A good sense of right and wrong can tell you when you’re being treated unfairly at work - and being threatened with disciplinary action after refusing to take a pay cut is an obvious example.
Sales manager Rhona was left stunned when her employer gave her a stark ultimatum: go back to the role of a sales representative, with a significant pay cut, or leave. The move was said to be necessary after a ‘business review.’
After three years in her role Rhona had become disillusioned with her job and she was actively seeking alternative employment at the time. However, she objected to the ultimatum she was given.
It came just over six months after a TUPE transfer when the company Rhona worked for was taken over by new owners.
Rhona was shocked by the proposition put to her. She spoke to a colleague to seek advice. Her workmate said that the company cannot force her to accept the change of role and pay cut and she advised Rhona to raise a formal grievance.
Following the conversation Rhona submitted her grievance in writing. In summary, it was on the grounds that she was being bullied to accept a change of role and pay cut and being threatened with dismissal if she refused.
Two days later she was called into a meeting with the regional director, and a member of the HR team was present. There was no mention of the grievance, and instead Rhona was informed that the company had received two complaints about her.
Rhona asked for more details but was told that the company was not at liberty to divulge the full details at that point. Rhona queried if this was to do with her grievance. She was told it had nothing to do with it.
She was Informed that the allegations in the complaints are serious and would have to be investigated. Rhona was suspended from work for bringing the company into disrepute. She was made to hand over her pass to the building, laptop and car keys before being escorted from the building.
The following week the company had still not acknowledged receipt of Rhona’s grievance but it invited her to an investigation meeting, which it said was part of the disciplinary investigation process.
At the meeting Rhona was shown two heavily redacted emails, which were said to be complaints against her. Rhona later told our representative that both were similarly worded and alleged that she had provided deliberately misleading information to sales staff which had been given to clients.
Rhona did not understand the allegations and her plea for clarification was ignored. When she enquired about her grievance, she was told it was being dealt with.
After the meeting Rhona felt completely lost. She was in desperate need of help and contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for assistance.
After meeting with Rhona our representative contacted the employer regarding the grievance. He asserted that the grievance should be heard as a priority and any potential disciplinary action suspended until the grievance had been resolved. The employer agreed to do so and invited Rhona to a grievance hearing.
Prior to the hearing Rhona got some good news. She was offered a new job with a better salary. She told our representative that in the circumstances her desired outcome to the grievance was to leave with a settlement agreement and guaranteed reference.
At the grievance hearing our representative initiated a discussion about a settlement agreement, which the employer was happy to have. The initial disagreement about the financial aspect of the agreement was eventually agreed after some negotiation.
The disciplinary case did not proceed and the employer agreed to provide a reference, which helped Rhona to secure her new job.
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