From many years of working with clients, I know that suffering bullying and harassment at work can have a devastating personal impact. Often, by the time my clients discuss their issues with me, they have suffered for many months, even years.
My client came to see me with a Settlement Agreement. She worked for a large local company within their team. She explained that her Line Manager had always been unpredictable and occasionally aggressive. However, whilst she had witnessed that behaviour towards her colleagues, it had only been recently that she had been the subject of her Line Manager’s wrath.
Essentially, my client’s colleagues had raised an entirely legitimate grievance regarding the Line Manager’s bullying and harassment. This had been investigated by the company and no action had been taken. However, the Line Manager had wrongly assumed my client was responsible and, indeed, was unhappy about the information she had provided to the grievance investigation.
My client was then targeted with cutting comments, documents were removed from her desk, information she needed was deleted, she was left out of meetings, she was ignored, information was withheld from her and she found it impossible to do her job. Such action being bullying and harassment. Quite rightly, and quite reasonably, she tried to raise her concerns informally with another member of the Senior Management within the company. She was advised to speak to her Line Manager to ‘have it out’ with a view to being able to clear the air and move forward.
When she tried to initiate such a meeting, her Line Manager lied and stated she was not available. Repeated attempts were made by my client to arrange a proper meeting to discuss their workplace dispute. Each time her Line Manager was evasive until, one day, out of the blue, she insisted my client meet with her. My client’s Line Manager was extremely unhappy as my client set out her concerns. She then informed my client that there were ‘performance issues’. My client was informed that she should ‘take the weekend to consider her position’. She was also told that if a performance management process began, it would inevitably result in my client’s dismissal.
My client, quite rightly, raised a grievance regarding her Manager’s bullying and harassment. Her grievance included her Manager’s bullying and harassment and, finally, her Manager threatening her employment.
After several weeks of inaction, my client telephoned one of the senior Managers in the company to obtain information about the progress of matters. She was told the grievance investigation had concluded. She was further told that there would be no action taken against my client’s Line Manager and, also, she was told she would have to continue working with her because her Line Manager ‘was going nowhere’.
My client did not feel able to continue working with a bully and made a suggestion to the company that they might want to offer her a termination package to leave. This resulted in a Settlement Agreement being sent to my client and it was at this stage that she came to see me.
We went through the full background together and I advised that the offer made within the Settlement Agreement was woefully inadequate and did not compensate my client for her giving up her employment. My client explained that she already had a new position lined up and, therefore, she simply wanted to ensure she was obtaining as much as possible within her termination package. She had absolutely no intention of continuing to work for the company.
With those instructions, I set about renegotiating my client’s Settlement Agreement. We were finally able to agree a termination package which was three times the original compensation offered in addition to my client’s receipt of notice pay, bonus and outstanding holiday. My client was delighted with the outcome. She thanked me for my help and has already referred one of her close friends as a new client.
If you are suffering bullying and harassment at work, call 01522 440512 for a free, no obligation discussion about your situation. For more information about me and my colleagues at Lincs Law Solicitors, please visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor
Lincs Law Solicitors, Lincoln.