June 9, 2020

business ahead during the Coronavirus Outbreak

Our client had an employee who had worked for them for less than a year.  They employed 11 people, all part time workers except for the management, CEO and the team manager. 

The client had no appropriate policies in place when they asked us to support them.  They agreed to sign up to our Basic monthly contract.  We then supplied a new Employee Handbook with new compliant policies and procedures.

This employee was currently off work ill and had raised an informal grievance with the CEO, as the grievance involved their manager.  They had been off work before our client introduced the new policies. Therefore, they had to hear the grievance using the old policies.

The employee was claiming that they had been bullied by their manager and other staff members.  The employee had been called to a meeting about her poor performance prior to going off work ill.

We advised the client that they should meet with the employee, for a welfare meeting, to discuss their absence, but this should not be done by the employee’s manager at this time.  We agreed to meet the employee on the client’s behalf.  At the meeting the informal grievance was discussed, and the employee intimated that they wanted to raise the grievance formally.

Solution:

The CEO met with the employee to discuss their grievance.  All discussions were documented copies of the notes were passed to the employee and their Trades Union rep.  The employee made several allegations of bullying against their manager and three other employees of bullying and harassment.

We advised the CEO to interview these four people and any other member of staff that was mentioned in the investigation.  We also advised that notes should be taken at these meetings.  We supported the CEO as notetakers at these meetings.

Outcome: 

The employee was invited to an outcome meeting and was advised that their grievance was not being upheld as it appeared from the evidence collected from the series of meetings that no bullying or harassment had taken place against them.  It was concluded that the employee resented being advised that their performance was not up to standard.  The evidence from the three employees stated that the employee was difficult to work with and would not accept any help or support and saw that as a threat to them.

The employee was advised that they could appeal the decision, which they did, in writing.

We represented the client at the appeal as they had no other manager who could do this.

The employee did not raise any new issues or advance on any of the issues that she had raised previously so her appeal was dismissed and the original decision upheld.

The employee did not return to work and resigned.  There was no Employment Tribunal raised as the employee did not have the qualifying two years’ service.

Learned

This was another example of management failing to address a performance issue when they should have.  The employee had performance and behavioural issues right from the start of her working with the client.  They could have addressed this if they had conducted probation meetings but did not.  They addressed the performance issues too late.

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