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Employment Tribunal - Help

(44 Posts)
JelliedFeels Tue 12-Jun-18 17:55:16

DD has an employment tribunal on Friday and has decided she’s going to represent herself.

She had been in her job for 5 years and absolutely loved it. Whilst at the company she witnessed several batches of ‘cuts’ whereby the boss would get rid of the employees a few days apart and soon after one of their offices would close. At the time, she thought these were redundancies.

At the beginning of this year, she was called into see the boss where she was told he’d received a complaint from one of their clients. No details of the complaint were provided but the boss said it was so awful that it left him with no option but to sack her and this would remain on her record for the rest of her life.

She said she was so shocked she barely spoke but to ask repeatedly for details of the complaint which he point blank refused to share. She then got upset and he said because he ‘liked her’ he would allow her to resign there and then to avoid having her record tarnished. She responded with ‘you’re leaving me with no choice, this is madness’.

She was then frogmarched off the site and received a letter a few days later thanking her for her resignation and detailing her final pay.

She was absolutely heartbroken. A few weeks later she found out that several others had been ‘let go’ in the exact same circumstances. She then reached out to a few who had lost their jobs a while ago and it became clear that this was a bit of a trend. All had a mysterious complaint lodged against them that would end in their dismissal but were given the opportunity to resign and all did.

She decided to go through ACAS but the company kept insisting she had resigned freely so they didn’t have to follow any policies.

She asked some of the others who’d been let go to provide witness statements but the majority now work for another company that deals with the first company so they didn’t want to get involved.

A few weeks ago we bumped into the client who had supposedly complained. She approached DD and said how sad she was to hear she’d left. Apparently the boss had told the client that DD resigned to go travelling. The client knew absolutely nothing about the complaint but of course may have just felt awkward admitting it.

So now we’re at the tribunal stage. DD was supposed to have her solicitor friend represent her but he’s just lost his mum this week so she’s going to do it alone. She has all of the documents from her old boss and none of it relates to the situation, just some basic minutes of the meeting which can’t really be described as minutes really, more of an outline.

I’m petrified. She’s bizarrely confident. Any advice?

JelliedFeels Tue 12-Jun-18 18:16:28

That’s really long sorry.

stepbackfromthecircles Tue 12-Jun-18 19:24:43

Can she get anyone who knows the law and has the emotion taken out of it?

Guardsman18 Tue 12-Jun-18 19:28:38

Sorry if this is a bit silly, but would the client she was meant to have upset do anything?

Sounds a horrible situation

redexpat Tue 12-Jun-18 19:34:01

Bloody good luck to her I say. Sorry its nothing more useful.

JelliedFeels Tue 12-Jun-18 19:41:24

Thank you. I looked into getting someone to help but she’s refusing. She won’t even let me drive her to it, she’s so bloody stubborn. Is it going to be awful for her? I just have visions of some fiery solicitors ripping her to shreds, granted my only experience is of tv courtroom dramas though.

She did try and get in touch with the client but they’ve moved on, which is fairly normal for their business. She messaged through LinkedIn but got nothing back unfortunately.

AnnieOH1 Tue 12-Jun-18 19:49:49

That isn't what an employment tribunal is like at all - it's nothing like a court room drama. Please try not to worry, I'm sure she will be fine.

Myimaginarycathasfleas Tue 12-Jun-18 19:53:27

Not a lawyer but my gut feeling is that she needs to show that her employer has acted outside employment law. The Tribunal won’t be interested in “he said”, “she said”, they will be looking at failure of process. Hope all goes well for her!

msmsms Tue 12-Jun-18 20:05:21

Awful employer! Hope it goes well.

Wondering if she can somehow say that the employer had form for this type of behaviour... ?

Guardsman18 Tue 12-Jun-18 20:09:16

In my 'professional' opinion, I think she could cite (?) the way that other people have been let go, surely?

SalveGrumio Tue 12-Jun-18 20:10:38

Tribunals have been won on the basis of workplace journals, there isn't the need for criminal style evidence. They are looking for evidence, but "proof on the balance of all probabilities". People who lie are inconsistent under scrutiny.

There are lots of legal blogs written by solicitors that may help. Look at case law for similar cases.

Thesearepearls Tue 12-Jun-18 20:11:14

I think she should NOT represent herself

I'm surprised that the collective wisdom of MN (and MN is wise) has not said this before. It's actually ridiculous that she should be representing herself. Even if she knows employment law inside out and backwards - which she doesn't - she should NOT represent herself

It is a saying that a solicitor who represents himself has a fool for a client. Which is to say that the issues are too emotive even when you know the law.

You must not let her do this OP - can you help by stumping up for a lawyer?

jasjas1973 Tue 12-Jun-18 20:33:33

5 years statutory redundancy, assuming your daughter was on say £400 per week, would be approx £1600.

Employing a solicitor for a claim of this amount of money would be foolhardy, so have you legal cover with your household insurance? maybe your employer offers it or her BF/families insurance or workplace?
Would the former employer settle before Friday? the costs to them (if they have a solicitor) will be v high.

JelliedFeels Tue 12-Jun-18 21:24:47

She will not accept my help, I have offered to pay for a solicitor and I have tried to convince her not to represent herself.

Why are you so certain she shouldn’t represent herself, Pearls?

She says tribunals are made accessible so that people can represent themselves and she just plans to go there and be honest. I know her heart is in the right place but I just don’t want her to be crushed by this if it doesn’t go well.

If she loses, will she have to pay anything?

JelliedFeels Tue 12-Jun-18 21:25:58

She has included details of speaking to the others in her witness statement so even though it can’t be proven it can be raised at least.

JelliedFeels Tue 12-Jun-18 21:30:41

Does daisychain still post on here? I’ve seen her give excellent advice on employment matters, could really do with some reassurance otherwise I might have to lock my DD in the house to prevent her from going grin

SalveGrumio Tue 12-Jun-18 22:32:16

You can tag her @daisychain or maybe most in employment?

LoveProsecco Wed 13-Jun-18 08:50:01

How awful.

I think you should report your post and ask MN to move it to the Employment Board. Lots of knowledgeable professionals there including Daisy Chain

LoveProsecco Wed 13-Jun-18 08:50:18

Ps wishing your DD luck thanks

footballmum Wed 13-Jun-18 21:54:52

Your daughter will be absolutely fine representing herself. The ET process is designed so that people can represent themselves. ET judges are incredibly helpful to unrepresented claimants and will guide them through the process (and make many many allowances for them!) This is a straightforward constructive dismissal claim. It’s the age old “resign or be dismissed” argument. It is your daughter’s word against her boss’s and the judge simply has to decide which version of events he/she prefers. It sounds as though your daughter is confident and well prepared so I say go for it!

Worst case scenario she loses and walks away with nothing. Only in very rare circumstances will a losing party in an ET have costs awarded against them, for example if they have behaved unreasonably.

Good luck to your daughter-will you keep us posted with the outcome?

ChasedByBees Wed 13-Jun-18 22:37:21

Hope it goes well OP.

JelliedFeels Fri 15-Jun-18 13:31:39

Sorry I haven’t been back to update. I have been a nervous wreck all week while DD had nerves of steel, I have no idea where she gets her confidence from.

The tribunal happened this morning, it was scheduled to last all day. She was up late last night preparing and got the train this morning looking happy, I then paced up and down for several hours.

Her ex-employer turned up with a barrister and the HR advisor, so there were 3 men, all much older than her and very intimidating.

She read out her witness statement and the barrister began questioning the most minute of details which she said she felt confident in answering clearly because it was all true and reflected what had actually happened so there was no need to think or hesitate.

The barrister then read the employer’s statement which had been added to since she saw it last. It said that the complaint was brought to her attention and she immediately began crying begging not to be sacked and repeatedly said ‘I’ve fucked up, I’m such an idiot’ hmm She said this was the most difficult part as it was a complete lie but she had to sit there quietly and wait for it all to be read out.

She then asked her questions and felt defeated because everything was being answered with lies and other that saying she knew it wasn’t true, there was nothing else she could do.

The judge then took over questioning the barrister and employer and completely annihilated them. For almost each lie or inconsistency the employer had given, the judge had something from another statement or piece of evidence to show it didn’t add up. He quizzed them for a while and only asked DD to clarify a couple of things.

He then retired to consider the case and took less than hour to find in DD’s favour smile

They went through her losses and still the employer was being very challenging but the judge defended DD. He encouraged her to up some of the figures but she said it wasn’t about the money, it was about being vindicated. The judge praised her for being well prepared and consistent throughout and awarded her everything she’d claimed for.

As they were leaving the court, DD held the door open for her ex employer and he called her a ‘money grabbing cunt’ shock out of earshot of the others. She said she felt a bit bad up until that point and now she just feels smug grin

She’s looking forward to telling the others who were ‘let go’ in the exact same way. Hopefully the employer will be inundated with claims.

For anyone considering doing it without representation, DD was reminded by the judge that tribunals are set up to be done in this way and it works much better to tell your side of the story and answer questions readily instead of through a solicitor. The clerks and judge made it entirely painless and straightforward for her and probably more so than had she been there with a representative. Also, she would have had to pay at least 35% of her winnings had she employed a solicitor.

Thank you for all of the help on this thread flowers I’m thrilled for her and also a little in awe, I’ve no idea where she gets it from.

Autumnchill Fri 15-Jun-18 14:35:44

That us an awesome outcome and thanks for the update! You're daughter rocks!

My husband prepared for a tribunal which thankfully was settled in his favour prior to court but he was so nervous and anxious.

Lolimax Fri 15-Jun-18 14:41:27

This thread has just made me smile!! Your DD rocks!!

BrassMonk Fri 15-Jun-18 14:43:20

Well done to your daughter! The next hurdle will be making the employer actually pay unfortunately. It's common to have to hire sheriff officers etc. to collect the debt. But she can cross that bridge if she gets to it

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