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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 44953
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I'm Matt. I need advice on wether I have enough grounds

Customer Question

Hi I'm Matt.
I need advice on wether I have enough grounds to make a claim for constructive dismissal.
I have no support from superiors, union or HR have various issues unresolved and its making me very ill.
I feel I'm being pushed out of the company and being penalised for following, promoting and enforcing company policies and procedures including H&S which I am passionate about being a H&S rep.
Too many accounts of bullying by colleagues and managers/ supervisors.
Yet have found myself more recently being accused of bullying in a counter-grievance to a formal complaint I made regarding a bully andu nion safety rep who didn't apply his responsibilities and subsequently put my safety and wellbeing at risk.
I have nowhere to turn, no idea what to do. Please help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben.
7.5 years
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks leave it with me please I will get back to you today with a full response
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There's a lot going on in work and I have raised a further 6 formal grievances this year alone. For various things.
One of them was in relation to an accusation of being responsible for a huge customer complaint. I wasn't guilty and stood my ground. However, after 3 investigatory meetings I was told by my manager that he was "pushing it for a disciplinary". A week later I was off sick from stress at work.
I was off for a month and only returned because they stopped communicating with my regarding it, as I had been asking for the paperwork and hearing date which had been promised for around February 17th 2015.
Nothing has come of it since, despite my requests.
My manager, who is a bully, attempted to put my on counselling for the complaint but I strongly said I wouldn't because I am not guilty not responsible.
There's just so much going on.
I'm somewhere inbetween giving up, and seeing how much more I can take.
My life is suffering and I'm not the same person I used to be.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your patience. This could potentially amount to constructive dismissal, which occurs when the following two elements are present:
• Serious breach of contract by the employer; and
• An acceptance of that breach by the employee, who in turn treats the contract of employment as at an end. The employee must act in response to the breach and must not delay any action too long.
A common breach by the employer occurs when it, or its employees, have broken the implied contractual term of trust and confidence. The conduct relied on could be a single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario).
In your case you may also be looking at a claim for detriment due to making a protected disclosure (i.e. whistleblowing). If you believe you have made a protected disclosure and as a result you are being treated detrimentally, that is when this is a potential protected disclosure claim (https://www.gov.uk/whistleblowing).
The affected employee would initially be expected to raise a formal grievance in order to officially bring their concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them. If the issues are so bad that the employee can't even face raising a grievance and going through the process, or if a grievance has been raised but has been unsuccessful, then they can consider resigning straight away.
If resignation appears to be the only option, it must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give an impression that the employer's breach had been accepted. Any resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without providing any notice period. It is advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal.
Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of resignation to submit a claim in the employment tribunal.
An alternative way out is to approach the employer on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under a settlement agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, although the employer does not have to agree to it so it will be subject to negotiation. In any event, there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them because you cannot be treated detrimentally for suggesting it and it would not be used against you.
Just to make a final, yet important point, that constructive dismissal can be a difficult claim to win as the burden of proof is entirely on the employee to show the required elements of a claim were present. Therefore, it should only be used as a last resort. Also it is impossible to say what your prospects of success are as that requires a formal case analysis, something only a lawyer that sees you in person can do, although the costs for getting one done will be much higher as you can imagine. Nevertheless, if you were to claim initially you would need to use ACAS to try and agree a financial settlement with the employer so the risks of claiming are low until you decide to make a claim at tribunal, should these negotiations be unsuccessful. Only then would you have to pay any fees, until then the process, including ACAS negotiation, is free.
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether you need further help or if I can close the question? Thank you