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disciplinary/grievance

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Pimpernel | 15:53 Sun 17th Jul 2011 | Jobs
5 Answers
Hello,
I've been in my current job for nearly 3 years.
It's been very difficult from day 1: many of my job duties are very menial and were not mentioned in the job description or at the interview (and that includes 'chores' which were gradually added to my workload over the past 18 months) and my supervisor, who is extremely jealous of me because I am older, more experienced, more educated, and better looking, has been trying to have me sacked or to have me fired from day 1. She makes false accusations to our manager (always behind my back, never in front of me), gives me 'all the crappy jobs nobody else wants to do' (in her own words), ridicules me in front of the others, criticizes everything I do or don't do, gives me an impossible workload (while she chats with the others), and keeps belittling my intelligence, my IT skills, my numerical skills etc.
I started making notes of random accidents during my first week there: I initially intended to stay a maximum of 1 year, until the jobmarket got better, I had saved a bit of money, and I had found a new job. Unfortunately, I still haven't found a new job, and savings-wise, my situation is even worse than 3 years ago, due to increases in my rent.
Our manager cherishes her (think Murdoch-Brookes) and always takes her side against me. In January 2010 and March 2010, during interviews meant to assess my performance, he spent the whole time telling me he didn't see me remaining in the UK another 12 to 24 months (I'm not British).
In June 2010, I asked to go p/t so that I could attend job interviews abroad (I had managed to get short-listed to 3 of them). This was refused, and instead I had an interview where he spent the whole time trying to get me to give my resignation.
In July 2010 I had to take a week off work due to an unexpected health problem. When I came back in August, I had another interview. This time he told me he didn't see me remaining in the UK another 3 to 6 months.
I managed to cling on to my post but I took a couple of sickness leaves until March because my supervisor was putting a lot of pressure on me so that I resign. In April, I had an interview about those sickness leaves: I explained that my doctor found nothing wrong 'systematically', attributed to the problems to stress at work. I didn't mention that I had asked him if antidepressants wouldn't help me, and he replied that what I needed was a new job. I nearly started a grievance procedure about the bullying and the racism I've had to put up with, but decided against it as I was hoping to find a new job before September. I haven't taken sickies since.
At my performance assessment last week, my manager rubbished my work and my productivity (when in May I had to take over a big job from 1 of my colleagues who 'didn't have the time' to do it and in June I had to take over 2 big jobs from that same colleague and my supervisor, on top of another big job I was dealing with myself, + all the 'chores' I do on a daily basis). He couldn't understand why I had been 'sitting in' in the team for 3 years, didn't I want to try something else, he could tell I was not happy in the 'team', I was a 'very difficult' person to deal with etc. He also tried to make me angry by singing the praises of a colleague who stayed 1 year on the team, before being promoted, and who was basically twiddling his thumbs (and refusing to take on any 'chores') and botching jobs which he perceived as menial such as data entry or photocopies, so that he wouldn't be made to do them again. He also justified (I didn't mention it at all) that he hadn't sent me on a single business trip to London (my colleagues get several trips a year) because he thought I would give a bad image of the company, despite admitting that I have a very good relationship with our clients.
Anyway, he told me I had the weekend to 'think it over' and I would have another interview next week. He claims it is not a 'disciplinary' procedure.

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Sorry, continued...
I think he wants to have a record of an 'oral warning', to make sure I can't access a better job here in the UK.
I can't resign before I have a job to go to. Should I start a grievance procedure, i.e. he wants to protect my supervisor and is trying to find any pretext to force me to leave the company? I have been putting up with the daily bulllying because I hoped to find a new job, but it's taking a heavy toll, and I'm often ready to burst with anger :(
Purely on the basis of your side of the story, you are being unfairly treated.
The less risky option would be a to raise a grievance and try to get resolution that way. Grievances should be heard by a manager in the orgnisation independent of your line manager, but the appeal procedure would probably be heard by your manager's manager (if you considered the findings of the grievance were inappropriate and appealed it).
The more risky option to to resign and claim constructive dismissal at Employment Tribunal. That gives you money (if successful) but not your job back.
It would be worth having a word with ACAS, their advice is free and impartial. http://www.acas.org.u...x.aspx?articleid=2042
>>>The more risky option to to resign and claim constructive dismissal<<<<

Very risky!!
As buildersmate states, it does sound like you are being unfairly treated. Just to follow on re your thoughts around possibly receiving a verbal warning, your employer cannot simply interview you and then state that you are to receive a verbal warning. An employer must follow the same disciplinary procedure for a verbal warning as for a written warning. This is written notifciation of the intended interview of which you must receive in reasonable time (we allow 48 hours before any interviews) and you must be given the chance to be accompanied by a trade union member or a work colleague. The outcome of any verbal warning must be given in writing just the same as any written warning. I would advise that you keep records of all the bullying instances that you remember and keep records in future. The fact that your employers keep calling you in for interviews, but are failing to take you through a disciplinary procedure could actually go in your favour if you are suddenly sacked for a work related offence, as they need to show that they have attempted to ensure that you improve your behaviour/work by putting you on a work improvement programme. There is nothing to stop your employer having an 'off the record chat' with you, but they cannot keep doing this and expect it to provide a defence in any potential tribunal, as a tribunal will want to see what steps they have taken to get you to improve your performance. I agree with buildersmate and think that the best thing to do is to start a grievance procedure of your own against your company. If this does not work, I would get further legal advice around resigning and then claiming constructive dismissal.
Best of luck
Sue

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