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I think I am being discriminated against due to my age, meeting on Monday

(32 Posts)
Oldsu Sun 04-Jan-15 13:26:59

First time poster my daughter is a regular and told me that you are kind people and can advise me.

I will try to keep this short, I am 59 and have worked for my employer for 30 years, my job is that of account exec for a packaging company, I have 1 client but it is over a third of the companies business, my role is different to the other AEs as I manage my clients stock levels and it is (within reason) my decision what to print, when to print and how much to print, I have my own dedicated press and have more technical input than other AEs

5 years ago my company took over another company and moved all the office staff onto another site, I stayed behind as I need to be onsite, now due to costs and that fact that there have been redundancies it has been decided all office staff will come back to the main site and that will happen from tomorrow.

I was aware that there is a customer services manager but I have never had any dealings with her, my line manager has always been the production manager and he takes over the account when I am on holiday ( I have never been off sick but would report any sickness to him if I ever was)

A week before Christmas the CSM sent me an email basically saying that another AE would be taking over my account and that I would be assigned a few smaller accounts and this will happen from Monday when I would start training xxxxx and not to tell the client as the CSM and xxxxx would be visiting the client to introduce themselves sometime in Jan. The new accounts are very small and can be absorbed into other peoples work with no difficulty.

I printed out the email and am glad I did, there was an email trail which included a conversation between the CSM and HR too long to post but basically the CSM was asking HR if there was a way of getting rid of me as and I quote 'I don't want to have to work with some old bag who has been here for donkeys years and will be set in her ways' HR told her to be careful as there are implications in making someone my age and with my years of service redundant and they wouldn't be able to replace me BUT she would back her up in any decisions she made.

I instigated a meeting with the MD who at first told me he didn't get involved in account management, when I showed him the email he went a bit white, I also told him that I cant train xxxxxxx until the client has been informed as I have to get onto the clients data base and had to sign a confidentiality clause with them, the only other person who can use their systems ie the production manager has also had to sign a CC therefore we risk losing the client if their conditions are not met. I was polite and firm but said I believed that I am a victim of age discrimination and I was being set up for possibly redundancy and that I am quite prepared to take the matter further if need be.

Just before I left work on 23/12 I had a phone call from the production manager who was furious, he has told the MD we WILL lose the client, there will be a meeting on Monday with him, the CSM and the MD and he will be pushing for me to be a part of his production team rather than the customer service team so I wont have to work for the CSM

I love my job I don't want to lose it, but if things cant be resolved I may have to quit before I am forced out, if I do will I have a case for age discrimination and constructive dismissal.

Sorry this is so long but wanted to get the facts down

HungryH Sun 04-Jan-15 13:33:41

I have no legal advice except that the fact that this CSM carelessly emailed that should give you a very strong bargaining position to design your job... How rude and naive to dismiss your skills and experience like this. Had she even met you? I'm guessing it won't be much fun working with her though. Not that that's your fault of course. Shouldn't she get a disciplinary for that... Although the HR person isn't going to be on side either.

Best of luck. Hopefully your long employment record will stand you on good stead.

FishWithABicycle Sun 04-Jan-15 13:41:02

No specific advice but you are right to be concerned. Don't quit - that puts you in a bad position. Keep written records of everything. You are right to object to your responsibilities being changed to become less significant and more likely to open you up to redundancy. However, it's good business practice for your employers to train up other workers to be able to work on your account - all businesses should be set up such that things can keep running smoothly if a specific employee goes under a bus. If you've been working there 30 years you would be very expensive to make redundant and they are unlikely to be actually planning this. I don't think you are actually a victim of age discrimination until you have evidence that your hierarchy status, remuneration or development opportunities have been different because of your age. It's good news that the MD went white when you showed the email - hopefully he will take it seriously enough to knock the developing discriminatory plans on the head so it never comes to anything.

agnesnott Sun 04-Jan-15 13:44:00

You have a very good case. You should speak to the ACAS help line first thing in the morning and your union if you have one.
Even if you don't want to leave get proper advise maybe from a solicitor if no union. I would think that email gives you a really strong bargaining point!

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 04-Jan-15 13:47:17

No, no no - do not quit.

he will be pushing for me to be a part of his production team rather than the customer service team so I wont have to work for the CSM

So hopefully he will resolve this and you can put a grievance in for the actions of the CSM and their behaviour towards you, as evidenced by the email.

Worst case scenario you get a compromise agreement and a payoff. And make copies of that email!

Viviennemary Sun 04-Jan-15 13:52:27

Don't quit. You certainly can raise a grievance owing to the abusive language in the e-mail. In theory if you are made redundant your job should not exist. It just can't be given to somebody else. That e-mail is certainly enough to go on alone.

Patilla Sun 04-Jan-15 13:57:32

Do not quit. See how it plays out.

It seems that you have a strong hand here and the support of people who can make a difference.

Oldsu Sun 04-Jan-15 14:08:07

Fish, there is already someone who can take over from me if I get hit by a bus thats the production manager, and I would lose my status I would go from being in charge of a an account that is a 1/3 of the companies turnover to someone who works with minor accounts that can be absorbed into other peoples workloads quite easily if I was made redundant.

And yes I have copies of the email I forwarded it to my home email account

peggyundercrackers Sun 04-Jan-15 14:43:07

I would put in a grievance about the csms behaviour and language towards you with the email as evidence. No matter what they have said to you since you got the email I think their plans are still to get rid of you albeit in a different way. Until the grievance is sorted out I wouldn't be agreeing to any change they want.

grumpyoldgitagain Sun 04-Jan-15 15:34:08

If your account is worth a third of the company's turnover how would the company's nearest competitor feel about employing you and the customer moving there business with you to your new employer

Not suggesting you do that, but you could and is something you should keep at the back of your mind

I think I would sit tight and if you can when you have your meeting have a phone or dictation machine about your person to keep a recording of it in case they say something discriminatory or intimidating that is otherwise not on record and deniable

Millerpup Sun 04-Jan-15 18:01:32

This is terrible, but in the long run may have done you a favour.
Do not Do not Do not leave...
Get a copy of your company handbook and raise a grievance regarding the e mail that was sent to you. The individual that wrote this comment about you should not be in a senior position within the company and HR should also be taken to task ref their comments.
The MD went white because this could have serious legal implications against him and the company as the comments could be seen not only as ageism but also the first steps to constructive dismissal, which is why you must act on it.
If you are not in a union then you must speak to someone in acas, in the meantime their web site is full of useful information about the law, ageism and what is actually defined as constructive dismissal and they will tell you what your next step should be.
Good Luck

HermioneWeasley Sun 04-Jan-15 18:04:36

Why would you want to stay in an organisation that would treat you that way? Thr MD has seen the email and presumably not disciplined or removed the sender or HR so you have a clear message of how you are valued.

Now you use this to leverage a significant settlement agreement.

Nydj Sun 04-Jan-15 18:53:29

OP, what do you want to happen in an ideal world? Do you want to stay or leave? As others have said, you do have some options on how to proceed depending in what your preferred outcome is. If you want out then you can say that you cannot work in company where senior managers have expressed such awful things about you and HR have said they would support this person. You can then seek a settlement agreement which includes the wording of an agreed reference from them.

If you wish to stay, then whatever you do, you must not lose the incriminating email. You can ask for an agreement in writing to say that you will never, under any circumstances, have to report to the individual who wrote the email about you and they will not be in your chain of management either. You may also want to consider whether an apology would be appropriate and whether the company should consider sending this person on some equality training.

Good Luck.

Oldsu Sun 04-Jan-15 19:37:26

To be fair to the MD I only told him about on the 23rd and we were closed from that date until tomorrow, he is not that's hands on hence why he first said he didn't get involved in account management decisions until I showed him the email, he must have got the production manager involved as he really runs the factory which is why the production manager phoned me

I am not sure what to do if on Monday before any meetings she wants xxxxx to sit with me and me start training her, all I can do is say I cant until xxxxx has signed the confidentiality clause. However I would have thought she and her team will spend the morning settling in to their new desks

Good thing is that I am normally in at 8am and should have chance to speak to the PM before the CSM arrives and see what I should do until any meetings are held.

Thanks for the replies thus far

Selks Sun 04-Jan-15 20:08:46

Good luck for tomorrow Oldsu. Stay calm and strong and don't let them railroad you. Let us know how you go on.

Selks Sun 04-Jan-15 20:09:53

Oh and don't hand over your copies of the emails. Photocopy a set so that if they want them you can hand those over and keep a set yourself.

HamperNoShow Sun 04-Jan-15 20:14:05

That is shocking!

Good luck tomorrow! (And don't quit!)

whattodoowiththeleftoverturkey Sun 04-Jan-15 20:23:47

Good luck tomorrow. I would let CSM manager know that you are awaiting clarification from your line manager before changing your work responsibilities.

ImperialBlether Sun 04-Jan-15 20:33:00

This is terrible. However, some people are suggesting you shouldn't want to stay - try saying that when you are 59, in a job you really like and know damn well your age will go against you when trying for another job. Why should the OP want to make herself redundant?

OP, I am worried you have some identifying features here and would advise you to delete the thread asap and contact ACAS first thing tomorrow.

Selks Mon 05-Jan-15 22:22:45

How did it go today, OP?

Oldsu Tue 06-Jan-15 23:54:54

Nightmare 2 days Monday started off with the production manager telling me an email had been sent to the csm saying no changes to account personnel would be allowed to happen until she had a meeting with the MD.

Only she either didn't get it or totally ignored it as she sent the other account exec to sit with me for training at this point she hadn't even spoken to me not a hello or anything.

I just told the other ae that I couldn't show her the client database as she hadn't signed their confidentiality clause, she went running to the csm and I am afraid we had a few cross words, I didn't tell her that I had already complained to the MD, I didn't tell her I was told about the mail sent from the MD, but I did say talk to the MD as you cant go against client instructions I was then subjected to some nasty abuse.

She went into the meeting later and was still there when I left.

Got called in this morning I have been promoted to Account Manager for that client and I report to one of the Account Directors and not to the CSM
no more money alas. I have made an official complaint about the email that I saw between CSM and HR and also about the abuse I got this morning.
No-one in the sales office is talking to me and I think its going to be a bit tough until things settle down but at least I have my job and my client so I am happy thanks again for al your replies

Oldsu Tue 06-Jan-15 23:56:02

sorry yesterday morning

FishWithABicycle Wed 07-Jan-15 07:24:08

That sounds like at least the senior people in the company have their heads screwed on right. Well done.

Hopefully the discriminatory employee will be either given some intensive retraining on how to not be an arse, or will be managed out, and all will be ok.

FunkyBoldRibena Wed 07-Jan-15 07:42:14

Excellent. Just let them get on with their ignoring. Twats.

bluebell345 Wed 07-Jan-15 08:00:59

happy for you oldsu and wish you all the success smile but so angry to that csm really, how immature, she needs to go to an equality course.

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