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Unfair Disciplinary!? Trade union?!

(10 Posts)
SquishyCookie Tue 25-Feb-14 23:55:07

Hi all,

I'm really needing some advice, it's a bit of a long story so feel free to look away now...

I started with my company in Sept 2012. It was a sales job, as in there was a target, but not there was a lot of paperwork and other responsibilities apart from my target.

I was advised when I started I was advised my target would be "8" per month. After I started I was advised it was "8" in order to receive commission, but needed to hit "15" per month, but not to worry as it was achievable. I was initially told my probation would be 3 months, my first month I hit 5 sales, then 13, then 12. At the end of the three months I was advised my probation was being extended to 6 months, because they have been stung before that people did well to begin with and got signed off probation, but then lost interest. In the next 3 months my figures were all over the place. 6 month probation meeting came and went and they were extending it to 9 months, as it was not consistent, but I would have monthly meetings to check progress.

Month 7 I hit my target of 15! Month 8, the big meeting was approaching whether I would get signed off probation or not, stress levels were through the roof, and visible to everyone. I moaned about it to make sure everyone knew it was getting me down and felt picked on and singled out in comparison to my predecessors.

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, which I discussed with my employer and handed the information over when I started employment, in March/April my joints were getting worse. I put it down to stress and took pain killers, rested at home as best I could with two small children!

I had a massive seizure at the end of May (month 8) The neurologist put it down to Zyban tablets and stress. I ended up being signed off for 6 months, no driving, and ended up on Methotrexate for my arthritis (low dose chemotherapy injection) - it wasn't a great time, I spent a lot of time in bed and being sick etc.

I returned a month early and staggered my return, using annual leave to cover my days off. I was then back on the phones, making meetings with clients etc - this was December 2013, but I had to start afresh as all my pipeline sales were taken by others while on leave. I ended up on 2 sales in December, 9 in January and this month I hit 12. I'm extremely proud of my achievement but my area manager was not, to the point that in my 3 month review on Monday morning I was advised that I was being taken through the disciplinary process as I have only hit my target for 1 month since I started.

I was given a letter saying that I had to attend a 'Investigation meeting' on Tuesday, 24 hrs notice to prepare. Anyway, I had the meeting this morning. I was told that my manager needed to go away to confirm the points I made and would have a decision on whether it was going to go to a formal disciplinary hearing. At 4:45pm tonight I get a call from her advising that "As per the meeting today, obviously it will now go to the disciplinary meeting" - It's this coming Monday and I'm allowed a trade union rep, but I don't have a trade union.

Although I only hit target once, I was always paid my commission on sales I completed. Now I am back from sick leave, I have not been paid for my sales upon return, and I'm being sent to a disciplinary at the first opportunity.

The other point is that in comparison, there's is no person who does my job like for like and in the same situation. The only person is my manager, who has been there 6 years, has been full time, inherited big companies to do work with and has built up her sales area over the years, not months. In fact I did the maths and like for like pro-rated I did more than my manager in my first 8 months.

I spoke briefly to the equality advisory service who mentioned discrimination arriving from disability and breech of the equality act and breech of contract/company policy.

I am seriously stuck now, I have to face this meeting on Monday, I have no idea what to take to the table other than what I told them today.

I don't know employment law enough to speak confidently, and knowing how thorough my company are at arse covering, I can only assume they would be three steps ahead of me anyway. Should I sit back, take the disciplinary or fight it to the end?

If anyone could be of help to me in the slightest I would be ever so grateful!!

Thanks :-)


AlpacaYourThings Tue 25-Feb-14 23:59:45

Have you discussed the situation with ACAS?

What support has your line manager offered you to help you hit target?

What 'soft' warnings have you had that you haven't been achieving prior to being taken to a disciplinary hearing?

SquishyCookie Wed 26-Feb-14 00:12:38

I haven't spoken with acas as yet, stupidly enough I refer people to them in my job role not call them about myself!

My manager sent me on a one day sales course. And also to a internal course for the product. When I started I was given the usual two week induction.

I wasn't given any soft warnings or mention of a warning, until yesterday when I was expecting a 3 month review and got given this lot to deal with.

DramaQueenofHighCs Wed 26-Feb-14 00:18:11

If you don't have a 'trade rep' you may take a family member, work collegue or friend along for support although they may not speak on your behalf unless to clarify stuff.

I had an unfair disciplinary at work once (They thought I was skiving when I had time of for my son being ill and stress) and you also have to be careful these things are find 'by the book' as mine wasn't. If you want some support of what to expect and look out for feel free to PM me and I'll look up my research from when it happened to me.

EBearhug Wed 26-Feb-14 00:23:23

Have you got a copy of your company's disciplinary procedure? If not, that's your first task of the morning, and then ACAS.

I think you still have a right to be accompanied, who can be a colleague if you're not part of a union. You also have to be given reasonable notice of a disciplinary, so you can prepare, but I'm not sure what counts as "reasonable" (they're also not meant to delay it unnecessarily.) ACAS should have advice on this.

Good luck.

AlpacaYourThings Wed 26-Feb-14 08:16:58

In my previous workplace there had to be at least 5 working days notice, I'm not sure if that is the rule or if it was their choice.

Rockchick1984 Wed 26-Feb-14 08:34:14

Dramaqueen is incorrect unfortunately - if you don't have a union rep you can take a colleague, but there is no right to take a family member or friend. Occasionally companies will allow it, but it's very unusual.

From the sounds of things they should have given you more soft warnings, they should offer further training if you feel it would be beneficial, however ultimately if you are in a sales role and consistently not achieving your targets then it will eventually go to disciplinary for capability.

You say that your pipeline sales were taken by others while you were absent - do these colleagues achieve their targets? As obviously if no one / most people aren't hitting them there's an argument for them not being realistic or achievable, but if most people manage it then it's not a problem with the targets.

flowery Wed 26-Feb-14 09:40:29

How do you feel your contract, company policy and the equality act have been breached?

Do you feel you need reasonable adjustments because of disability in order to do your job?

As you have less than 2 years service, you can't claim unfair dismissal unless you are dismissed for a discriminatory reason.

DramaQueenofHighCs Thu 27-Feb-14 01:23:32

Rock chick - you are correct - I just meant that there is no harm in asking. When I talked to ACAS they advised me to push to take someone along it's just that if they are not a rep they are not allowed to speak or take part in the meeting, just be present.

DramaQueenofHighCs Thu 27-Feb-14 01:25:57

(But I will also point out that part of my problem was anxiety issues so it may have been that this was advised on those grounds.)

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