Dismissed an employee(21 Posts)
Help needed please. Very small business owner, had an employee work for me 2 days per week for 8 months.
The past 2 weeks she has taken in authorised leave from work which caused me huge issues for cover. I had already refused her leave for the first week as full allocation of staff was already on leave.
This person messaged me on the week she was refused leave for and said they wouldn't be in due to other commitments one being a family issue but she was not dealing with it until next weekend when she should next be at work.
I took the decision at that point to let her go as I seriously can't run a business like that. Last night I have received threats from her family to 'come and see me' and that they will slander us on social media. I have blocked and reported them on fb but fb is not interested.
They intend to take me to tribunal as I did not give her previous warnings. I am prepared to take whatever is coming but just wanted advice on what may happen next and what legally she can do?
Would appreciate any advice.
OP So sorry to read you have had this experience. Stories like this make my blood boil when so many would be so grateful to have a job these days.
-On the limited info you have provided, it doesn't seem as if there would be much valid legal recourse here for your now ex-employee. You really would need to have done something quite shocking to see this get to a tribunal when they have only worked for 8 months, I would not take that threat too seriously for now.
- The problem for you immediately though appears to be threats from family members?
-Have you communicated these threats to your team on site just in case? Reported to police? I would strongly advise you t do so and store all messages/threats received just in case you need them later.
-Was your employee contracted, provided with your full requirements and expectations regarding hours of working? Sickness reporting procedures and such?
-I would advertise and re-fill the position as a matter of urgency and chalk this up to experience. It sounds like a lot of hot air/ignorance of the law and will hopefully fizzle out soon.
I hope you find a replacement soon!
It is possible that there are procedures you should have followed to dismiss this employee ( even if she was taking the piss)
However, as she was only there for 8 months It doesn't really matter, she can't take my action unless she has a protected characteristic such as Race, sexual orientation etc
As for the threats soak to The Police about that
Thank you for your advice. Yes my team have all been advised if they turn up not to engage with them and to call the police should they attempt entry.
Stupidly I don't really have (or should say I didn't have as an working on them today) formal procedures for sickness or absence as it's a very small business and not something that has ever been an issue until now. I don't know if this will stand against me. Stupid of me I know but in general I have a great small team and this sort of thing has never arisen before.
Basically the family have said small business or not you didn't follow procedure. Which I know they are right however I won't be blackmailed into employing someone who failed to turn up for shifts. I just have a niggling feeling I could get thrown over the coals here.
I have not contacted the police as yet as I don't think there is enough 'threats' as such for the police to take notice. I have screen shots of everything sent (I never responded to any) before I blocked them from my business page.
My stomach is in knots.
No protected characteristics no - she is just a young lass who works on her days off college.
Im not sure legally but imho if as a boss you havent followed procedure e.g giving her warnings I think that falls on you.
She can say that you didn't follow procedure (if you didnt) but she can't say anything about the business as it would be slander.
However as you have been threatened by her family I would contact police.
I'm assuming you have a solicitor for the business they should be able to help.
What was in her contract about notice from both sides? No disciplinary procedure at all? Hoppingreen is right about the protected characterists.
There was two of us in our business and we had policies and procedures, more than the people hiring us, so that is no excuse. Make sure you get up to speed and get those in place pronto.
Everything else, report the threats and forget. If they turn up call the police.
Im not sure legally but imho if as a boss you havent followed procedure e.g giving her warnings I think that falls on you
It does but a small business can use the academic guidance as best practice without any formal procedures.
Which would say this is gross misconduct as the employee failed to turn up for work after being denied leave.
Surely as anyone can be let go under two years' employment, for any reason, then there's no 'procedure' at all to be followed?
If she didn't turn up and didn't contact you, she went AWOL and effectively broke her contract with you.
At less than 2 years service, she's unlikely to be able to lodge a claim anyway.
If you let an employee go(before being in employment for 2 years),you need to pay to them 1 week notice and final date of employment is when the notice run out.So if you pay at the ned of the month,include 1 week worth of pay and send P45 immideately after pay run.
Thanks for that I will get that done and include all holiday pay owed and take whatever is coming to me.
There shouldn't be anything coming to you.
She has not been with you long enough to claim unfair dismissal. On the information you have given, it doesn't look like a discrimination claim would fly. Provided you have complied with her contract (e.g. paying her notice period, holiday accruals, etc.) she can't claim wrongful dismissal. Even if you didn't comply fully with the contract, you may be able to argue that she has committed a fundamental breach of contract so you are no longer bound by it. I can see no basis on which a tribunal claim by her has any chance of success.
Refer their threats to "come and see you" to the police. If they do slander you on social media you can issue a notice to the website demanding that it is taken down. You can also take action against them for libel, although that is expensive so, unless they are persistent, it is probably best to limit yourself to getting the posts taken down and getting a solicitor to send them a threatening letter.
Surely if you don’t turn up to work that is a sackable offence? What else did she expect?
don't worry, she sounds a chancer.
The fact you have threats made against you will work in your favour if she tries to make a claim. Even more so if you go to the police, because then it is on record.
OP I would as a cautionary measure inform the police with your accompanying screenshots now. This needs to be logged regardless of any HR/Employee
dubious rights they may believe have been breached. If nothing else you still hold a duty of care to your existing employees, if you have this logged it would be far better now than later.
As for anything coming to you, as previous posters have stated, as long as you have not behaved in a discriminatory way (& let's face it after 8 months there is little to be levied) and can prove her non attendance and holiday refusal I am pretty sure you have little to worry about.
It's been a while since I last worked in the UK and I've only ever worked for large corporations, but basically: you need to take the position that her refusing to turn up on extremely short notice after being denied leave constitutes gross misconduct.
After 8 months she has no real recourse especially if she has no gp note / reason for leave, and would likely never get as far as a tribunal provided there has been no discrimination. She will have to look at mediating via acas first, and that should also be your next step, they will advise on best practice here.
They also have lots of practical advice on their site for setting up some simple employment procedures. I agree as a small business you can state simply not turning up is grounds for gross misconduct proceedings, but it’s best to have a policy for all staff, even those of under 2 years employment. You don’t have to go mad but their best practice guides will give you some templates for basic policy on discipline, absence and dismissal.
Lastly I’m assuming you have some business insurance, check and see if employment disputes are covered it’ll give you some peace of mind if they are.
Otherwise, block everything on social media, let your staff know to be aware, and report any further harassment or aggressive behaviour.
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