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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by pangar, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. I recently crossed swords with a fly-by-night company from which I was keen to part company, not least because they will soon be inspected. They beat me to the punch by calling a meeting with no prior warning at which I was not offered the opportunity to have a witness present. I was then 'let go' without any attempt to adhere to due process (ie offered a right to reply, a formal appeal... etc). I should clarify that I had only recently signed a new contract!
    As I have been seeing a few consultants for some some time for stress aggravated- if not stress induced- ailments, I realise that I can take my claim to a tribunal even though I was not working there for two years. What concerns me is that me union has refused to answer my calls or emails, despite assurances to the contrary.
    Has anyone else had this sort of problem? If so then I'd like to hear from you. As I said, I am glad to part ways with such a company but I am annoyed that I am now short a reference and I lost out on a few months salary at the worst time of the year (ie I offer private tuition but that dwindles away to almost nothing during the summer).
  2. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Was the reason that they let you go due to disability discrimination then?
  3. You need to get on to regional office at your union.
    If they don't help then seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor specialising in employment law. They will be able to tell you what your chances would be in bringing a claim. You are in a complicated situation due to your illness and it being a new contract and you really need someone qualified to give you the right advice.
    Good luck.
  4. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    You need, indeed, to speak with someone qualified in employment law. If the union are not responding, you can fer good free advice from your local CAB. If you check your home insurance, you may find you have legal cover onthat.

    I can give general information about unfair or wrongful dismissal, if that would help, but cannot give specific advice because I am not yet qualified.

    Have you been working continuously for the company in contracts that pre-dated 06 April 2012? If so, qualifying period for unfair dismissal is one year, not two. If dismissed without statutory or contractual notice, you may have a claim for wrongful.dismissal. No qualifying period applies for that because it is common law breach of contract. Similarly, no qualifying period for claims.s made under Equality Act 2010. How do you know your illness amountsbtw to a disability under the law? Can you then prove that thedisability was the reason for the dismissal?
  5. Well, life sure is full of surprises. All that I reported happened a few months back. Nothing much happened since then but the past 24 hrs have been interesting if nothing else. Suffice is to say that I had better keep my powder dry here after.
    What is interesting generally is that unions seem so reluctant to tackle grey areas, especially when you are employed in a less than traditional role. I take the point about the qualifying period for making an application to an employment tribunal- but I have been suffering from a variety of convoluted stress aggravated symptoms for some time, and I have enough supporting documentation- from reputable consultants at two inner London hospitals- to grant me immediate access to a tribunal on the grounds of discrimination (ie it's not my fault that this line of work has adversely affected my health!).
    Another bizzare fact is that getting a CAB to see you is a victory in itself these days. Where I lived last they pretty much only handle benefits and extradition cases and where I am now they will not open the door to you unless you have submitted the forms in advance and made an appointment. Small wonder then that more and more employers are behaving so badly. They are as you would expect to be- but it is harder to make allowances for unions that talk the talk to get you to join and then refuse point blank to walk the walk when necessary. Frankly, what disgusts me most is that the merits of one's case don't seem to matter all that much to some unions, enthralled as they are by the maxim that serving the greatest need of the greatest number will see them right!!!
  6. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    You need to prove that they discriminated against you on the basis of your disability, not just that you have a disability.

    It sounds like you are out of time anyway if you say it happened months ago. Why post now for advice?
  7. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    I might be being dense here, but I still don't understand why you think you might be able to take a claim to tribunal for discrimination. What discrimination have you suffered as a consequence of your disability? Does your illness amount to a disability in law? The definition is precise. A claim for discrimination must be brought within 3 months of the discriminatory act. Any claim for unfair dismissal similarly must be brought within 3 months. it is therefore likely that you are,already out of time. If what you actually mean is that you think you may have a personal injury claim for stress induced illness, you need to have a read of the recent thread about this. It is difficult to succeed because you have to prove that you have met the tests for all four elements of a claim in tort. No lawyer, union or otherwise, can help if you don't have the evidence.
  8. While I would love to get into details to answer some of the questions, my hands are tied to a certain extent.
    As to whether or not one can proove that one has been made ill by a workplace culture, the problem often is that it can be difficult to prove a direct causal link. In my own case, I felt obliged to work through a minor illness a few years back, thus falling victim to an auto-immune neuropathy that can kill you in certain situations. The other conditions have been diagnosed at a reputable inner London hospital, which generated a four page account clarifying what is at issue.
    The irony is that while completing an initial course in counselling I realised that 'supervision' would significantly reduce the levels of burnout within teaching- but that would require a curtailment of the seemingly all pervasive macho management techniques and the apparently widespread belief that stress and effectiveness are interchangeable words!!!
  9. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    So we can help how?
  10. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Ok, so we are actually discussing a personal injury claim then, not a claim for discrimination. You have to be able to prove that 'but for' the school's negligence you would not have suffered the illness. It is also not enough to show that you became ill through work. You have to prove that the Headteacher breached his duty of care for you. If you.can prove causation but cannot prove breach and reasonable foreseeability, you lose.
  11. Pangar - it may be worth you applying to tutor for the OU. I used to tutor one of their courses and they are very good employers - I always felt very valued by them and they are very good WRT disability.
    I know that doesn't solve your problem with the agency but if you can't resolve that then it could be a way of moving forward.

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