Rejecting an unreasonable offer and getting a much better deal to walk away from a role
Published 06 September 2023
When Shannon was offered a tax free payment to accept an unfair decision to make her redundant, she was initially tempted to accept it.
On top of a statutory redundancy payment, the admin officer was offered an extra £1,500 to leave her job without going through the redundancy process.
Her employer said it was in financial trouble and needed to make job cuts.
Shannon, who had eight years’ service, could leave immediately if she accepted the offer and signed a settlement agreement.
She did not believe she had a choice, knew the money would help with the difficult financial situation she was in at the time, and felt she could get another job. Shannon asked for time to discuss it with her husband.
Her spouse was a former trade union representative and so knew instantly what was being proposed was not right.
He advised Shannon to reject the offer, which she did. But it was not the end of the matter.
The following day Shannon was unexpectedly called to a meeting with her manager and a HR advisor, which would later prove pivotal in this case.
Shannon was shocked to be told it was a protected conversation taking place under section 111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996. She had no idea what that meant.
It was explained it was to discuss ending her employment and what was said could not be used outside of the meeting.
Shannon pointed out she did not want to end her employment, and believed she had made that clear.
She was effectively told she had no choice and it was going to happen.
In what was presented to Shannon as a gesture of goodwill, she was told the tax free payment would be increased from £1,500 to £2,000. She refused the offer.
In the heated conversation that then followed Shannon was told that she was being stupid, would be made redundant and receive just the statutory redundancy payment. Shannon felt threatened and bullied, but stood her ground.
Quick thinking Shannon was so concerned about being called to the meeting, she decided at the start of it to secretly record it on her phone.
She later played the recording to her husband. He was furious and contacted the managing director to make her aware of what was happening.
He informed the MD of the recording, she requested a copy, and it was sent to her.
It resulted in Shannon being suspended from work for recording a conversation without permission.
She was told an investigation would follow and as the matter was so serious it could lead to summary dismissal without notice pay.
It was at this stage that worried Shannon contacted our Employee Support Centre for help.
In discussions with our representative Shannon accepted she had no future with her employer, but wanted to try to make the best of a bad situation.
Our representative supported Shannon to raise a grievance on grounds that included unfair treatment and bullying.
The grievance letter requested all other processes be suspended until the grievance was resolved, which the employer agreed to do.
An independent HR advisor was brought in to hear the grievance.
Our representative argued the secret recording provided evidence of improper conduct on behalf of the manager and HR advisor, which meant the protection afforded to such meetings was lost.
To support the assertion our representative highlighted the raised voices, ultimatum issued, threats, bullying and predetermined outcome to the redundancy process all captured on the recording.
He argued that in the circumstances any subsequent decision to dismiss Shannon, for any reason, could be considered to amount to unfair dismissal and victimisation.
The point was robustly made that the conduct of the employer had caused Shannon to lose all trust and confidence in it, and it had completely destroyed the working relationship.
Shannon’s desired grievance outcome to reach a suitable settlement agreement was explained.
Following the grievance hearing discussions and negotiations later took place and an agreement was eventually reached. It involved Shannon receiving a five-figure tax free lump sum.