This one comes from Joe in Uxbridge, and his question is: “I have a funny feeling that my boss is trying to find grounds to dismiss me. I’m worried about constructive dismissal, what can I do to protect myself?”
This is a horrible situation to find yourself in, and it’s not pleasant!
All too often, junior staff members are hung-out-to-dry even when following their line manager’s instructions. Sometimes management chooses to protect "friends" or "favoured-colleagues" over those that work hard when it comes down to finding fault, or cutting costs and laying-off staff.
While you’re working out what to do (eg seek a new career path or stay put and battle it out); it is essential that you keep up the appearance of a happy, professional, motivated member of staff.
This is a case of not doing anything stupid, and not handing them the rope with which to hang you!
Once an employer, owner or manager has made clear an intention to dispense with your services, whether that be a clear and open declaration, or simply the gut feeling you get that “something isn’t quite right”, you have to ask yourself:
“Do i really want to work in such an environment?”
More often than not, if you know you’re good at what you do, it may be time to just accept that your current employer is not the employer for you.
Subject to your particular situation, sometimes the best solution is to merely leave them to it and find an employer who appreciates you.
Constructive dismissal, if proven, can result in an award of compensation and or damages.
The good news is that there are many solicitors offering no-win-no-fee representation, and depending on the nature of your employer’s attempts to dismiss you, you may also have grounds for harassment.
Sound preparation may not result in you keeping your job, but it may result in your employer agreeing to pay you off with a “golden-goodbye".
Producing a tape recording of a manager swearing, or using inappropriate language, threats or intimidatory remarks can be worth it’s weight in gold, because there is little room for denial!
Always make sure you play things by the book!
Ultimately, it starts with you. If you’ve had enough of being bullied, threatened and or abused by your bosses, bite back and hit them where it hurts. Contrary to popular belief that means the pocket, not the b*lls!
You may also find that publicising your experience, anonymously, will help warn other propsective staff members - there are some useful sites out there - for example TrustPilot.
If you end up getting dismissed - unfairly - there are solicitors who will issue No-Win-No-Fee proceedings on your behalf, but ensure you act quickly! You must issue proceedings within 3 months of dismissal.
If your past employer is withholding vital evidence (documents/recordings of hearings etc), have no fear: you can issue proceedings and either stay the case while you obtain the evidence under Data Subject Access Request, or alternatively apply for an order requiring of your previous employer to 'place the evidence before the court'.
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