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Is there a case for breach of contract / discrimination ?

8 replies 287 views
Looking for some guidance:

I had a temporary contract with a recruitment agency on an assignment with a well known retailer. I started work on the 31st of August 2020 and I was dismissed on January 12th (yesterday). The temporary contract was on-going for a maximum of 9 months with no specified end date. I've read that after 8 or 12 weeks temporary workers have the same rights as those on permanent contracts. I was never late and I never had any warnings against me. Throughout my employment with the agency I often had shifts cancelled with a few hours notice. At the end of November I was asked to park off site and was told that all temporary employees need to park in the overflow car park which is 2 miles from site as opposed to the first come, first serve parking on site. The company did provide us with a coach to transfer us back and forth and it added an extra 30 - 40 minutes to my working day. I didn't think much at the time but after further research this may be a form of discrimination - giving clear favouritism to permanent employees at the expense of temporary employees. Certain temporary employees were given permission to park on site if they had children or other commitments.  

In addition, on our contract it states that either party can give 1 week's notice for termination of employment. The agency told me that my contract would be terminated on the day they notified me (January 12th) and I would be paid for 2 shifts as opposed to the 4 that I was booked for the week. If the notice period is 1 week, then surely I would have been able to work my notice or be paid for the shifts that were scheduled. To me this feels it could be a breach of contract. 

My question is, do I have enough evidence to form a case of discrimination / breach of contract against the recruitment agency ? I did ask for feedback and they said that I was on the list of temporary employees that the retailer wanted released and there was no feedback given. It is important to note that several of us were released (approximately 100) and that the recruitment agency has been highly incompetent from the start. 

Replies

  • edited 13 January at 4:25PM
    JamoLewJamoLew Forumite
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    edited 13 January at 4:25PM
    Anything less than 2 years employment they can dismiss for any reason (as long as it isn't for one of the recognised protected characteristics ie disability,age,gender,race)

    You may be due some pay
  • MalMonroeMalMonroe Forumite
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    Looking for some guidance:

    I had a temporary contract with a recruitment agency on an assignment with a well known retailer. I started work on the 31st of August 2020 and I was dismissed on January 12th (yesterday). The temporary contract was on-going for a maximum of 9 months with no specified end date. I've read that after 8 or 12 weeks temporary workers have the same rights as those on permanent contracts. I was never late and I never had any warnings against me. Throughout my employment with the agency I often had shifts cancelled with a few hours notice. At the end of November I was asked to park off site and was told that all temporary employees need to park in the overflow car park which is 2 miles from site as opposed to the first come, first serve parking on site. The company did provide us with a coach to transfer us back and forth and it added an extra 30 - 40 minutes to my working day. I didn't think much at the time but after further research this may be a form of discrimination - giving clear favouritism to permanent employees at the expense of temporary employees. Certain temporary employees were given permission to park on site if they had children or other commitments.  

    In addition, on our contract it states that either party can give 1 week's notice for termination of employment. The agency told me that my contract would be terminated on the day they notified me (January 12th) and I would be paid for 2 shifts as opposed to the 4 that I was booked for the week. If the notice period is 1 week, then surely I would have been able to work my notice or be paid for the shifts that were scheduled. To me this feels it could be a breach of contract. 

    My question is, do I have enough evidence to form a case of discrimination / breach of contract against the recruitment agency ? I did ask for feedback and they said that I was on the list of temporary employees that the retailer wanted released and there was no feedback given. It is important to note that several of us were released (approximately 100) and that the recruitment agency has been highly incompetent from the start. 
    I'm so sorry this has happened to you, I think you have been treated appallingly. If I were you I'd contact Acas and ask them what, if anything you can do. It's worth a try. Even when you are a temporary employee working for an agency you have some rights and they are not supposed to treat you unfairly. Info in this link -
      
    https://www.acas.org.uk/contact

    Good luck, I do hope you can do something. If it's only to make a formal complaint about that agency.
  • thebrexitunicornthebrexitunicorn Forumite
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    It sounds as if you were an agency worker. If so there is a right to the same level of pay, holidays etc as permanent employees doing the same job after 12 weeks. You should have the same access to parking from day 1.  I’m doubtful whether there’s much to be gained by pursuing that now.  
    .   If you’re an agency worker there’s no statutory right to notice so any entitlement is purely contractual. Does your contract specify working hours per week?  Does two shifts represent the average weekly hours worked? If not you could ask how the notice has been calculated.   The most that you would get under a breach of contract claim would be the additional two shifts paid. 
    Regarding the assignment being terminated, the company you were based at is entitled to end assignments when they wish.  I’m not suggesting it’s a satisfactory situation. 
        Any tribunal claim is likely to involve time, effort and stress and even if successful (which is not guaranteed) relatively little by way of compensation.  
    I would consider  joining a union so that in future assignments you have that support. 
  • edited 13 January at 11:17PM
    ThrugelmirThrugelmir Forumite
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    edited 13 January at 11:17PM
    Parking at ones place of work unfortunately is not a right. Where parking is limited allocation of space is prioritised in a structured manner. 
    The retailer no doubt is cutting overheads now that the Xmas bounce is over and lock down is here for the foreseeable future. That's the risk with temporary work. 
    “Far from seamlessly assimilating new ideas into our existing belief framework, research shows that we actually tend to get more firm in our cherished beliefs when those beliefs become challenged.”
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  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    It sounds as if you were an agency worker.
    Umm yes...

    I had a temporary contract with a recruitment agency


  • thebrexitunicornthebrexitunicorn Forumite
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    It sounds as if you were an agency worker.
    Umm yes...

    I had a temporary contract with a recruitment agency


    Spartan Saver refers several times to rules for ‘temporary employees’, which is a very different status from agency worker.  I made clear that my response was relevant to the latter only.  

    In response to the car parking comment above. There is indeed no right to car parking, but if permanent employees have that right then agency workers doing the same job should also have the right under the agency worker regulations. 
  • Spartan_SaverSpartan_Saver Forumite
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    It sounds as if you were an agency worker.
    Umm yes...

    I had a temporary contract with a recruitment agency


    Spartan Saver refers several times to rules for ‘temporary employees’, which is a very different status from agency worker.  I made clear that my response was relevant to the latter only.  

    In response to the car parking comment above. There is indeed no right to car parking, but if permanent employees have that right then agency workers doing the same job should also have the right under the agency worker regulations. 
    Thanks BrexitUnicorn. It all seems a little bit of a surprise as I was under the impression that we don't have many rights working for an agency. However as I was there over three months then according to my research I would be entitled to the similar treatment as a permanent employee, excluding the 1 month calendar notice for termination of employment. 1 week would be the norm. 

    Yes - the agency has been incredibly incompetent from the get go in every single aspect you can imagine. I think I will contact ACAS for advise. While the difference of money may be small, it is the principle of all this that really concerns me. 
  • Spartan_SaverSpartan_Saver Forumite
    48 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    MalMonroe said:
    Looking for some guidance:

    I had a temporary contract with a recruitment agency on an assignment with a well known retailer. I started work on the 31st of August 2020 and I was dismissed on January 12th (yesterday). The temporary contract was on-going for a maximum of 9 months with no specified end date. I've read that after 8 or 12 weeks temporary workers have the same rights as those on permanent contracts. I was never late and I never had any warnings against me. Throughout my employment with the agency I often had shifts cancelled with a few hours notice. At the end of November I was asked to park off site and was told that all temporary employees need to park in the overflow car park which is 2 miles from site as opposed to the first come, first serve parking on site. The company did provide us with a coach to transfer us back and forth and it added an extra 30 - 40 minutes to my working day. I didn't think much at the time but after further research this may be a form of discrimination - giving clear favouritism to permanent employees at the expense of temporary employees. Certain temporary employees were given permission to park on site if they had children or other commitments.  

    In addition, on our contract it states that either party can give 1 week's notice for termination of employment. The agency told me that my contract would be terminated on the day they notified me (January 12th) and I would be paid for 2 shifts as opposed to the 4 that I was booked for the week. If the notice period is 1 week, then surely I would have been able to work my notice or be paid for the shifts that were scheduled. To me this feels it could be a breach of contract. 

    My question is, do I have enough evidence to form a case of discrimination / breach of contract against the recruitment agency ? I did ask for feedback and they said that I was on the list of temporary employees that the retailer wanted released and there was no feedback given. It is important to note that several of us were released (approximately 100) and that the recruitment agency has been highly incompetent from the start. 
    I'm so sorry this has happened to you, I think you have been treated appallingly. If I were you I'd contact Acas and ask them what, if anything you can do. It's worth a try. Even when you are a temporary employee working for an agency you have some rights and they are not supposed to treat you unfairly. Info in this link -
      
    https://www.acas.org.uk/contact

    Good luck, I do hope you can do something. If it's only to make a formal complaint about that agency.
    Thanks Mal - so many grey areas for temp / agency staff. The company is a great place to work for. So nothing against the retailer. Colleagues, managers and supervisors have been great with us. It's the agency that has been very incompetent from the start. I'll contact ACAS. Thank you for the link
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