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I'm an employee in the United Kingdom; I placed a grievance about my manager and a member of HR after an incident took place.

Instead of my managing director investigating it fairly she is communicating with both of the people I have placed my grievance about in an attempt to shut the grievance down.

I've now got copies of their emails which shows they are now planning to get rid of me.

I don't know what to do as all I could do is appeal the decision but I know this would be closed down in the same way.

  • 6
    How did you "get copies of their emails"? – Moo Jul 28 at 7:34
  • 7
    How long have you been at the company? – Moo Jul 28 at 7:34
  • 4
    If you are in that environment - why would you want to stay? – Ed Heal Jul 28 at 7:46
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    @SolarMike if the OP hasn't been at the company for more than 2 years, they will have a huge uphill struggle to successfully claim anything when they make him redundant, emails or not. Also, the providence of the emails will be brought into question, so my comment asking about how they got the emails is one worthy of attention - I hope the OP didn't break any laws getting hold of them... – Moo Jul 28 at 8:35
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    @DaveGremlin as described, this isn't whistleblowing, it's just a regular complaint. – Philip Kendall Jul 28 at 13:34
16

Before even writing this, I upvoted @Gregory's answer, as I think it's succinct and addresses OP's issue. However....

OP, make a free appointment with Citizens Advice Bureau. They will instruct you on what to do next. Do this soonest.

If you use a computer (assuming you are an office or IT worker), make sure there is nothing personal on it that you might need later. Copies of CV? Personal Banking? Bills? All your favourite Dilbert/other cartoons or jokes? Browser favourites? Music collection? iTunes / Other? - deregister that machine now, while you have a chance.

We've all been told to do nothing on it but work stuff, but, hey? We're all human and we all do it from time to time. If you're terminated with prejudice, you will be leaving the office with nothing but your coat and bag and if you're lucky a kindly colleague might put any personal stuff from your desk into a box for you to collect later.

As stated in comments, make sure you forward and print any emails. Also get a copy of your employment contract AND copy of anything (employee handbook) which documents grievance and termination process. From this point forward, the best outcome would be you finding another job quickly and putting this behind you. Make sure you either get counselling or a least talk all this over with someone, else anger and bitterness will stay with you for a long time.

Read and reread the grievance procedure. If you are threatened with termination, counter with "So the next step is formal warning / Personal Improvement Plan....?" whatever it says. If they really want to get rid of you, they'll follow their own procedure to the letter, as not doing so will leave them open to a claim for unfair dismissal. (Not "constructive dismissal" - that's different).

If you do go down the legal route, seeking compensation, the most you're likely to get is pay in lieu of notice, and maybe another month or so on top - it won't be tens of thousands. Make sure you include your legal costs in any settlement.

As stated in another comment do not threaten to sue the MD. Your case is against your employer (the company). In fact don't make any threats. Just smile back, and get everything recorded (either literally, or on paper). While we're on the subject, if you have any kind of disciplinary hearing, make sure they give you at minimum a few days notice, as you're entitled to bring a representative with you. I would also suggest getting a small dictaphone for recording any meetings. Do so honestly and openly; it's to allow you to take accurate "minutes".

Do not sign any piece of paper without first taking advice. Don't fall for the "you have to sign this, or we can't process your last payment" lie.

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    +1 for Citizens Advice Bureau. I have a couple of friends who have received excellent employment law advice from the lawyers there. – Laconic Droid Jul 28 at 15:51
  • ACAS can also offer advice and are experts in employment law for both employers and employees – Ben Aug 5 at 11:19
10

I don't like jumping to this, but you next step is to talk to either a lawyer or legal aid.

They will know exactly your legal rights, and how to handle the fact you have copies of the emails.

You should avoid contacting anyone within the organisation about this until you have gotten advice.

  • 5
    Note that UK employees do not have any protection unless they have been employed for two years, hence the question in the comments. – Philip Kendall Jul 28 at 10:12
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    +1 for succinct summary. OP, make a free appointment with Citizens Advice Bureau. They will instruct you on what to do next. I stand by my upvote for this answer, but will add my own, as I have a little more than will fit into a comment. – Justin Jul 28 at 12:22
0

I'd like to suggest a different course of action

I've now got copies of their emails which shows they are now planning to get rid of me.

This sounds like your grievances have not been dealt with, and you're now in the firing line - Your job no longer sounds tenable. It doesn't sound like there's much you can do now to salvage this position.

I propose a solution for exiting the company with maximum benefit to yourself

Call a meeting with your Manager / HR representative.

Explain to them that you have not been happy with the way the grievances have been handled, you are now of the impression that they would like to let you go, and you have a suggestion that may bring things to a close to the best for all parties involved.

Explain that the way things are going are unpalatable for the company because

  1. There is the possibility of dragging out any grievance/termination process
  2. This could involve a court process (unfair dismissal / employment tribunal / etc) which neither side would necessarily be guaranteed to win
  3. There is also a fair amount of damage that the company reputation could suffer if they were named and shamed on twitter or glassdoor like review sites

To achieve a palatable and speedy resolution you would agree to

  1. Basically sign an NDA agreeing not to bad mouth the company
  2. You would cease work at a date suitable for the company
  3. You would nor pursue any interests through the courts.

In exchange for this you would expect the following:

  1. 6 months wages to be paid in last pay packet (you could start out asking for 9 or 12 but negotiate down)
  2. A favourable reference if asked not mentioning any bad feeling or circumstances leading up to leaving.

Please note: Anything they get you to sign for this should be looked over by a lawyer

-2

If you are covered by employment law which would make such a thing illegal, or create a civil liability, it is possible that they view your behavior as problematic AND are willing to separate / fire / terminate you as a result.

What you've done is file what should amount to two separate grievances, because the manager and HR person have two different roles and sets of responsibilities within the company. There are not a lot of circumstances in which this is the appropriate behavior, and most involve HR failing to treat what is a valid grievance in the appropriate manner for clear and obvious reasons. It's okay for HR to disagree, or to investigate and determine there is no infraction of the law or corporate policy. If that happens, usually you will be told an investigation took place and it didn't go your way.

In your case you are indicating that after filing what you believe to be two valid grievances, HR or the company then decided to retaliate, which is a violation of employment law in most modern countries. In countries where retaliation is illegal, this increases the risk of a civil suit and HR is generally very risk averse and won't do anything of the sort.

Based on all of that, I'd say we need a lot more information, including the broad nature of the grievances. Because if you filed a frivolous grievance, and you compounded that with a second grievance, separation is in the best interests of the company and probably perfectly legal.

-4

Go on google and search for "employment lawyer near me". That will find you a decent employment lawyer.

Then you can have a talk with your managing director. You can tell him that you didn't expect the company in a shoddy way like that - the fact alone that you are aware that he is acting in a despicable way might change his mind. You can tell him that what he is doing is retaliatory, and any bigger company would have guidelines that forbid any retaliatory action in such cases. And finally you tell him that you talked to an employment lawyer (using one of the names that google showed you) and they would be willing to take your case if you are laid off.

  • For the record, guidelines don't need to be followed. Any policies or guidelines that a company made up, can be simply ignored by the organisation. What matters is if the company acts within the agreed-upon contract and relevant laws. Also, the company not following an employees expectations is not really a useful point. – Gregory Currie Jul 28 at 9:40
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    This is a ridiculous escalation of the situation. Threatening the MD with a lawsuit could make the employee's situation so much worse, particularly if they have been employed for less than two years and therefore don't have any employment rights. – Philip Kendall Jul 28 at 10:15
  • @PhilipKendall a secondary grievance against the MD would be one less aggressive step - you would probably be looking for a compromise agreement at this stage - and you do not have absolutely NO rights until two years are up. – Neuromancer Jul 28 at 21:25

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