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Urgent help needed - been sacked - any hr / employment law experts about?

(20 Posts)
keeplaughing Fri 03-Aug-07 21:09:45

Husband just been sacked today, sales job, has had disciplinary procedure sort of followed (sacking was not misconduct but not meeting some of his targets) but has been told he is not allowed to speak to any of his colleagues - is this allowed???

Sexonlegs Fri 03-Aug-07 21:12:33

Sorry to hear thia.

How long had your dh been employed by the company?

keeplaughing Fri 03-Aug-07 21:13:32

18 months

Ceebee74 Fri 03-Aug-07 21:13:37

Poor you and DH - how awful.

There is a 3-stage process that employers must follow otherwise the dismissal is automatically unfair - it is all outlined on the ACAS website - basically, a meeting with the employee to raise the issues, a hearing with management to decide whether to dismiss or not and then appeal - was this followed? Can he appeal against the decision?

Also, it depends on whether the company has set disciplinary rules that make it clear that not meeting targets would be classed as gross misconduct and therefore potentially result in immediate dismissal - rather than a series of warnings before dismissal occur.

Hope this makes sense - have had a little bit too much wine.

madmumof5 Fri 03-Aug-07 21:14:26

they cant say who he can and cant talk to!

how long has he been workin there?

did he sign a contract?

is it a big firm? ie well known?

Sexonlegs Fri 03-Aug-07 21:15:59

Sounds a bit tough. Had he had any previous disciplinary meetings?

keeplaughing Fri 03-Aug-07 21:24:59

Their procedure relates to conduct or performance - but it doesn't specify what level of 'underperformance' - it's all a bit woolly (funny that) but still - is he really forbidden to talk to colleagues ( who are friends as well)?? He had his phone / laptop removed immediately - but no warning of this in disciplinary procedure - god this is hard work, too much cider to type well. Basically I don't want him to put a foot wrong if any chance to appeal. Ps this is the first time I'.ve let him see mumsnet...he wants to know if dadsnet......

NurseyJo Fri 03-Aug-07 21:27:03

Message withdrawn

Sexonlegs Fri 03-Aug-07 21:31:05

I agree, see someone from ACAS or CAB. Someone needs to look at his Contract, the disc. rules etc etc to get a clear picture. Quite difficult to advise without seeing the documentation.

Was he officially invited to attend a disciplinary, given the right to bring a rep, told what the alledged issue was etc?

wannaBe Fri 03-Aug-07 21:39:55

Does he have a copy of the contract he signed and a copy of his terms and conditions of employment? Also, did his company have an employment handbook or similar that they would have given to staff? As it’s a sales job, often contracts are drawn up in such a way as to allow the employer to terminate the contract if certain things don’t happen, ie if targets are not met. Obviously this is necessary in sales because if you have a sales person who isn’t selling the you have to be able to do something about it, as no sales = no revenue for the company.

Taking his laptop/mobile is perfectly standard practice if a contract is terminated, this is to prevent him taking any information, i.e. names/numbers of contact, or sensitive company information such as sales figures, out of the company.

NurseyJo Fri 03-Aug-07 21:44:15

Message withdrawn

keeplaughing Fri 03-Aug-07 22:07:04

thanks for all your help so far -

disciplinary carried out as stated (ie verbal and written warnings, reps etc)he does have a copy of the disciplinary procedure.

no employment handbook from company
His contract talks to misconduct but not performance


he was working an area that had not performed in the past and has evidence of past sales years which he has exceeded ytd - from 2005 and 2006. His support did not perform - ie getting appointments / following up etc etc and has left the company and been replaced by someone who IS now doing the support effectively. The last two people who worked this area have left just before final warnings (both after being on disciplinary for not meeting targets)

We think the targets are probably completely unrealistic on past figures.

chocolatekimmy Fri 03-Aug-07 22:10:47

They should have a procedure for this type of thing and should follow it. If its for performacne they should set out the requirements early on and give adequate opportunity to improve. Usually set SMART targets on a 4 weekly basis and if no improvement then discipline (often starting at verbal or formal written depending on seriousness). If no improvement then escalate up the ladder and give another 4 weeks and so on and so forth until dismissal.

has he received adequate training, support ect. Has he agreed with the targets (if set) and are they realistic etc. Is there anything preventing him from carrying out his role etc. does he know what is expected of him in the role. Have they given him enough time and additional training if required in order to improve. All of these things could be used for an appeal.

Either he isn't performing to required standards or they just want an excuse to get rid of him (it won't cost them much if it goes to tribunal for unfair dismissal). Has anyone been dismissed for something similar?

Not sure about the not talking to colleagues unless he has signed a compromise agreement which is legally binding to pay you off to go quietly and you rescind all rights to pursue a claim of any sort against them. Often there is a confidentiality clause.

I hope he sorts something out and that this does'nt cause too much disruption.

Also, they should have given him a right to be accompanied in meetings and the opportunity to state his case/defend himself. Also need to be specific in the hearing invite, stating the exact reasons for disciplinary hearing and explaining that it could lead to dismissal. All these procedural points will be covered on ACAS website.

keeplaughing Fri 03-Aug-07 22:28:28

Thanks chockimmy - have looked at all docs we have. they have followed their procedure as you have outlined - he didn't take any other representative to meetings - The main point is that he didn't have adequate support to do his job ( and has repeatedly brought this up in review meetings) and his targets seem to have been completely arbitrary and at odds with whatever has gone before. This year td sales 100% over 2005 (the year before he started the job)All other targets (appointments, purchasing agreements etc achieved) Sorry will stop banging on now, just cross and know its unjust and want to fight back. He's been working like a dog.....

flowerybeanbag Sun 05-Aug-07 19:39:59

just to add it is perfectly possible there is a confidentiality clause as part of his contract which would prevent him speaking to people after dismissal - as has been said taking laptop/phone etc straight away is common and fair enough especially in sales, and the not talking to people is likely to be for a similar reason - not getting info about clients which he could use/not poaching staff as well.

If you appeal something like this usually the easiest and most successful way of doing it is by stating that the employer didn't follow the correct procedure - it's so common for employers not to follow it properly as chockimmy said, and obviously easier to prove to an appeal hearing or tribunal than 'what they said about me was wrong'.

Sounds as though they did follow a reasonable procedure though, so if your DH wants to appeal it he would have to do so on the basis that the targets he was set for improving his performance were unrealistic and he wasn't provided with adequate support to do his job properly, particularly as you say he did raise this regularly at review meetings.

Instinct is to fight back, but appealing on the basis of something like that will be very tricky and I think may be unlikely to lead to a different decision, fair or not. It sounds like they want rid of him and have been careful to go by the book to do it.

You could certainly put together an appeal based on those things, attacking not the procedure but the 'reasonableness' of their decisions and of their management of him, and it is possible the decision would be reversed by whoever heard the appeal.

However, if he does that, things to think about
1. Make sure he takes a union rep or colleague to the appeal meeting
2. This has happened because they want rid of him. If his dismissal is overturned, he will probably be put on a final warning instead, and if he puts a single foot remotely wrong in the next 6 months or however long is set, he will definitely be out, and as they want him out they are likely to engineer it (only more carefully) to make sure this happens. So it is likely to be delaying the inevitable.
3. If he appeals it, and fails, his next step is to take it to a tribunal. I would say it is unlikely that doing this would be financially worthwhile for a case like this where procedure has been followed, it would be extremely difficult to prove and his award even if successful probably wouldn't be worth the hassle tbh.
4. If his employers were the kind who were likely to pay him off rather than go through a long drawn out performance management process, they would have done it by now, so they are more likely to just delay it if an appeal is successful rather than chuck some cash at him to leave quietly.

(This is getting longwinded!). I have said this before and I always say it, best thing to do in any circumstance like this is take a minute to calm down, as first instinct is anger and an urge to fight. Then think about what outcome is best for your DH and you. Not what is fair or right, but what would be best for you. And then think how you can get there. Best outcome for your DH might not be to have his job back, even if it's unfair how he lost it. Only you and DH will know that, but these are some points to think about.

Rightly or wrongly, however badly an employer has behaved, it's not always about punishing them. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it's better for the individual to look at their personal circumstances and how this affects them and decide what would make them happiest, and that's not always what would be seen as 'justice'. As I say, up to your DH. If he does want his job back, at least to give him enough time to find something else so he can resign before being sacked again, it might be worth bunging an appeal in based on the things mentioned above, it might be successful, and if it means he can find himself something else and then resign head held high, that might well be worth it.

Sexonlegs Sun 05-Aug-07 21:10:26

Chockimmy, how bizarre that we are both HR Managers, living in Hampshire. I am 37 though !!

Keeplaughing, hope you and your dh are ok.

lilolilmanchester Sun 05-Aug-07 21:22:47

maybe you work for the same company??

rookiemum Mon 06-Aug-07 13:01:54

Flowerybeanbag I have been reading your post with a lot of interest.

Poor DH has been working for a firm for about 4 months and it looks like he is going to have to resign or be pushed out the door with a bad reference. They haven't followed any procedures and I am so mad on his behalf, he has had no induction, no coaching or training, no feedback until the bit where they said his performance wasn't acceptable and then within a week they are asking him to go.

Technically we know that they have not followed the correct process although because he is on probation I think its a bit easier for them, but what do we do ? Does he use vital energy up fighting it or instead concentrate on getting the heck out of there and getting a new job ?

It stinks it really does, the only good point is I'm so glad I went back to work albeit in a p/t capacity so at least with my income and our savings we have time for him to get a new job.

flowerybeanbag Mon 06-Aug-07 13:08:25

rookie he should probably resign. Til he's been there a year he has very few rights. They do not have to follow the procedure as discussed earlier, and he is only protected from arbitrary dismissal if he is sacked because of pregnancy/union membership or a couple of other things.

I would really advise him to leave if at all possible and as you say, use his energy in a positive manner improving his working situation and finding a better employer. The longer he stays the more significant a lack of decent reference will be.
If he leaves at 4 months a future employer will set more store in his previous employers reference, and he could pass this one off as a temporary contract or similar potentially, or even if he can't do that, he could be honest and say the job and organisation were not what he was led to believe at interview so he thought the responsible thing to do was to leave as soon as he realised and search for something better. Many employers would applaud such a mature attitude and be less bothered than normal by a short employment.

rookiemum Mon 06-Aug-07 17:46:22

Thanks for the advice flowerybeanbag, its really helpful to have someone not involved in it commenting on it.

I'm gutted that DH has to walk away from a perfectly acceptable well paid job, just because his boss is an idiot, it winds me up so much, but at the end of the day we have to pay the mortgage so I guess thats what has to happen.

Sorry keeplaughing don't mean to hijack, but I haven't got the energy to start my own thread, I feel really overwhelmed by all of this.

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