to a colleague about this person, not to this persons face and it's a one time thing that has happened in my 2 and 6 mths at the company.

In the past months I have complained about another manager and the way he spoke to me, he actually sellotaped my laptop to my desk - as far as I am aware he wasn't given a warning, so I feel I am being treated unfairly to further the aim of getting me to leave.

 

I have decided to leave the place and I am being interviewed, but I am just not going to be treated unfairly here. The company have sent me their disciplinary policy and no verbal warning is given, it's direct into a written warning - which seems at odds with the company advice ACAS give for a first time offence.

 

What do you think ?

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I think while you continue to put forward the view that you ar eblameless/ it's no big deal, you'll get nowhere. You seriously need training in how not to be offensive?Try and find an employer with collegues you respect. Time to move on.


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I was told the company were now more tech focused and I needed to learn to understand it more - Training in this area, I don't need training to be offensive.

But you are right, I do need to move on

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