Breach of Contract

(32 Posts)
offtocornwall Mon 10-Sep-18 15:05:39

I have just had a bizarre recruitment experience that has left me quite shaken and in need of advice.

I applied for a job up in the Lake District. One of our favourite places. I had a phone interview with the recruiting manager and we really hit it off. Two days later she asked me to attend an interview. I drove over 300 miles from our home that day and attended the interview. It went very very well. As she walked me out she gave me the thumbs up and said she just needed to run this past her boss and would be in touch very soon. All good. Very excited. Lots of discussion with DH but ultimately we decided that if I was offered the job , I would jump at it and we would both relocate.

The next day the recruiting manager sent a couple of texts (this in itself I find strangely familiar and a little unprofessional but perhaps that's just me being old fashioned) saying she was just clearing things with her boss. The day after she sent me a job offer.setting out pay, bonus and a relocation allowance. It contained the sentence. 'All approved and able to offer you the role of xxxxx the current salary is xxxxx etc. .. our office manager will call tomorrow with the specifics. All this was text however I called her on receipt of this message and accepted. I also reconfirmed my start date already discussed at interview . I explained I would now book accommodation for next week (this week) - she agreed this would be appropriate.
Next day no call from office manager. I called but my call was not picked up.
This continued twice more. With the third attempt being dropped.

The next day I am called and ask if I mind talking to one of the senior managers. I was happy to do so and very happy to have some contact. RM said everything fine just crossing ts and dotting i's. The manager called and I spoke to him for about 5-8 mins about my previous work placements. I mentioned I had already had a (unconditional) job offer and start date. He said he would 'feed this back ' 🤔....

The next day I received another text message saying they couldn't offer me a position. (But they had already offered it !) and she would be in touch. Still no phone call.
An explanation arrived in the early hours of the same morning from the rm saying that the senior manager worked at the same company as me (contractors) and he doesn't trust me as my 'version' of my work is not as he believes to be true. !

I have never met this man. Never worked for him. I made enquiries and it transpires that he has made a stratospheric rise in his career path over the last two years. To where he is now.
We did work at the same place however he was in a very junior position. (= think admin officer in accounts) Whilst I was an account director in a completely different part of a very large business.

References from this same business were taken up prior to interview and came back 'glowing'. The RM told me this before I even arrived.

I have still not spoken to anyone. The late night text included an even more bizarre 'threat' not to argue about this decision or they' would have to refer it to legal.' (It was very strange, especially to receive it at that time of the morning. Who texts their employees at 12.20 am ?

The only communication I have made is a request for my accommodation to be refunded. This was made by email and responded to immediately with a request for bank details. Still no one has called and spoken to me.

I am very upset by these events , the terrible communication, and what feels like being sacked before I've even started for something that not only have I not done but haven't even had an opportunity to be directly accused of or defend.

Have these employers breached my contract. ? Do I have the right of redress. ? Have I been libelled. ?
I am that angry about the basic lack of courtesy that I feel like taking this further. Not a single bloody call in the last 2 working days.

Btw this employer is not a small enterprise. It's a large 'annex ' to a huge London based public institution.

Any advice welcome.

OP’s posts: |
MissConductUS Mon 10-Sep-18 15:17:21

Legally, a contract requires an offer, an acceptance and a consideration. You seem to have all three.

If you have small claims court available to you I'd file a claim for your travel and accommodation costs. They'll get notice of the claim and then refund it to you to avoid the court case.

ShrodingersSturdyPyjamas Mon 10-Sep-18 15:20:57

I suspect the bloke doesn't want people to find out he was a mere admin bod.

StealthPolarBear Mon 10-Sep-18 15:26:09

That's awful

itbemay Mon 10-Sep-18 15:35:39

I agree with ShrodingersSturdyPyjamas I think that is what it is all about... perhaps he has lied about his previous jobs and is desperate not to be found out, all seems V odd though. I'd be inclined to drop it but also want some answers.

offtocornwall Mon 10-Sep-18 16:18:24

Thank you everyone. This has been a very strange experience. I have been a contractor for many years and saw this permanent job come up that would fit my skill set to a tea. It is also in a beautiful part of the country and we are currently in the overpriced SE. Last child has only a year left of A-levels so we thought this opportunity was perfect. (I would weekly commute for a year whilst DH stayed home - then he would join me when dd left for University). I'm a getting a little long in the tooth for the precarious life of contracting and was so thrilled to have this plan for the last decade of my working life.

Then this weirdness happens. ! Thank you for your replies. I also had an idea that this 'director' has maybe lied or embellished his CV and doesn't want anyone there who may of known him from a past life ! The thing is , I wouldn't have been any the wiser if he just kept quiet , but it appears he 'knows' me and 'doesn't agree with my version of events' ... that's such a peculiar thing to say. The only thing we discussed on the phone with regard to this particular business was my specific role and duties. Neither of which, he would have any connection or knowledge of and neither of which are open to interpretation 'of a version of events'

I do have an offer. (Copy kept. ) I did 'consider' and then I 'accepted'.

I have drafted an email with the chronology to the RM formally asking that they honour my contract or compensate me accordingly. I am obviously upset about the job and the whole new adventure but I am most unhappy to have been accused of lying and 'dismissed' in a 2 line text.

I should also copy in others within the organisation as, at present this is all between the RM and me. Who should that be ? HR ? CEO ?

OP’s posts: |
offtocornwall Mon 10-Sep-18 16:20:48

Auto correct 🙄 ...to a T . Not tea !

OP’s posts: |
MissConductUS Mon 10-Sep-18 16:26:18

I do have an offer. (Copy kept. ) I did 'consider' and then I 'accepted'.

Just for clarity, "consideration" in the legal sense is something of value, usually money. In your situation the consideration was the salary or wages they offered in return for you performing the job duties.

Sorry you've been arsed around like this OP. Getting hired anywhere is usually an ordeal and the "director" would have been a constant irritant if you had taken the job. Keep looking - try the job sites like indeed.com. Something will turn up.

If you can get an email address, copy their legal department. If not, HR.

offtocornwall Mon 10-Sep-18 17:16:14

Doh ! Thanks MissConductUS if I had thought about it, then I would have realised that 'consideration' was the legalese for the dosh being offered .. yes, there was a 'consideration' . Quite specific . Salary + bonus % + £ relocation package.

Does it matter that it was by text message. ?

Am I being unreasonable in asking for them to honour my contract as agreed or compensate accordingly?

OP’s posts: |
ShrodingersSturdyPyjamas Mon 10-Sep-18 17:31:10

I know you aren't as vindictive as me but I'd be inclined to respond with 'I have no idea how this person would have worked with me, I was in a senior role and he was a junior in admin and our roles never crossed paths.' I'd also copy a HR/senior person in if I knew their email address.

And then I'd leave it. Or at least only ask for the money back that you have spent on accommodation.

MissConductUS Mon 10-Sep-18 19:01:33

Does it matter that it was by text message. ?

Nope, not a bit. I won a similar small claims suit based on email.

And you're not unreasonable to ask them to live up to the contract (referred to as "specific enforcement") or your enumerable money damages if they do not.

NellMangel Mon 10-Sep-18 19:09:06

How awful and how unprofessional of them. Definitely pursue it.

LonginesPrime Mon 10-Sep-18 19:33:03

OP, I wouldn't involve the RM any more as they're likely to frustrate the complaints process to cover their own back.

If it were me, I would gather up all my evidence and go straight to HR/head office.

The RM is completely unprofessional and inappropriate and the senior manager is obviously an idiot, so query whether you'd want to work there anyway.

However, you should be compensated for your out of pocket expenses at the very least, and you should speak to a lawyer (or employment advice line/CAB) about the prospects of success at an employment tribunal.

Bombardier25966 Mon 10-Sep-18 19:45:09

Please don't issue a small claims. You need to follow the claims protocol and that includes a letter before action. Failure to do this would mean you get left with the costs.

It's a mess of a situation but in reality, until you start work you have next to no rights (and very few when you do). Your entitlement to notice pay prior to employment commencing is nil. You've no entitlement to interview costs because at that stage you were not guaranteed to get the job.

Pursue a complaint regarding the procedure. If you booked non refundable accommodation in order for you to start the job then push for that - it sounds like they are willing to pay that. Anything more is a goodwill gesture.

Namechangeforthiscancershit Mon 10-Sep-18 19:49:25

That’s awful. I don’t know what you can really get from them but the whole thing is pretty dreadful and you definitely had a lucky escape.

I agree the director is trying to cover something up.

offtocornwall Mon 10-Sep-18 22:20:00

ShrodingersSturdyPyjamas. I think I am probably much more vindictive than you. ! I have become increasingly incensed by this injustice and especially the blanking and ignoring. They have made me feel quite grubby, like I'm the one who has lied on their CV and now deserve to be shunned.

I spoke to an Employment lawyer late this afternoon and she believes this is a clear breach of contract. My first move has been to write a chronological report of all that occurred attaching all the messages and to send this to the director of the department I would have worked for , along with the HR director. Requesting they honour my contract or compensate me by paying the statutory notice set out in the contract. (3 months).
This is apparently the standard remedy for a breach of contract prior to 2 yrs employment.
And no it doesn't matter that you've not started. !
She will take advice and advise on the character defamation tomorrow.

(I found I was covered for this on my car insurance So that's a result !)

OP’s posts: |
stressedoutpa Mon 10-Sep-18 22:21:16

I know you aren't as vindictive as me but I'd be inclined to respond with 'I have no idea how this person would have worked with me, I was in a senior role and he was a junior in admin and our roles never crossed paths.' I'd also copy a HR/senior person in if I knew their email address.

^ this

daisychain01 Tue 11-Sep-18 04:52:47

I found I was covered for this on my car insurance So that's a result !)

This is a game changer. At least you won't rack up a large amount of legal fees whatever the outcome of your claim.

The litmus test is whether your insurance panel solicitor assesses your claim as having > 51% likelihood of success winning your claim. You may be 'covered' but it does still need them to determine whether it's a strong enough claim, based on your complete account and sequence of events.

Haireverywhere Tue 11-Sep-18 05:42:39

Best of luck OP this sounds dodgy as hell and I think the late nights texting from them is so odd to boot!

StealthPolarBear Tue 11-Sep-18 06:05:12

Op if you're taking this further I'd have this thread deleted

VanGoghsDog Tue 11-Sep-18 06:29:39

Your employment lawyer is right, the poster Bombardier is wrong.
Except it's not 'statutory' notice in the contract, so don't use that word, it's your contractual notice in the contract they offered, you accepted and relied upon to make arrangements.

Statutory is that set in law and you'd have no, or very little, recourse there, you need to rely on the contract they gave you.

You should be going for all out of pocket costs, plus the contractual notice, plus your lawyer's costs. I'd drop the defamation, I doubt there's any sensible claim there, you're not famous, it's not been made public and you've suffered no loss as a direct result of that

ShrodingersSturdyPyjamas Tue 11-Sep-18 08:33:58

I think I am probably much more vindictive than you. ! I have become increasingly incensed by this injustice and especially the blanking and ignoring. They have made me feel quite grubby, like I'm the one who has lied on their CV and now deserve to be shunned.

Excellent.

Get the money and then send that email pointing out that you have no idea how he would know you.

NewUserNameTime Tue 11-Sep-18 08:46:41

Best of luck

Lotsalotsagiggles Tue 11-Sep-18 22:27:16

How bizzare, you definitely need to call this person out. It's only fair and he has ruined a great opportunity for you

VimFuego101 Tue 11-Sep-18 22:51:46

'I know you aren't as vindictive as me but I'd be inclined to respond with 'I have no idea how this person would have worked with me, I was in a senior role and he was a junior in admin and our roles never crossed paths.' I'd also copy a HR/senior person in if I knew their email address'

^^ this is great advice!

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