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Case Studies

Case Studies

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An unsatisfactory supermarket offer made better after expert intervention

Published 20 October 2022

Dealing with rejection and knowing you are no longer wanted is hard - and if it is from your employer it can be even tougher

Shocked Gina was told in no uncertain terms that unhappy colleagues did not like her, could not work with her, and she had to leave.

Gina, a supermarket manager, was informed by her area manager that staff felt bullied by her and were unhappy because she treated her favourite employees better than others.

After shocked Gina, who insisted she was always firm but fair, first received the bombshell news she contacted our Employee Support Centre for help.

Gina, who had worked for the supermarket chain for over nine years, told our representative she was given the news in an off the record discussion in line with section 111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

It was said she was widely disliked, could leave with a settlement agreement or face disciplinary action that will lead to her dismissal.

The offer was, she could leave immediately and be paid for her 12-week notice period and outstanding annual leave.

Stunned Gina denied the allegations, and rejected the offer at the meeting. She was then handed a letter inviting her to a disciplinary hearing.

The allegations were listed as bullying, unfair treatment of staff and loss of trust and confidence in Gina as a manager.

The disciplinary evidence against her came from five anonymous members of staff.

Witness statements were less than a page long, lacked sufficient details to enable Gina to fully respond and used remarkably similar wording.

Details and specifics to support the allegation e.g. what Gina did that can be considered bullying, when roughly an incident occurred and what amounted to general unfair treatment etc were not included.

Our representative felt this was a breach of the ACAS Code of Practice in the employer failing to provide sufficient information to support the allegations. And that it denied Gina reasonable opportunity to prepare to respond to the allegations.

His obvious concern, given the seriousness of the allegations was that Gina would not, and could not, get a fair hearing.

Our representative discussed with Gina the idea of raising a grievance given the unfair manner in which she was being treated.

But Gina said no, as she wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible.

The disciplinary hearing went ahead as planned. Our representative’s presentation dismantled and destroyed the case against Gina.

He was able to demonstrate how grossly unfair the process was and why any decision to dismiss would amount to an unfair dismissal.

What shocked Gina the most during the hearing was her employer’s willingness to try and defend the indefensible, and stubborn refusal to accept she was being treated unreasonably.

During a break in the hearing Gina told our representative she could no longer work for the company. She said she wanted to leave, but not on the terms offered.

Prior to the hearing reconvening, our representative initiated an off the record discussion.

It was explained Gina was prepared to now leave, but it would have to be on better terms than offered. The HR advisor insisted the terms were non-negotiable.

Our representative pointed out the actions of the company had strengthened Gina’s position should she have to pursue the matter legally, which she would do if necessary.

A derisory increase was made to the offer, which was rejected.

There followed a period of discussion and negotiation after which the company eventually agreed to pay Gina a five-figure tax free lump sum in addition to what it originally offered.

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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. 

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