A helping hand to make a good recovery after the sickly feeling of being unfairly dismissed
Published 23 September 2020
An employee can be dismissed for any number of reasons but there are some decisions, such as the one in Dane’s case that can leave you dumbfounded.
The medical sales worker was sacked for failing to comply with company policy, in that he failed to attend a first performance management meeting while off work sick.
No previous concerns had ever been raised with Dane regarding his performance. So, the notification and timing to attend the meeting was a shock.
It came during what was an extremely difficult period for Dane. He had been at the forefront in raising health and safety concerns with management as an unofficial spokesman for staff.
The complaint was about the risk of danger with equipment the sales team were having to transport at the time, and undue pressure being put on them to work excessive hours
Dane felt the legitimate concerns were treated dismissively. This eventually took its toll and Dane went off work sick.
He provided his employer with a fit note for six weeks, which listed work-related stress and depression as the reason for absence.
Two weeks later he received a letter inviting him to a performance management meeting. It warned that if he failed to attend it would go ahead in his absence and he could be dismissed.
Dane, who had worked for the company for three years, informed his employer that he was not well enough to attend.
He felt he was being treated unjustly. Dane submitted a formal grievance alleging that he was being treated unfairly.
The company said it would deal with the grievance and performance concerns at the same time. Dane did not attend the meeting.
The following day he received a letter that said he had been dismissed for failing to comply with company policy in that he did not attend the performance management meeting when notified to do so.
The letter also said his grievance had been investigated and it had not been upheld.
Dane submitted an appeal claiming unfair dismissal. Dane also appealed against the decision to reject his grievance.
He was understandably angered by the injustice in the way in which he had been treated. Dane knew he needed help to challenge what had happened.
He contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for assistance. The case was pre lockdown and Dane met with our representative to discuss it.
Dane made it clear that he felt he had been dismissed because of the health and safety concerns he had raised.
He said that prior to that he had always received positive feedback about his work performance, so felt there was nothing to justify any concerns about his work.
Dane was able to provide evidence to show that he had repeatedly raised health and safety concerns with management in writing.
Our representative believed that Dane could be considered a whistle-blower and his dismissal considered to amount to unfavourable treatment for making a protected disclosure.
Prior to the appeal hearings, our representative requested a range of information, which he hoped to use to support Dane’s case. It included, the performance management policy, evidence of Dane’s apparent poor performance, the grievance policy and whistle-blowing policy.
The requested information, or in some cases lack of it, was crucial in helping Dane to get the outcome he wanted.
The many points our representative raised to support the appeal against dismissal included: no evidence being provided to justify the performance concerns; the unfairness of dismissing Dane the first time he failed to attend a meeting when he was off sick; failing to follow the ACAS Code in how the grievance was dealt with; and unfavourable treatment for being a whistle-blower.
The company did eventually accept ‘some failings in the process’ due to ‘miscommunication and misunderstandings’.
Dane’s desired appeal outcome was to reach a settlement agreement, which would allow him to leave without dismissal being on his record.
His appeal was successful, and he was able to leave in the way he wished.
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For employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 0333 772 0611