Another one for the employment law experts

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  • Another one for the employment law experts
  • stealthcat
    Member

    Anyone know anything about constructive dismissal?

    The short version of the story is that I moved out of London 2 years ago. My contract at the time stated that I must live within 35 miles of the office, but the company offered to pay hotels and travel costs for me to work alternate weeks in London; the other weeks I would work from home.
    This went on for exactly a year before they got round to giving me an amendment to contract, which was to last for a year. The amendment basically formalised the situation I was already in, and nothing changed.

    I’ve now been told that the amendment will not be renewed, so I’m left with the options of either moving back down to London (which my boss knew I wouldn’t agree to) or handing in my notice as I would have to be in the office every week at my own expense (which I can’t afford, and I wouldn’t agree to the disruption to my home life).

    Some people have suggested that this could amount to constructive dismissal, but the 1-year amendment to contract seems to confuse the issue, despite the implied change of terms where I didn’t have anything in writing for a year.

    Anyone got any useful suggestions?

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    You don’t need T&Cs in writing eg if something has been accepted for a year, then it is considered part of your T&Cs even though it’s not in a contract. If you really want to fight it, you’ll proper legal advice.

    Personally, I’d just find another job. Fighting your employer is generally a last resort and doesn’t normally end well (you might win in a tribunal, but a lot of anger, hatred & bitterness is involved along the way, which isn’t good for your soul).

    b r
    Member

    There’ll be a reason they are not renewing – costs vs productivity or you’ve a new Boss (or Bosses, Boss).

    Either way, someone wants you out – ask your Boss what the ‘settlement’ is likely to be.

    And, DO NOT RESIGN, and don’t let them know that you won’t come in under your own costs.

    Legal-wise, no idea – but it won’t be worth it, so you need to work out how to get the most cash out of them while looking for another job.

    geetee1972
    Member

    It doesn’t matter what the issue is if you’ve got less than two years service you’ve got no resource against anything unless its on the grounds of discrimination against a ‘protected’ characteristic.

    Constructive dismissal, unfair dismissal etc they all don’t come into play until you’ve got two years service.

    Means that white, straight, atheistic men are the easiest target for such victimisation as you’ve got no card to play.

    Premier Icon dannybgoode
    Subscriber

    Could be considered an implied contract term (i.e one that isn’t written in to a contract but has been a normal part of working practice).

    It looks to me like they had an informal arrangement with you, realised that this could become an implied contract team so put it in the contract on a renew or not basis to leave their options open.

    Again, if a contract is renewed year after year there comes a point when a tribunal would look at it as though you are permanently employed (can’t remember how many times a contract has to be renewed before this becomes the case).

    A one year contract not being renewed or being renewed on altered terms is, as far as I am aware, allowed but with the year’s informality I’m not sure where that leaves you.

    If you want to fight it you’ll need to see a solicitor.

    As someone who has been through a complex unfair dismissal case I can tell you two things for sure – they’re a) expensive and b) stressful.

    bazookajoe
    Member

    No idea what your role/job/sector is but it may not have anything to do with trying to get you out. Maybe they’ve just realised the long term cost of putting you up in hotels and paying your travel to and from work. Don’t think i know anyone who has their work pay for their travel to and from work let alone ongoing payment to have them stay closer half the time. What’s the norm for everyone else you work with? Is anyone in similar situation or contract?

    Has anything been mentioned or implied about performance, or have there been any other issues with boss or colleagues? If not it simply may be cost. It’s crap for you, and they may be messing up on specifics, but are they being unreasonable? Would you be willing to give up part of your salary/benefits to enable the current situation to continue as a possible line of negotiation?

    How far do you live from work? How long is the commute? Do you need to get there at short notice and very fast hence the original ‘you must live within 35 miles’ bit in your contract (which I find bizarre unless there’s a time critical aspect of getting to work).

    Junkyard
    Member

    if you’ve got less than two years service

    The short version of the story is that I moved out of London 2 years ago. My contract at the time stated that I must live within 35 miles of the office,

    None of what you say applies

    Means that white, straight, atheistic men are the easiest target for such victimisation as you’ve got no card to play.

    Sometimes i wonder how I bear the burden of not being a minority.

    geetee1972
    Member

    Junky I miss read apologies.

    As for bearing the burden of not being a minority you have to have experienced the impact to understand. ‘I just don’t like you so I’m going to screw you over’or ‘you’re the easiest target to make redundant’ happen frequently.

    konabunny
    Member

    Sometimes i wonder how I bear the burden of not being a minority.

    It’s a struggle, mate, but what I’ve learned is that you just have to take one day at a time.

    Premier Icon unknown
    Subscriber

    What was your normal place of work as stated in your contract? There can be significant tax implications for paying expenses/accommodation for a normal place of work. Not to mention your colleagues wondering why their travel to work isn’t refunded. I’ve only ever seen it allowed for a secondment or a transitional arrangement, certainly never as a permanent set up.

    Edit – fwiw I don’t believe this constitutes constructive dismissal, but I’m not an expert in employee relations.

    grum
    Member

    Means that white, straight, atheistic men are the easiest target for such victimisation as you’ve got no card to play.

    Oh dear.

    project
    Member

    obviously the company realised how much it was paying/wasting to keep you in a hotel during the week, and now doesnt/cant afford to pay,so either redundancy or leave, or even dismissal for not obeying the rules of your contract, they may just not renew your contract if its temp.

    ninfan
    Member

    When the original deal was made, was there any discussion about it being a trial or limited term?

    any emails/minutes from the time?

    Edukator
    Member

    This thread is useless without TJ.

    Premier Icon psling
    Subscriber

    Given the ‘proximity clause’ of which you were originally aware it looks more like your own constructive resignation than constructive dismissal to me… 😕

    Junkyard
    Member

    Yes but they chose to ignore the proximity clause for 2 years so they will struggle to enforce it now IMHO but that does not mean they will be bound to pay his travel/accommodation as that could have been a temporary measure

    For example when relocated I get 3 years travel expense and that is it. I cannot claim it is unfair when withdrawn as that is what the original contract said
    I guess the problem here is that it is a non contractual clause that may have become explicit in Terms and condition. However one would need to see the paperwork at the time and the original contract to be certain.

    ‘I just don’t like you so I’m going to screw you over’or ‘you’re the easiest target to make redundant’ happen frequently.

    As a union rep nothing employers [ for balance nor employees] do surprises me but i have never seen actual discrimination to any group or individual.
    Gawd bless the public sector eh 😉

    FWIW the law is clear that discrimination can be claimed from the start of employment but that does not mean you cannot sack/make redundnat someone from a minority it just means you cannot sack them because they are a minority
    If HR are too stupid to work that out pr desal with it then they need to get better HR

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