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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, Solicitor
Category: UK Employment Law
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Experience:  Expert in UK Employment Law
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I am an independent contractor operating through a Ltd company.

Resolved Question:

I am an independent contractor operating through a Ltd company. I was recently in contract at an investment bank. The IB uses a firm called Resource Solutions to manage all of it's HR operations including on-boarding contractors, conducting background checks, etc. I was in contract for a total of 12 months. I knew there were issues with the client -my hiring manager. Our style of working just didn't align. So it was no surprise when I was invited to a termination meeting and had my contract terminated. I was told to leave immediately and was given x weeks pay which coincided with my notice period. When I asked for the reason, it wasn't provided. I was told by the RS representative that the client was not obliged to provide a reason. I sent emails to some of the organisation's senior management including my previous manager to find out what the reason was but got no reply.
Since then, I was in the running for a number of positions. For one of them the hiring manager stepped away after my previous manager gave a negative opinion of me over the phone. Then another whereby it seemed as though the hiring manager was going to put forward and then after speaking to RS, came back and decided I wasn't the right fit. Some time passed and I made further attempts to find out what it was that I had done which was preventing me from further employ at the firm and still nothing. I then had another opportunity blocked which actually got to the offer and screening stage only for the offer to have been retracted after a "management decision". As "good will" they gave me 2 weeks pay but still didn't give me the reason behind it.
Overall, this has had a huge impact on me. The toll on my reputation, my ability to continue to earn and the personal life has been great. I'm sure some of my rights are being violated here but do not know how to get any answers. I just want to address the issue and move on but am powerless to do so without the information.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you acu

Ben Jones :

Do you actually know what has happened or is it still all just speculation?

Customer:

Hello. I haven't been told what the reason for the initial termination is. I was told on the phone by the Resource Solutions representative that this was a termination "without cause" e.g. I hadn't necessarily done anything wrong. With respect to the recent offer withdrawal, I received an email stating:

Customer:

"As you know, it is standard process for the previous hiring manager to be
contacted for feedback whenever a resource who has worked previously via
Resource Solutions at xx is being considered for a new assignment. Further to
this process and to internal xx management discussions, the decision was taken
to withdraw the offer of assignment made to you.



I would like to reiterate that there is not a process in place which would
prevent you from working on any other assignment at xx in the future. In
applying for roles in the future, you should be conscious of the process
mentioned above and that feedback will be requested on candidates who have
worked previously at xx and who are being considered for additional roles.
"

Customer:

There are a few other points worth mentioning:

Customer:

1) my hiring manager, a few days before the termination, did indicate that due to an organisational merger, my services wouldn't be required at some point in the future. All I took from this was that there would be a chance to have a "normal" handover and wind down of the contract. I didn't expect to be "black balled" from future opportunities.

Customer:

2) at the termination meeting, I panicked and didn't give back the client laptop even though I had it on my person. I had images of family that I wanted to remove. when I got home, I did this and then returned the laptop that same evening. this, I acknowledge as a mistake.

Customer:

however, they still haven't confirmed if I had breached any policy

Ben Jones :

Good morning, in relation to the initial termination, unless your contract stated that a reason for termination must be given, they could have terminated your employment simply by giving you the required notice period under contract.


 


The current issue is why have you been overlooked for certain positions where the opinion of the old manager has been sought. You can treat anything that person has said as a reference and in that case they will automatically owe you a duty to take reasonable care in the preparation of such reference. This basically requires the employer to be accurate in the contents of the reference and ensure it is based on facts, rather than personal opinion.


 


The problems that you may face with that would be due to the apparent lack of anything in writing or durable form, which you can refer to. If all opinions were given verbally over the phone, then it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prove that something negligent or incorrect has been said about you. It is possible to unofficially blacklist someone through verbal references because challenging this is very difficult - you cannot make a data protection request for the release of references as they are not in writing and you can also not prove what was said as there would be no recording of the conversation to back these claims.


 


So you are stuck in a position where the only way to challenge this is to make a speculative claim for negligence in the courts, ask those responsible to appear as witnesses and hope they are truthful in their evidence. The risks are that they may refuse to appear and a court may not necessarily grant a witness order forcing them to appear as witnesses, and even if they do not tell the truth, it would be very difficult to prove this was the case as you will not have any other evidence to show they were lying. So it is certainly not a claim I would recommend is pursued.


 


The best you can do now is try to gather any information from your initial employment that may provide some answers. You can contact them and tell them you are making a subject access request under the Data Protection Act and that you are requesting all personal information held about you by them. This may provide some insights into the original decision to terminate your employment.

Ben Jones, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 38680
Experience: Expert in UK Employment Law
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