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  • FIRST POST
    • Tadman2
    • By Tadman2 14th Jun 17, 8:23 PM
    • 2Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Tadman2
    Unfair Dismissal ?
    • #1
    • 14th Jun 17, 8:23 PM
    Unfair Dismissal ? 14th Jun 17 at 8:23 PM
    Hey Everyone,

    Looking for some advice, thanks in advance !

    I have been working for a company for the last 7 months, as a Personal Assistant to the companies MD.

    To cut a long story short, it has been 24/7 for the last 7 months, with demeaning emails and calls starting around 6.30am every day including weekends lasting up until midnight some times.... I have been tasked with traveling across the globe along side my MD and had next to no time off over the last 7 months.

    Struggling with the above, last week I was signed off by my doctor with stress/anxiety and exhaustion. I was given a sick note to cover me for 4 weeks. I advised work I was taking a sick day on the Monday and then followed it up with my doctors sick note on the Tuesday...

    This was accepted by the company but of course my MD was furious and was desperate to know exact reasons , I politely declined to comment and handed my sick note in.

    I received an email on the Thursday (Less than 48 hours after the sick note) stating I had been instantly dismissed as TRUST had been broken.... this was due to I had left myself logged into personal email account at work which showed over the last few weeks I had made some applications for other jobs. The letter dismissing me accused me of attending interviews (which I have NOT).... The company have now dismissed me and are refusing to pay me any form of notice. My contract states that I am due 2 months notice paid. Personally after speaking with friends they have suggested that if work had any concerns then they should have taken me down a disciplinary route, where a fair hearing would have been heard and a decision made based upon the evidence , not instant dismissal which I think is against contract as I have not committed gross misconduct ?

    I have been emailing back and forth with my company trying to get my 2 months pay ( I would even be happy with 1 Month to tide me over until I get another job) but they are refusing to back down.

    What I would like to know is....is it even worth continuing to fight or take them to court ? Am I just throwing good money after bad ? Should I just cut my losses now and move on....

    Thank you for your help!
Page 1
    • xapprenticex
    • By xapprenticex 14th Jun 17, 9:14 PM
    • 1,244 Posts
    • 1,135 Thanks
    xapprenticex
    • #2
    • 14th Jun 17, 9:14 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Jun 17, 9:14 PM
    You applied for jobs using your works email account? REALLY??
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 14th Jun 17, 9:27 PM
    • 3,825 Posts
    • 6,241 Thanks
    sangie595
    • #3
    • 14th Jun 17, 9:27 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Jun 17, 9:27 PM
    Hey Everyone,

    Looking for some advice, thanks in advance !

    I have been working for a company for the last 7 months, as a Personal Assistant to the companies MD.

    To cut a long story short, it has been 24/7 for the last 7 months, with demeaning emails and calls starting around 6.30am every day including weekends lasting up until midnight some times.... I have been tasked with traveling across the globe along side my MD and had next to no time off over the last 7 months.

    Struggling with the above, last week I was signed off by my doctor with stress/anxiety and exhaustion. I was given a sick note to cover me for 4 weeks. I advised work I was taking a sick day on the Monday and then followed it up with my doctors sick note on the Tuesday...

    This was accepted by the company but of course my MD was furious and was desperate to know exact reasons , I politely declined to comment and handed my sick note in.

    I received an email on the Thursday (Less than 48 hours after the sick note) stating I had been instantly dismissed as TRUST had been broken.... this was due to I had left myself logged into personal email account at work which showed over the last few weeks I had made some applications for other jobs. The letter dismissing me accused me of attending interviews (which I have NOT).... The company have now dismissed me and are refusing to pay me any form of notice. My contract states that I am due 2 months notice paid. Personally after speaking with friends they have suggested that if work had any concerns then they should have taken me down a disciplinary route, where a fair hearing would have been heard and a decision made based upon the evidence , not instant dismissal which I think is against contract as I have not committed gross misconduct ?

    I have been emailing back and forth with my company trying to get my 2 months pay ( I would even be happy with 1 Month to tide me over until I get another job) but they are refusing to back down.

    What I would like to know is....is it even worth continuing to fight or take them to court ? Am I just throwing good money after bad ? Should I just cut my losses now and move on....

    Thank you for your help!
    Originally posted by Tadman2
    Assuming that you can prove that your notice period is two months...

    Yes you can take it to court - county court is the cheapest route - but at the very least there may be a fight about amounts of pay because unless you have company sick pay, SSP will apply to some of this period. It's not totally easy to predict because of the circumstances of being signed off. But yes, you can and should go for it if that is what you are owed.

    With less than two years service fair hearing are irrelevant - notice pay is all it is about, not whether it is fair or not.
    • Tadman2
    • By Tadman2 14th Jun 17, 9:27 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Tadman2
    • #4
    • 14th Jun 17, 9:27 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Jun 17, 9:27 PM
    NO, I applied with my PERSONAL account as noted above.... but left myself logged into my personal account and work saw it after I had gone sick....
    • pinkshoes
    • By pinkshoes 14th Jun 17, 9:31 PM
    • 15,244 Posts
    • 20,749 Thanks
    pinkshoes
    • #5
    • 14th Jun 17, 9:31 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Jun 17, 9:31 PM
    As above, if you can PROVE they have to give you two months notice, then write to them asking for two months pay.

    Then move on...

    Clearly you were planning to leave, so just find yourself another job in the next two months.
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
    • Masomnia
    • By Masomnia 14th Jun 17, 9:37 PM
    • 17,044 Posts
    • 37,602 Thanks
    Masomnia
    • #6
    • 14th Jun 17, 9:37 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Jun 17, 9:37 PM
    If you wish to you should pursue the notice pay in the small claims court.

    You need to issue a 'letter before action'. You can find templates for this online for unpaid wages/notice pay.

    I agree with Sangie there's no unfair dismissal claim I can see, with you having less than two years' service. So the lack of process is irrelevant, unless I suppose you have a contractual right to one... but even in these unusual circumstances you most probably wouldn't win any more than your notice pay anyway. So focus on pursuing them for the notice pay. Chances are they'll pay it as it will probably be more expensive to fight it than to pay you.
    “I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.” - P.G. Wodehouse
    • Geoff1963
    • By Geoff1963 14th Jun 17, 11:35 PM
    • 1,057 Posts
    • 669 Thanks
    Geoff1963
    • #7
    • 14th Jun 17, 11:35 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Jun 17, 11:35 PM
    Even though it was your personal e-mail account, you were using company equipment and internet access ; for an activity which is actually detrimental to their business. It probably has a rule against that, and which says they can check any content. Instant dismissal for Gross Misconduct does sound harsh, but I'm guessing you aren't in a union.

    It does seem as if he was working you too hard, but perhaps being signed off and leaving was the only thing which would have stopped that. The alternative might have been 8, 9, 10 or more months ; with an even more serious ending. Think of it as leaving an abusive relationship, where you make a financial loss.

    P.S. If you post tomorrow that he felt down a long flight of stairs and broke every bone in his body, I'll claim one of the paranormal prizes for telepathy and psychokinesis.
    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 15th Jun 17, 8:19 AM
    • 3,961 Posts
    • 4,051 Thanks
    TELLIT01
    • #8
    • 15th Jun 17, 8:19 AM
    • #8
    • 15th Jun 17, 8:19 AM
    Using company equipment for personal business can actually be classed as theft. Sounds crazy I know, but it's technically theft of electricity and theft is clearly grounds for instant dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct. In that situation I'm not sure that any claim for pay in lieu of notice would be upheld.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 15th Jun 17, 2:29 PM
    • 3,161 Posts
    • 2,875 Thanks
    Undervalued
    • #9
    • 15th Jun 17, 2:29 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Jun 17, 2:29 PM
    Using company equipment for personal business can actually be classed as theft. Sounds crazy I know, but it's technically theft of electricity and theft is clearly grounds for instant dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct. In that situation I'm not sure that any claim for pay in lieu of notice would be upheld.
    Originally posted by TELLIT01
    I think to have any chance of getting away with that argument the firm would need to show that they had a clear and total ban on any any private internet use from work. Even then, unless there were very special circumstances, I suspect they would struggle to convince a court that a first offence could reasonable be treated as gross misconduct.

    Obviously with less than two years service they are quite entitled to dismiss the OP but I think in most situations calling this gross misconduct would be seen as nothing more than a device to avoid paying contractual notice.

    It has to be worth a carefully worded letter before action followed by, if necessary, a claim in the Small Claims Court.
    • Geoff1963
    • By Geoff1963 17th Jun 17, 1:01 AM
    • 1,057 Posts
    • 669 Thanks
    Geoff1963
    I'd like to know if we can prosecute cold callers for the electricity used by the answering machine ; or spam e-mailers for the "denial of service".
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 17th Jun 17, 10:05 AM
    • 3,161 Posts
    • 2,875 Thanks
    Undervalued
    I'd like to know if we can prosecute cold callers for the electricity used by the answering machine ; or spam e-mailers for the "denial of service".
    Originally posted by Geoff1963
    No!

    You certainly can't "prosecute" them as it is not a criminal offence. What you probably mean is can you make a civil claim against them for any losses you suffer? Until they call they have no means of knowing that you choose to have an answering machine or that you have chosen an obscure model that uses a measurable amount of extra electricity to answer a call!

    If you have previously told them not to contact you then I suppose in theory, if you have suffered a quantifiable loss, they are liable.

    If this is the biggest worry you have in your life then I am very happy for you and perhaps you could tell us what your are on and where we can all get some!
    • Geoff1963
    • By Geoff1963 18th Jun 17, 9:04 PM
    • 1,057 Posts
    • 669 Thanks
    Geoff1963
    Theft Act 1968
    13 Abstracting of electricity.
    A person who dishonestly uses without due authority, or dishonestly causes to be wasted or diverted, any electricity shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
    • Guest101
    • By Guest101 19th Jun 17, 9:56 AM
    • 15,128 Posts
    • 14,761 Thanks
    Guest101
    Theft Act 1968
    13 Abstracting of electricity.
    A person who dishonestly uses without due authority, or dishonestly causes to be wasted or diverted, any electricity shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
    Originally posted by Geoff1963
    Key word is 'dishonestly'
    • Hedgehog99
    • By Hedgehog99 19th Jun 17, 10:04 AM
    • 1,338 Posts
    • 2,778 Thanks
    Hedgehog99
    Bosses like him need a robot, not a human PA.

    Mind you, just because he emailed you outside office hours doesn't mean you have to read or act on it. Your predecessors allowed him to get into these bad habits and now he just expects it from everyone.

    Cut your losses and be glad to be rid of him.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 19th Jun 17, 11:35 AM
    • 3,161 Posts
    • 2,875 Thanks
    Undervalued
    Key word is 'dishonestly'
    Originally posted by Guest101
    Exactly!

    The crazy argument Geoff1963 is making could just as easily be applied to anybody who rings your doorbell uninvited. Now that would be handy at election times.....
    • benj111
    • By benj111 19th Jun 17, 11:45 AM
    • 31 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    benj111
    Sorry if off topic.

    I'm curious, I would have said this was (potentially) wrongful dismissal, and would have thought going the ACAS/ employment tribunal route would be best on that basis. Everyone else is suggesting small claims court, what am I missing?
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 19th Jun 17, 11:55 AM
    • 3,161 Posts
    • 2,875 Thanks
    Undervalued
    Sorry if off topic.

    I'm curious, I would have said this was (potentially) wrongful dismissal, and would have thought going the ACAS/ employment tribunal route would be best on that basis. Everyone else is suggesting small claims court, what am I missing?
    Originally posted by benj111
    Wrongful dismissal is simply breach of contract. As I explained in post 9 all they could potentially claim for is their contractual notice.

    Given that there are now significant fees to pay to bring an employment tribunal claim it would almost certainly be cheaper to make this claim in the small claims court. Another advantage is that the strict three month time limit to bring an ET claim does not apply so they have up to six years (five in Scotland).
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 19th Jun 17, 12:27 PM
    • 1,789 Posts
    • 1,700 Thanks
    steampowered
    The best thing to do would be to send the company a formal 'letter before action', setting what you feel you are owed.

    The letter should ask the company for payment within 14 days, else you will have no choice but to bring court action or Employment Tribunal proceedings to recover the money owed.

    This will reduce the chance of a good reference, but it doesn't sound like you'll be getting a good reference anyway.
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 19th Jun 17, 12:37 PM
    • 1,962 Posts
    • 2,915 Thanks
    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    Even though it was your personal e-mail account, you were using company equipment and internet access ; for an activity which is actually detrimental to their business. It probably has a rule against that, and which says they can check any content. Instant dismissal for Gross Misconduct does sound harsh, but I'm guessing you aren't in a union.
    Originally posted by Geoff1963

    The fact that they logged into the personal email account at work in no way means that they wrote the job applications at work. They could well have written them at home in the evenings; they would still have been visible on the account wherever they logged into it from.

    They may have logged into the personal account at work because they get work related message sent to the personal email account out of hours and needed to see them.
    • Profligate
    • By Profligate 19th Jun 17, 7:13 PM
    • 35 Posts
    • 38 Thanks
    Profligate
    Hi

    If you're in a Union you could talk to them

    Or, here's ACAS on notice and pay http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1650
    ACAS also have a helpline -you could rung them for advice.
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