Sacked after camp.

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by japseyewarrior, Sep 28, 2006.

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  1. I work for a university on a temporary contract which is due to end on the 4th Oct. I took authorised unpaid leave to go on camp but when I went back to work yesterday for staff training I noticed that my name was not assigned to any of the jobs for the forthcoming weekend which is a big earner. I approached my manager and she said that because I was away for two weeks "doing the army thing" I was not there to confirm that I would be able to work the coming weekend (I had already confirmed my availability for this weekend 2 weeks before going on camp).

    I was kind of in shock as I was not quite expecting that response considering I am one of the most experienced members of the team having worked the same 13 week contract for 2 years in a row, so did not make a fuss at the time (much to the annoyance of my colleagues who think it was damn cheeky of my manager). I phoned my direct line supervisor and she said that my name was definitely down to work this weekend and that she would have a word with her boss (my manager).

    I approached my other colleagues and it transpires that two of them had also not been given work, despite they had been there for the past 13 weeks and to top it off the university had employed other people with no experience to fill our places. The other two were given work although very much off the cuff doing bone jobs.

    Having pondered over why I was not asked to come back because I was away, I spoke with other colleagues and apparently they were given their weeks notice for the end of contract last week while I was away. I still haven't been given any notice despite the contract finishing on the 4th Oct (is notice still needed even though I know when the contract ends?).

    Having waffled on now, the point I am trying to get to is, was it legal/acceptable for my CoC to tell me that because I was away "doing the army thing" I am unable to see the contract out, despite me having done everything correct (authorised leave and telling bosses that I will definitely be available to work this weekend)?

    If you need anything further explaining then I'll try and expand, just a tad pished off that I'll be £300 down at the end of Oct because I'm not working this weekend.
  2. My only advice would be to seek legal advice due to contract ending times and the blatant disregard of your boss' "forgetting" that you had arranged to work that weekend.

    As far as I am aware, a verbal agreement is also legally binding.
  3. msr

    msr LE


    A verbal agreement isn't worth the paper it is written on.

    What does the direct line supervisor say?

  4. Is it a case of tough $hit then?

    I'm not going to get too worked up about it despite the egging on from other colleagues to kick off (already happened once during the contract, not me though). Just a shame that they see it as perfectly acceptable to backstab etc despite the hard work put in over the months. Such is life I suppose.
  5. a verbal agreement is binding. the only problem is that in a court/ tribunal is usually comes down to one person's word v another's.

    The oath that you swear at the start of your Army service is an examplle of a legally binding verbal contract.
  6. Japseye,

    Having worked in HR departments I can tell you this: Collect as much paperwork as you can. In this case especially on the workschedule. E-mails count!

    To avoid a situation in which it will be his word against yours, you need proof. Since possesion is half the law, he has the work and you want it back; he has the highground.

    And when you've collected as much paperwork as you can, get legal help. What your boss did sounds more than illegal, it is also stupid and mean. These last two terms may not sound very legal. In fact they aren't. However, a good lawyer can do wonders with them!

    All the best,

  7. You need legal advice from someone specialising in employment law. Assuming that each 13 week contract was renewed without a significant break in employment, you are entitled to protection for unfair dismissal.

    As a general rule, temporary contracts should not be renewed over period of more than 12 months, as the employee protection legislation kicks in.

    As a start, look on the web at the Employment Trubunal Service, and as a basic primer, .
  8. Cheers for the advice Kaye (and others) but the job is a s a general bod around the student halls doing odd jobs so no paper trail, a lot of it is on scraps of paper or over the phone/text. Only official paperwork being time sheets. I'm going to go and speak to a manager of the same rank equivalent to the one that gave me the boot albeit she is in a different department but is much more understanding (she works in welfare). I'll be back later on with an update.

    Cheers guys :D
  9. Only problem being that the 13 week contract only occurs over the summer months when the students are not in halls. I'll do some more asking around and see what I can come up with.

    Thanks 8)
  10. msr

    msr LE

    I have a nasty feeling that legal advice is going to cost a whole load more money than you face losing...

    Dr_Evil may be able to offer you 'mates rates' ;)

  11. Mates rates = free, provided you're willing to join my hordes of blissful minions.

    First of all, this sounds like a classic case of unfair or wrongful dismissal. The trouble is, the likely amount of damages you can recover is too small to make legal action worthwhile.

    However, you have been treated badly and so the better thing to do would be to make a fuss within the chain of command at the university. That way, the person who behaved like a c0ck towards you will get a reprimand. Revenge!

    Unfair dismissal
    jeremy996 had it right when he said that you would have statutory protection from unfair dismissal only if your 13-week contracts had been renewed without interruption so that you had been employed continuously for a year or more on the day you were dismissed.

    From what you say, it seems as though you have not gained that protection because the job was for 13-week periods during summer months only, with big gaps between each contract.

    Wrongful dismissal
    This is a different thing to unfair dismissal. It arises when your employer sacks you in a way which breaches your contract. This happened in your case.

    Your contract probably states that you are entitled to a period of notice before being dismissed. I would guess one week. In any case, whether you have a written contract or not, the law says that once you have been working for a month or more you must get a week's notice.

    People can only be sacked with no notice at all if they are guilty of gross misconduct or some other very serious breach of contract. You were not.

    So, if you chose to sue for wrongful dismissal, the value of your claim would be one week's wages. Not worth the hassle.

    Causing a kerfuffle
    Right, here's where we can start sharpening the knives. There is almost certainly a grievance procedure which applies to employees of the university. Find out what it is, and use it.

    If you can't find out or are no longer allowed to use it (as you are no longer an employee), then send your grievance all the way to the boss of the university.

    Whether you use the grievance procedure or the letter method, you need to explain what happened in detail: basically the same as you wrote in your first post, but giving the names of the vile wrongdoer and also of those who can verify that you had taken all appropriate steps before going on camp.

    Start it by describing how long you had worked for the university and your excellent capabilities. The middle bit will be about the arrangements you made before going on camp and what happened when you got back.

    End it by saying something along the lines of "Although I have ended up £300 out of pocket, my real concern is that this manager has broken her word and treated me with indignity. What I am seeking is not compensation but an official apology from the chancellor of the university for the way I was treated, or else I will have no option but to raise this issue publicly."

    You may get an apology - but your evil manager will very likely be landed in the doo-doo.

    If you do decide to do this, PM the letter to me so that I can make sure you are not saying anything defamatory (which could backfire slightly).

  12. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    It is in Scotland, a verbal agreement is (or used to be) valid - of course you have to be able to prove it, and that may be by being paid for it. But it leads back to the time when a handshake was the contract.

    On your original point - you have a fixed term contract which says you will be employed until the date (often 1 or 2 years) agreed. No need for notice as the contract is notice in itself. I know HR peeps may say differntly but they don't have much case law to fall back on.
  13. chimera

    chimera LE Moderator

    Outwith any legal and procedural process, in the current media environment with "Our Boys" working balls out in IZ and AFG you could spin this into a nice story for the press. Local journos or radio? And have you raised it with your own military CoC? Mybe if the Chancellor of the University got a letter from the MOD quoting your story...
  14. A verbal agreement is a valid contract. The trouble comes in proving its terms. Here, the terms that matter are (a) how long it was due to run for (until Oct 4 2006) and (b) how long the notice period was. The duration will be common knowledge in the university. Statute will imply a minimum notice period of one week.

    Contracts for a fixed term will almost always have a notice clause enabling the employer to terminate the contract with (say) a week's or a month's notice. Plus, of course, the contract will automatically terminate at the end of the fixed term: I think this is what you meant by "the contract is notice in itself." You're right and the HR people are wrong: there is no need to give people notice in that case, except in rare exceptions. For peace of mind, though, the employer might as well give notice.
  15. I'd try the internal grievance process / letter to the chancellor of the university first. If no joy, then (as I mentioned) go public.

    It would be a kick in the nuts to read this: