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Would you think this is silly?

(20 Posts)
scaryclown Wed 12-Apr-17 18:22:14

Hello,

A friend of mine is in a sort of ongoing dispute with his employer - he says that when he was working for a research company, he was in an all girl team, and was always asked if he was gay, including things like being made to wear pink headphones, and asked to fill in colouring books - which he was then told off for doing apparently. It all sounds a bit bizarre, but eventually,, he said that he was offered to go to zero hours, which he did, but then just didn't get offered work when the rest of the team did.

He's saying because they are all female (and the team was often referred to as 'the research girls') he has been discriminated against.

He's determined to take them to tribunal if they don't give him some compensation - which I suppose is kind of reasonable as he wasn't given work for nearly a year. He has struggled to find other work since, so I guess that's as much the motivator as anything else.

Does discrimination have to be directly linked to loss of earnings? Is it discrimination to just not ask one sex into work if there is work available, or are employers allowed to do that?

I'm not sure what to advise - part of me wants to say 'give it up' but then if I heard about an employer excluding women from the workplace but only asking men in, I would definitely think it was unfair. Is anti-men discrimination covered in the same way?

Neverknowing Wed 12-Apr-17 18:30:56

He should absolutely not just give it up. That sounds like horrible bullying, I hope he gets something out of it. These women sound Bitchy and horrible.

GahBuggerit Wed 12-Apr-17 18:34:03

Discrimination is discrimination. Did he raise a grievance or speak to his manager about the gay comments, colouring books (assume no one else was asked to do them?) and pink headphones (assume other colours were available) at the time?

Was he the only zero hour worker to not be offered hours?

MichaelSheensNextDW Thu 13-Apr-17 08:50:10

Why would anyone accept an offer to go onto a zero hour contract, let alone fill in colouring books at work confused

scaryclown Thu 13-Apr-17 10:00:53

Hello, thanks for the replies - so the zero hours contract was offered at the end of s fixed term contract. He was asked to go on it, and was also asked to come in the day after the end of his contract with the rest of the team, but then when he turned up his supervisor said 'what do you think you are doing here, go home, you aren't part of the team'

Apparently she also bullied another male team member by making 'baaa' noises at him (he was welsh). He says that she also used to bend over the desk and fart loudly, then say how her arse isn't what it used to be..

the colouring book thing was something to do with christmas, I think everyone was given presents and his was a colouring book that his supervisor kept trying to get him to use, so he did to keep the peace, and she then reported him to the boss for 'being unprofessional and colouring in a book which others wouldn't get away with' - my impression though is that it was on a sort of christmas day, when rules were relaxed anyway.

He also said that she was obsessed with one upmanship - he had access to layers of the database she didn't because of his job, so she badgered the IT guys to give her the same access even though she didn't need it.

Apparently she also kept saying he had put illegal monitoring software on his PC.

I think a grievance/complaint was raised, and the boss pretended some of it didn't happen, but he was promised that behaviour would stop - but it continued in a different way, with him not being asked in to work.

GahBuggerit Thu 13-Apr-17 11:01:51

He should absolutely keep on with this, how he's been treated is unacceptable and possibly does amount to discrimination.

Is he speaking with an employment lawyer? Has he got any evidence of his greivance, an email or notes from a meeting? Tell him to have everything documented into a timeline. Would the other male back him up?

Has his contract been officially terminated, either by him or the company? Has he received a p45?

Hope he gets somewhere with this, sounds like he's been treated awfully. If i was hr in that company I'd be pretty nervous about this.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Thu 13-Apr-17 11:09:56

How long ago did this happen? He has 3 months less one day to take a case to tribunal so is probably too late and even if it wasn't does he have the fees for a tribunal?

There needs to be more info about the grievance.

For bullying and harassment there's the alternative option of a claim via the civil courts but he would need to make a case and it's hard to win. He would need to allege damages and he accepted a 0 hours contract so it seems unlikely he would get much although there does seem to have been discrimination on the grounds of both sex and sexual orientation.

It may well be that in this case the most supportive thing is to encourage him to put it behind him and get on with his life. That doesn't mean what happened was acceptable - it absolutely wasn't - but the options to remedy the situation are very limited.

scaryclown Thu 13-Apr-17 12:50:47

Hello, so...
He's in time
A discrimination organisation are interested in taking the case on
He has legal aid
He can afford the fee for tribunal(just)
I didn't understand this bit, but there are two cases, discrimination AND victimisation, and an automatically unfair dismissal too, so it's sounding more positive.

I haven't seen these but apparently the employer have put in writing a load of things that are false, that can be proved as false, and also the tribunal can ask for that info, so it could be really embarrassing for his employer ..Do you think using the press is a good idea?

GahBuggerit Thu 13-Apr-17 13:05:51

I really wouldn't at this stage, it wouldnt bode well for him.

Stick to the legal route as thats showing he wants 'justice' for how hes been treated and not just out to cause trouble and get a fat pay out - IME a tribunal wont look favourably on this course of action.

A tribunal will want all relevant documentation in whats called a 'bundle' anyway so he will have to show any evidence he has.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Thu 13-Apr-17 13:12:07

Are you in Scotland then if he's entitled to legal aid?

If he's in time and has support and he doesn't think the whole thing will be too gruelling then yes it can be worth doing and he will need the support of his friend and family. It is hard but I know from personal experience sometimes you just have to do something for your own piece of mind... and I also know that sometimes it's best to leave it and go on to do well elsewhere. That's very personal and only your friend can know that.

They should go through the Early Conciliation service first and that's free. Your friend will need to tell ACAS that he plans to make a claim.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Thu 13-Apr-17 13:12:22

Gosh no, don't go to the press!

Emphasise Thu 13-Apr-17 13:19:13

dh made a claim for unfair dismissal and ACAS were brilliant, quickly got the company to see they couldn't win and helped negotiate a very satisfactory settlement without the need for a tribunal.

scaryclown Thu 13-Apr-17 13:31:52

Oh. That's not been his experience. ACAS didn't ask for info that would mean they knew the case.

I think the thing about 'doing well elsewhere' is the issue. Because he hasn't been able to rely on a reference from them , and has a year gap in being asked in, even though he's employed, he feels unemployable i think..As though the world of employment won't let him in. It's affected him quite badly to be honest. In his part time job, he was always worried that someone else would be out to get him kicked out of there as well so he would have nothing.

He was previously their highest performer, so its really sad, actually.

Aridane Thu 13-Apr-17 13:33:55

isn't he out of time for bringing a claim?

Aridane Thu 13-Apr-17 13:34:22

Sorry - just seen another poster has said as much

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Thu 13-Apr-17 13:41:39

ACAS do a variety of things so if he just phoned their helpline for advice that's not the same as contacting them to inform them he intends to bring a tribunal claim.

He needs to do the latter before he can issue his ET1. Then ACAS will contact the employer to arrange the service for Early Conciliation.

Have a look here: www.gov.uk/employment-tribunals/when-you-can-claim

scaryclown Thu 13-Apr-17 13:57:26

Why is he out of time?

confuugled1 Thu 13-Apr-17 13:59:17

Does he have legal insurance with his home insurance?

daisychain01 Thu 13-Apr-17 15:11:26

In terms of timing for Early Conciliation as the precursor to tribunal, scary your friend just needs to ensure that he has a clear idea of what date he will cite as being the event for which he wishes to take his employer to tribunal.

For example, if the "event" is discrimination, ACAS will need to know what the relevant date is (there can be additional incidents, he will need to choose the most significant incident and focus on that date)

Provided that date is within 3 months less 1 day he will be fine. If that time has elapsed, he has unfortunately left it too late.

daisychain01 Thu 13-Apr-17 15:16:38

Once you get into the EC process, ACAS spring into action very effectively, because it is the start of the legal process.

IME their Helpline is hit and miss. Some of the advisors are incredibly insightful and give intelligent responses specific to the individual person's enquiry. Others tend to be prescriptive to the point of irritation, they don't spend time actually listening, they just want to get their point across, which then ends up not being relevant iyswim.

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