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  • FIRST POST
    • RecoveringCurmudgeon
    • By RecoveringCurmudgeon 5th Dec 17, 11:11 PM
    • 6Posts
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    RecoveringCurmudgeon
    Career impact of litigation
    • #1
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:11 PM
    Career impact of litigation 5th Dec 17 at 11:11 PM
    Hi all,

    I am considering filing an unfair dismissal case against my previous employer. I wanted to hear people's views on the longer-term impact of such a course of action, specifically:

    1. How does it affect the references that the employer might be required to provide for me in the future?
    2. What level of reputational damage should I prepare for, assuming the CEO will tell other local CEOs etc - is this a common activity or do these things generally stay confidential? I work in a "small city".
    3. Do I have to disclose this claim to future employers, and/or are they able to find this out themselves somehow, and could I expect that to influence their desire to offer me a role?

    I know there aren't black and white answers to these questions, but any experience or views would be greatly appreciated. I am currently making the decision between keeping my mouth shut about what I believe to be a genuinely unfair dismissal (solicitor has reviewed and agrees) or sticking to my principles, filing a claim, and accepting the risks to reputational and career prospects this may carry.

    Many thanks in advance
Page 1
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 6th Dec 17, 7:05 AM
    • 4,175 Posts
    • 6,864 Thanks
    sangie595
    • #2
    • 6th Dec 17, 7:05 AM
    • #2
    • 6th Dec 17, 7:05 AM
    With the exception of the question about disclosure - you don't have to disclose, but the employer can unless there is a legal agreement in place - I don't think anyone could possibly answer your questions. We don't have a clue what your employment is like, what sector you work in, how well connected your organisation is or how others might react. Yes, it can influence employers decisions. But that doesn't mean that it would influence all, or even the majority of, employers. We simply can't say. And even if it were settled out of court and with an agreement - a legal agreement does not stop knowledge or gossip. So the same applies.

    Tribunals are not pleasant or easy. There is one reason to do it - because it is your determination that you must. Whatever the reason for doing it, it is personal - "right" and "wrong" are only one factor in the consideration. You have to do what is right for you considering all factors.
    • RecoveringCurmudgeon
    • By RecoveringCurmudgeon 6th Dec 17, 9:21 AM
    • 6 Posts
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    RecoveringCurmudgeon
    • #3
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:21 AM
    • #3
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:21 AM
    Thanks. I do understand your point, I'm just trying to understand as much about all the aspects that contribute to making a decision on this.

    I've read many people say online that litigation is a last resort. In my case, I found a better paying job a few weeks after leaving so my losses are minimal - I really just want to send the company a message that this isn't how you behave, hopefully to prevent them treating other employees the same way in the future. I'm trying to work out whether this is worth it, given the potential cost, stress and career impact this process could have on me and my family. It would just be a shame to "let them get away with it" but maybe that's what I have to accept.
    • Crazy Jamie
    • By Crazy Jamie 6th Dec 17, 9:33 AM
    • 2,135 Posts
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    Crazy Jamie
    • #4
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:33 AM
    • #4
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:33 AM
    The only point that I would add to sangie's post is that Tribunal decisions are now recorded online in a public database (https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunal-decisions), so a future employer would technically be able to find the judgment from any case that you have been involved in, assuming it was given in writing. Of course they would have to know that such a case existed first, unless they just felt like searching for the surnames of potentially employees for the fun of it. So I would have thought it's unlikely that they'd stumble across it, but you should probably be aware that technically they could, and if they are aware that you've made a claim, they'd be able to find and read the judgment fairly easily.

    The only other point to note really is that as regard the references, your employee must ensure that what they put in a reference is accurate. That means they can refer to the proceedings if they are not prevented from doing so by the terms of a settlement agreement, but in practice relatively few would risk doing that. Most companies provide neutral references as a matter of course nowadays to avoid any difficulties with the accuracy of the information. However, as sangie has quite correctly said, we know nothing about your situation, the company you've worked for, or your industry. So as much as we can tell you what 'generally' happens, there's no guarantee at all that that would apply in your case.
    Last edited by Crazy Jamie; 06-12-2017 at 9:39 AM.
    "MIND IF I USE YOUR PHONE? IF WORD GETS OUT THAT
    I'M MISSING FIVE HUNDRED GIRLS WILL KILL THEMSELVES."
    • Crazy Jamie
    • By Crazy Jamie 6th Dec 17, 9:36 AM
    • 2,135 Posts
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    Crazy Jamie
    • #5
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:36 AM
    • #5
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:36 AM
    I've read many people say online that litigation is a last resort. In my case, I found a better paying job a few weeks after leaving so my losses are minimal - I really just want to send the company a message that this isn't how you behave, hopefully to prevent them treating other employees the same way in the future. I'm trying to work out whether this is worth it, given the potential cost, stress and career impact this process could have on me and my family. It would just be a shame to "let them get away with it" but maybe that's what I have to accept.
    Originally posted by RecoveringCurmudgeon
    You posted this while I was typing my reply above.

    I'd be very wary about pursuing a Tribunal claim solely so an employer doesn't 'get away with it'. The principle is admirable, but in practice that is a decision you may come to regret simply because litigation is stressful, time consuming, and frankly a burden. It is of course entirely your choice, but it's not something to pursue lightly, and in a situation where you have moved quickly to another job and have minimal losses, you'd be well advised to strongly consider just moving on.
    "MIND IF I USE YOUR PHONE? IF WORD GETS OUT THAT
    I'M MISSING FIVE HUNDRED GIRLS WILL KILL THEMSELVES."
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 6th Dec 17, 9:48 AM
    • 1,951 Posts
    • 1,825 Thanks
    steampowered
    • #6
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:48 AM
    • #6
    • 6th Dec 17, 9:48 AM
    1. How does it affect the references that the employer might be required to provide for me in the future?
    Originally posted by RecoveringCurmudgeon
    1. If you sue an employer they won't usually give you a good reference!

      Unless the case settles, and you agree on a reference as part of the settlement.

    2. What level of reputational damage should I prepare for, assuming the CEO will tell other local CEOs etc - is this a common activity or do these things generally stay confidential? I work in a "small city".
    In reality the CEO may speak to other CEOs. The CEO may be contacted when other employers check references.

  • Do I have to disclose this claim to future employers, and/or are they able to find this out themselves somehow, and could I expect that to influence their desire to offer me a role?
You don't have to disclose but the issue could come up during references (which is why you insist on including a confidentiality clause and an agreed reference as part of any settlement).
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 6th Dec 17, 10:10 AM
    • 3,444 Posts
    • 5,279 Thanks
    Malthusian
    • #7
    • 6th Dec 17, 10:10 AM
    • #7
    • 6th Dec 17, 10:10 AM
    I've read many people say online that litigation is a last resort. In my case, I found a better paying job a few weeks after leaving so my losses are minimal - I really just want to send the company a message that this isn't how you behave, hopefully to prevent them treating other employees the same way in the future.
    Originally posted by RecoveringCurmudgeon
    Then I suggest leaving an anonymous review on Glassdoor. A tribunal probably won't achieve any of that, even if you win. If you lose, whoever treated you unfairly will feel even more empowered to do the same to other employees.

    Losing you and the value of your work should be punishment enough.
    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 6th Dec 17, 1:21 PM
    • 4,249 Posts
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    TELLIT01
    • #8
    • 6th Dec 17, 1:21 PM
    • #8
    • 6th Dec 17, 1:21 PM
    If you have suffered minimal loss financially, I would let it go. As has been said above the costs both financial and emotional of any form of court action can be high. Also if the tribunal comes to the conclusion that the action has been brought simply to get back at a previous employer and you lose, could you be liable for their costs?
    Much as it may be an admirable sentiment to want to protect others in the future, you need to think about what is best for you both now and in the future.
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