We have summarised a number of genuine client case studies from ESP’s files and outline their stories below. We hope you enjoy and learn something practical and useful from them…
Our client, a producer of organic food parcels, received a complaint from a member of staff who worked as a delivery driver, regarding alleged bullying he had encountered at the hands of his fellow employees, in particular taunting and graffiti regarding his sexuality.
They sought the advice of the ESP legal team and were advised by one of their dedicated Solicitors to confirm with the employee whether he wished the complaint to be treated as a grievance under the company’s grievance procedure.
Our client held a grievance meeting with the employee and following an investigation of the allegations it was found that they were unable to identify the source of the graffiti, however, all members of staff involved in the taunting were formally spoken to and reminded about the company’s anti harassment policy.
Following submission of his grievance letter the employee had been signed off sick, therefore on completion of the investigation our client wrote to the employee inviting him to return to work. All the time our client’s personal advisor were advising them throughout the process.
The employee returned to work, however, within 4 days he wrote again advising them that the problem had not been resolved and he continued to be harassed by his colleagues. The employee went off sick again and refused to attend a further grievance hearing organised by our client. The employee resigned claiming constructive dismissal.
The claim was notified to ESP and handled from start to finish by one of the employment solicitors within ESP’s specialist litigation panel of law firms. The claim was settled prior to the Hearing for £15,000 and was fully indemnified under the insurance policy ESP had arranged for the client as part of their overall service programme with ourselves. In addition, all legal costs incurred were also covered under the insurance policy. Legal costs alone amounted to nearly £5,000!
Due to a downturn in business within the company an employee was advised that her position as a material planner had been selected for redundancy. The employee was given six weeks notice and dismissed. The employee appealed her dismissal on the grounds that an inventory controller’s role was very similar, however, it had not been pooled as part of the redundancy process.
Our client sought advice from their personal advisor, who advised that as part of the appeal they should re-undertake the redundancy process, including both positions within the pool. They followed the advice of their solicitor and the employee’s position still scored lowest, therefore the appeal was dismissed and the redundancy was upheld.
The employee brought a claim for unfair dismissal. Our client was fully supported to the full tribunal hearing, where it was established that they had followed the statutory redundancy process and the employee did in fact score lowest in the pool, therefore the redundancy was fair and the employees claim was dismissed. All legal costs incurred in defending the client’s position were covered by the insurance policy. Total costs came to approximately £10,000.
Our client owned a number of franchise shops. One day they noticed a suspicious reduction in business in one of the shops and an area manager was asked to make a surprise visit.
The area manager checked the till at cashing up time and noted that the till was “up” by £35. When questioned by the area manager, the employee confessed to borrowing money from the till on a regular basis due to financial difficulties. The employee was immediately suspended.
Our client sought advice from their personal employment solicitor. The employee was invited to attend a disciplinary hearing and advised that the allegations amounted to gross misconduct and could lead to him being summarily dismissed. During the meeting the employee denied confessing to the area manager and offered no explanation for the downturn in business. From the information gathered, our client’s employment solicitor supported the subsequent client recommendation to summarily dismiss. The employee appealed his dismissal, which was not upheld.
The employee brought an Employment Tribunal claim, alleging that his dismissal was unfair. He denied confessing to taking the money and complained he was not given sufficient notice of the hearing or advised that this could lead to his dismissal without notice.
When assessing the claim our solicitor noticed that although the letter inviting the employee to a disciplinary hearing was dated 1st September, this letter was not posted until 2nd and the hearing was held on the 5th September. This weakened our client’s position and the claim was eventually settled by us prior to the Hearing for £500 on commercial grounds.