This week I successfully concluded a case for a whistleblowing client. Read my post to find out more….
Miss X came to see me to discuss difficulties she had been experiencing at work. In summary, she had been raising serious concerns to her line management about financial and compliance irregularities in her department. To my client’s distress, after she made her disclosures she was targeted for unfair treatment.
The treatment my client experienced included being isolated from meetings (this was odd as she had attended such meetings without fail for years prior to her disclosures). She was told her performance was in question for the first time in over seven years and she would be investigated in that respect. She was told that her hours of work which had been fixed for over 18 months would need to be changed (to her detriment) and finally, that her role was at risk of redundancy.
By the time my client came to see me she was very distressed and simply wanted to leave her employer. Her key objective was to leave as soon as possible without having to work out her notice period. My client did not believe she was entitled to any compensation and as I say, she just wanted to leave as soon as possible.
I reassured my client that I would be happy to help her achieve her objective. However, I felt that she had sold herself short. During our first lengthy meeting I highlighted to her that the concerns she had been raising to her employer were protected by law. This meant that she should be able to raise the concerns without facing punishment (subtle or not).
I explained to my client why her disclosures were protected by law and it was immediately clear why her concerns fell within the protected zone. I then set out the claims she could pursue as a result of being targeted for unfair treatment (detriments) or being forced into resignation (constructive dismissal). My client was still anxious and did not want to be seen to rock the boat. That said, she also now saw the treatment she had received was unlawful.
I set out my client’s options for moving forward. However, in her mind she couldn’t return to work and so instructed me to negotiate an exit package. I started by drafting a formal grievance to her employer which included full details of her disclosures and the detriments she suffered in consequence. Additionally, I sent a without prejudice proposal to her employer seeking an immediate release from employment, an agreed positive reference, and a compensation package to include full notice pay along with an ex-gratia sum.
Initially the employer was reluctant to engage in any settlement discussions. However, by the time my client reached the grievance appeal stage and we had disclosed evidence in support of her position, a resolution was reached. My client was delighted with the outcome. She never returned to work following our initial meeting, she openly aired her concerns through an open formal grievance process so she was satisfied they were properly brought to the attention of senior management, and she achieved a fresh start with sufficient compensation and a reference to move forward with her life positively.
The case above demonstrates to me how weak employees sometimes perceive their position to be. Miss X was desperate and her only objective prior to taking legal advice was to leave her employer as soon as possible. If you are struggling at work because you have raised concerns, you may have an actionable employment law claim. I can help. Please call me on 01522 440512, email ContactUs@Lincslaw.com or visit our website www.lincslaw.co.uk for more information about the services I provide.
Director, Specialist Employment Law Solicitor