boss playing tricks- question about my rights

32 posts / 0 new
Last post
Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jan 24 2006 16:55

I don't see how anyone could expect you to honour a contract that expired a month ago. You could ask them "Do I have a legal obligation to give you three months notice?" and if they say "yes" I'd suggest a trip down the Citizens Advice Bureau (although there's a couple of posters on here who are very good on stuff like this, I'm not unfortunately). From what you've said, it sounds to me like you could walk out this evening and they wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 24 2006 16:58
rochelle wrote:
hi all

Quick question. This is my work situation at the moment. I have a 12-month contract that ended in December 2005, it had a notice period of 3 months both on the side of employer and employee.

There has been a verbal extension but no new contract yet and we are going to be issued with contracts this week. However, I have found a new job and want to start within 4 weeks. They want me to honour the 3 month notice period on the December '05 contract. So what exactly are my rights in this situation, I'm hoping someone is more informed than I am about this.

Thanks

Rochelle

I'm no expert, but seems to me like you shouldn't have to honour it if you haven't signed it. Could you ask your new employer? Hmmm I guess not though cos I spose you won't want to look like someone who doesn't honour their word!

.flux's picture
.flux
Offline
Joined: 2-09-05
Jan 24 2006 17:07

While I really want to just walk off and never come back, I also don't want to be an arse. I've been working in this place for 3 years and I don't want to leave on bad terms.

It's quite amusing what's happened. After years of being underpaid (and undervalued) for what I do, despite many fights with management, the fuckers offered me a huge pay rise to turn down my new job and stay on in this one. They also blackmailed me by saying that my three colleagues who are left on my project (I'm working ona project within an educational charity), will lose their jobs if I don't stay, because I am 'indispenable' and the project will not continue without me.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 24 2006 17:12
rochelle wrote:
While I really want to just walk off and never come back, I also don't want to be an arse. I've been working in this place for 3 years and I don't want to leave on bad terms.

Hmmm well that kinda stuff's more complicated than legal contracts! Good luck anyway

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jan 24 2006 17:51
rochelle wrote:
While I really want to just walk off and never come back, I also don't want to be an arse. I've been working in this place for 3 years and I don't want to leave on bad terms.

It's quite amusing what's happened. After years of being underpaid (and undervalued) for what I do, despite many fights with management, the fuckers offered me a huge pay rise to turn down my new job and stay on in this one. They also blackmailed me by saying that my three colleagues who are left on my project (I'm working ona project within an educational charity), will lose their jobs if I don't stay, because I am 'indispenable' and the project will not continue without me.

are the three colleagues on the same contract as you? Do they know they're being used as blackmail fodder?

.flux's picture
.flux
Offline
Joined: 2-09-05
Jan 24 2006 18:05
Catch wrote:
are the three colleagues on the same contract as you? Do they know they're being used as blackmail fodder?

yep, same contract. All of them know about the blackmail and one of those three is my boss who is being a complete arse. I'm the third member of the team who has resigned within a 6 week period, some people have quit with no job to go to and they are working the 3-month notice period. It's pretty fucked up.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Jan 24 2006 18:07
rochelle wrote:
Catch wrote:
are the three colleagues on the same contract as you? Do they know they're being used as blackmail fodder?

yep, same contract. All of them know about the blackmail and one of those three is my boss who is being a complete arse. I'm the third member of the team who has resigned within a 6 week period, some people have quit with no job to go to and they are working the 3-month notice period. It's pretty fucked up.

If it was me I'd get the fuck out. I quit a job just before Christmas - never been on any kind of contract there and just told them I wouldn't be back in the new year. Had a good excuse though so it was amicable enough, although I'd sort of been looking forward to a good row.

.flux's picture
.flux
Offline
Joined: 2-09-05
Jan 24 2006 18:22

yeah, I hear you.

I'm sick of fighting though. I've been rowing for a couple of days now and today I just walked out of the offfice after my boss (the one who used the blackmail tactic) started swearing at me and accusing me of 'personal betrayal' bla bla bla. She's was doing the same job as I am, now she's take over managing the project because the previous manager quit 6 weeks ago. So she's starting to prove her worth as management scum already.

When I read what I've written I am wondering why the fuck I'd even work the one month notice period- which I'm only doing so I don't leave my colleagues completely in the lurch. After working 3 years somewhere, you build up friendships etc and walking out from one day to the next seems kind of shitty.

Anyway, really appreciate all the input. Thanks.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 24 2006 18:25

jeez that sounds like a get out asap kind of situation. Imagine 3 months of that!

Steve
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 24 2006 18:38

Fixed-term contracts automatically end (without notice) at their end date. If you have carried on working without a new contract then a months notice is fine (I take it you are paid monthly). I'd check with T at Manchester SF he knows a lot about this sort of thing.

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Jan 24 2006 19:32

Hi

Why not just give them the 3 months notice, can't the other people afford to wait? They might be happy to let you go.

If they've verbally given you the impression that they'll offer you a new contract, but no new contract has been entered into, then you're technically free to go.

If you just legged it, I suppose they could try and take you to court for breaching a verbal contract, but I can't see it holding water and it's not a very serious dispute anyway.

Love

LR

ginger's picture
ginger
Offline
Joined: 19-07-04
Jan 24 2006 20:45
rochelle wrote:
There has been a verbal extension but no new contract yet and we are going to be issued with contracts this week. However, I have found a new job and want to start within 4 weeks. They want me to honour the 3 month notice period on the December '05 contract.

What would they do if it was the other way round? Of course they wouldn't honour anything that wasn't signed in blood, and nor should you. They're your employers, although they sound better than many.

Best wishes with your new job - I hope its not too bad a way of bringing in the money.

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Jan 24 2006 21:20

Hi

Quote:
What would they do if it was the other way round?

Absolutely. My old boss used to say, “I can’t offer you anymore job security than your notice period”. Talk about Mr Motivator.

Love

LR

afraser
Offline
Joined: 16-07-05
Jan 25 2006 00:16
Quote:
suppose they could try and take you to court for breaching a verbal contract

No chance. Walk out on them during your dinner hour. Don't even give them four minutes notice, never mind four weeks or three months. They can't touch you (assuming you never admit to agreeing a verbal contract, and they have no proof such as tape or security camera recordings)

Quote:
What would they do if it was the other way round? Of course they wouldn't honour anything that wasn't signed in blood

Although you could, in that case, take them to an employment tribunal with some reasonable hope of winning. Most workers don't have written contracts, makes no difference to employment law.

ginger's picture
ginger
Offline
Joined: 19-07-04
Jan 25 2006 10:23
afraser wrote:
Although you could, in that case, take them to an employment tribunal with some reasonable hope of winning. Most workers don't have written contracts, makes no difference to employment law.

Didn't know that verbal contract was enough for a tribunal. I'd be interested to know how many people do take up cases with them. I did, years ago, and the process ended up being a lot simpler than I'd imagined. But it was only because I had the support of the dodgy left sect I was in at the time that I did it - plus I didn't want them to get away with it. Even if I hadn't won it was going to cost em because I was doing it all my end myself, but they'd employed expensive sounding City lawyers.

They do take months to come through (although I got some money in the end, it was 10 months later that I won, and then another little while before I got the cold hard cash).

I did feel that it was part of a highly refined mechanism that lets the steam off the system without giving any real consessions. Like how if you're really upset about anything thats happening to you (waiting ages for your NHS op, Home Office being shite about your marriage to a foreign national, dole problems) and you take it up with your MP things suddenly get all smoothed out for you (in my experience) and so you move on in your life, but the system continues, having appeased the more arsey of us who might actually kick up a bigger stink if we didn't get what we're entitled to.

Course this is all crazy speculation.

.flux's picture
.flux
Offline
Joined: 2-09-05
Jan 26 2006 14:19

Latest installment in this saga. Mail from my boss:

whether it is written or not. There has been no change in the terms and conditions of employment and indeed I have in a number of meetings clarified the position that the XXX was maintaining a three month notice period. I know that this was in relation to the potential notice that the XXX would have to provide if the XXX were to close. But this is a two way contract and therefore the same terms apply to you.

Clearly we would want to assist if we could but we do need to discuss this and I therefore think it sensible that you alert the XXX that you may have some contract problems with a one month notice period. The key issue for the XXX will be our work commitments and whether there are alternative arrangements that could be made if you were released form your contract early.

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Jan 26 2006 22:50
Quote:
if you were released form your contract

You are not under contract unless there is a provision in it to turn it into a rolling contract. You could them you are willing to work a month as a courtesy but that your new job actually wants you to start sooner, although it might be too late for that.

If you went long term sick tomorrow I think you'd find that you had no contract at all.

It is virtually impossible to make a big thing out of breach of contract anyway, it certainly wouldn't be worth it in this case.

The only risks seem to be:

Messing up your reference, but as you have a new job...

Harming your standing within the profession, I don't know how likely this is.

Screwing colleagues over, but it seems as if everyone who can leave has. Don't be a martyr for this employer, charity or not.

afraser
Offline
Joined: 16-07-05
Jan 27 2006 00:58
Quote:
But this is a two way contract and therefore the same terms apply to you.

Uh uh - totally untrue. They are lying. Employment law applies to the employer, is entirely a one way affair. They owe you, you don't owe them. Employers don't like that, but boo hoo, that doesn't alter it's reality.

Under full blown civil law (as opposed to employment law), yes contracts are a two way street. But under that, there is no contract because you haven't signed anything (that is assuming they cannot prove you agreed to a verbal contract, such as having security camera evidence or witnesses - would be very difficult for them to prove even with that. Court would ask why the contract hadn't been drawn up in writing). Civil law breach of contract really has to be for written contracts.

Jef Costello has it right: reference, professional repuatation, work colleagues only reasons for staying. And you can (should) threaten to sue for slander/libel if the company does put about untrue rumours that you breached contract with them - untrue because you had no contract.

.flux's picture
.flux
Offline
Joined: 2-09-05
Jan 27 2006 15:50

update: I called South Manchester Law Centre, if any Mancunians read this and ever need help, give them a call http://www.smlc.org.uk/

It turns out that my boss is right. The verbal contract is legally binding. It automatically rolls over from the previous contract because it was not broken up at all. As such I need to honour the terms of the previous contract including the 3-month notice period.

I won't be honouring the 3 months. My colleagues are Ok with me doing 1 month and don't feel like I'm fucking them over. Whatever happens I'm out of there in 4 weeks.

Thanks for the input everyone, this has been an interesting if unpleasant experience.

Steve
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 27 2006 18:15

What happened to you is typical of the way workers are treated in the 'Third Sector'. I've been trying to get people who work in voluntary/charity/non-profit making organisations together so we can produce some workplace stuff.

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Jan 27 2006 19:05

Hi

Good idea. I know a Debt Adviser on a project funded by Barclays who’ve not renewed the contract. Talk about on-the-job-training, I imagine that comrade’s skills were put to the test by their own redundancy. Not to worry, Uncle Gordon’s/afraser’s public sector “magically” absorbed the professional in question, but there is a significant anti-working class inconvenience involved that should not go unpunished.

It must be awful working for the employer of last resort, you have my sympathy.

Love

LR

.flux's picture
.flux
Offline
Joined: 2-09-05
Jan 27 2006 19:49
Steve wrote:
What happened to you is typical of the way workers are treated in the 'Third Sector'. I've been trying to get people who work in voluntary/charity/non-profit making organisations together so we can produce some workplace stuff.

happy to help out with that

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Jan 27 2006 20:35

Verbal contracts aren't worth the paper they're written on. I got a letter to confirm my verbal warning smile

glad to see you aren't letting them guilt you

more power to you

brizzul
Offline
Joined: 7-10-03
Jan 28 2006 19:03

A verbal agreement is a verbal agreement. Sorry. Many of us have been notified verbally of a change of contract and this stands up in law but only if you have agreed to it. If you notify him within a reasonable time that you dont agree with the new contract then the situation has changed.

If you get paid monthly and a month in advance and left on payday you may find he has docked your pay a whole month and *may* be able to justify it in a tribunal. However you are always entitled to pay for work you have done but don't think you are entitled to a reference if you break what *is* a contract. He may demand you come back to work and won't offer a refernce.

How do you beat this?

Ask for written terms and conditions of employment (which you are entitled to) and then officially dispute the new contract. Because the old written contract is over you can negotiate a new one. Oh dear you can't agree the contract and therefore must leave. Act "reasonably" and negotiate over three weeks say and I reckon you can pull it off.

Ask for the grievance procedure in writing and take a grievance. Again he might start negotiating.

Just go off sick and after three weeks I guarantee he'll let you go.

Turn up to work with an anarchosyndicalist t-shirt and leaflets and invite your workmates very loudly to join the hardest union federation (http://www.iwa-ait.org http://www.solfed.org.uk) you can join. Watch them invite you to leave with a nice package. Sometimes you might get promoted for that.

Give him a weeks notice and threaten him with a tribunal if he doesn't pay up especially if he wanted you to work on some sort of casual basis. Middle management often can be brow beaten into submission if it looks like they might end up in front of someone.

If you don't care about references theres nothing he can really do to you. He cant have bailiffs come round and carry you back to work or prevent you getting another job.

Anyone who makes you work on a rolling twelve month contract doesn't deserve to be fairly treated by you.

Last time I was offered a contract with 3 months notice I wrote in one month initialled it and when it came to my leaving he got a shock.

I'm sorry this reply is a bit rambling and contradictory but its very complicated. Unlike one of the previous posters I believe that employment law is much more binding on you than it is your employer.

Really Im an advocate of direct action at work but sometimes a bit of legal threatening can be useful if you are on your own.

brizzul
Offline
Joined: 7-10-03
Jan 28 2006 19:06

Sorry accidentally wrote an essay instead of a reply.

brizzul
Offline
Joined: 7-10-03
Jan 28 2006 19:11
rochelle wrote:
There has been a verbal extension but no new contract yet and we are going to be issued with contracts this week. However, I have found a new job and want to start within 4 weeks. They want me to honour the 3 month notice period on the December '05 contract.

Fuck I didnt see that bit.

If they issue a contract and you do not agree to it there is no contract!!!!!!

That last rambling post was a complete waste of 3/4 hour.

after a quiet bit of reasonable negotiating (say a day) JUST LEAVE.

.flux's picture
.flux
Offline
Joined: 2-09-05
Feb 11 2006 19:24

Thanks everyone who helped me out via this thread.

I managed to resolve it amicably and to my advantage. Had a meeting with the head honcho who asserted that they could take it to court if they wanted to and was generally unpleasant, but I stood my ground and I'm out of there 23 Feb.

Since I resigned, 2 more people on verbal contracts have resigned and both consulted me about notice periods, as nobody really seems to know their rights. During this month I discovered that most of the workers in my regional office are on verbal contracts- many since August last year and there's huge dissatisfaction. I think that makes 8 resignations in 2 months, could be more.

Thanks again, I hope that the info in this thread helps someone else in a similar situation.

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Feb 11 2006 20:49

Hi

Quote:
I managed to resolve it amicably and to my advantage.

Nice one. Would it be fair to ask if labour market forces acted in your interest?

Love

LR