Good evening.I'm a contractor with a company, and handed in my resignation 2 weeks ago.I got a confirmation letter from the firm, saying my last day would be September 4, as per my request.This Monday, with no warning, I got a letter which said a meeting had been convened to discuss notice for ending my contract on the grounds of under performance. I have never been warned about this before, and have been assured that my performance is favourable in the context of the team that I work in.I have an Employment liaison representative to accompany me into a meeting at 10.30am tomorrow. I have another job lined up in September to go to, and I am worried that this episode will compromise it, as the contract I've signed with them is subject to satisfactory references.Can you advise on what I should do in the meeting tomorrow?Many thanks
Province/Country relating to question: West Midlands, UK
I have consulted personal advisors and phoned ACAS, who were not much help.
I also sent a letter to ask for independent representation at the meeting, which was denied. I cannot talk to my line manager, as she is the person who drafted the letter.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer, how long have you worked for the employer for?
I've worked with the company since 7 November 2011, so 7.5 months
what notice period were you required to give under your contract?
have they explained what the performance issues are, given that they have said that your performance is favourable in the context of your team? What notice are they required to give you to terminate?
Hi Jenny.They haven't explained what they are - the letter just said that a meeting had been convened to 'discuss notice for ending your fixed term contract on the grounds of under-performance'.The contract was scheduled to run until 2 November 2012.They can dismiss me immediately if I am guilty of gross negligence.If they wish to terminate, they have to give me 4 weeks.
Ok thanks, If you have not committed an act of gross negligence then clearly they cannot dismiss you with immediate effect. As you have under a year's service they can dismiss you with notice for any reason so long as it does not amount to discrimination on the basis of sex, age, race, religion or disability. They probably have decided that they do not want you to stay in post for the duration of the notice you have given as it is clearly much longer than you were required to give. As they are entitled to dismiss you legally for any reason without recourse tactically you could listen to what they say and say that your main concern is your reference and ask them to agree your reference wording. If they can agree this then I think that this is something you will have to put down to experience. Whilst you were being honest with your employer about your intentions, honesty is not always the best policy as you have now found out. You should note that they are not legally allowed to give an inaccurate reference. If they do and you suffer a loss you would be able to sue them. I hope that this helps, if you have any further questions please ask.
10 Years of experience in Employment Law and HR
Hi JennyThanks for thatSo it wouldn't do any good if I went into the meeting tomorrow and said that I would be seeking legal advice?This is despite the fact that they have given me no warning, and I haven't had regular meetings about my progress.
I'm afraid it would be of limited use (if any). This is because until a person has worked for a company for 12 months there is no right to claim unfair dismissal. So long as you are paid notice there will be no claim that can be brought, even if the poor performance is fabricated. The only exception is if you can prove discrimination for one of the reasons I mentioned in my first answer, and this does not seem to be the case. This means that they are unlikely to be swayed by you stating you have taken legal advice. Your best option is to negotiate a good reference at this point. I'm sorry if my answer is disappointing but employees with less than a year's service are not well protected. All the best.
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