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Freelancer - do I have any rights re bullying?

(2 Posts)
christinarossetti19 Mon 15-Jul-19 12:35:24

I'll try to keep it brief... basically I've worked in a freelance role for 11 years, increasingly doing more and more work for one particular national charity.

No complaints, good working relationships etc. A pay increase has been promised but not fulfilled for years - I have had a constant struggle to be paid for work that I've done. I was becoming increasingly stressed about this a few months ago and was sent some misleading information (a draft contract to comment on which turned out to not bear any resemblance to the actual contract at all, but I read in good faith and said I was happy with).

Simultaneously, another factor was introduced as what the pay rise was dependent on. The organisation has been trying to address this other factor for about 8 years with no outcome. I eventually managed to secure a meeting (I asked for a reasonable adjustment of supervision because I had been told that no-one in the organisation had the capacity to speak to me on the phone). Obviously, this wasn't given to me, but two people did agree to meet. At this meeting, I said that I needed to increase my income and I wasn't sure that I could do this within this organisation unless I received a pay rise. Knowing the history of the other factor, it looked at that point as though the pay rise was getting pushed further and further back.

A renewal of contracts is coming up, including a pay increase; this is not dependent on the other factor as I had been told that it was. I was asked if I am willing to sign the contract - I replied yes. I was invited in for a 'catch up' to be told that the organisation was considering not renewing my contract. The person made a number of unfounded accusations about me, told a number of lies and gave me no chance to respond. If I had been an employee, I would have stopped the meeting and suggested that we resume with someone else in the room. As a freelancer, obviously I don't have that protection, so decided that empathic listening was the way forward. I sat and listened for an hour to this person's quite persecutory account of how no-one listened to her, people won't get on board with her ideas etc. I thought by the end of the meeting that we had reached some sort of agreement about issuing me with a contract and could I put it in writing that I was happy to sign (again).

I did this, then received a long, rambling email making further unfounded allegations against me. For context, I think this person is struggling with their mental health and is very friendly with her line manager who doesn't performance manage her, so the project that she is working on is out of control . I appreciate that this is stressful for her, but it's not my fault!

It looks like they won't be renewing my contract, which is obviously their prerogative. It's a shock after 11 years, but the way things go.

I'm not comfortable about not addressing her bullying though. There is no point in me emailing her about it as she feels so persecuted anyway, but I don't know what to do.

Can I do anything? She can decide not to renew my contract just because she doesn't like me at the moment (historically, I've been the most supportive of her of all the freelancers, and have protected her from quite a lot of flak), but can I do anything about at least shedding some daylight onto her bullying and false accusations?


christinarossetti19 Mon 15-Jul-19 12:37:05

Sorry, that wasn't brief!

Basically, do I as a freelancer have any rights re bullying? It is on my personnel file that I have a mental health problem, but this has never affected by ability to do an excellent job.

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