When you are having issues at work, this can get you down and cause immense stress. Even minor issues can fester and become more serious if left unresolved. Sadly, these issues are unlikely to resolve themselves and the best approach varies.
However, what we cover below is initial considerations, so you can make an informed decision on what approach to take to get things resolved. We routinely help and advise people that are still employed and dealing with work issues.
What is covered below are general points when facing some of the common issues at work.
Some common issues at work are:
Changes to your terms and conditions.
Feeling pressured or even bullied.
Working relationships with colleagues or managers.
Lack of promotion.
Changes to your role, workplace or the organisation.
Some initial considerations when facing an issue at work are:
How long you have been employed.
What is your notice period.
When to take action – Employment Time Limits.
What do you want to achieve.
How Long have you been employed?
Only employees, with 2 years of continuous service, are eligible to claim unfair dismissal, including Constructive Unfair Dismissal.
There are potential ways around this issue, but they are beyond the scope of this note.
The is relevant because when raising an issue at work (particularly a more serious issue) you may be concerned about potential backlash/repercussions.
Those with more than 2 years’ service are often afforded more protection, as most employers are aware of the relevance (i.e., the ability to claim unfair dismissal). As said, there are caveats to the 2-year rule and things employees are entitled to raise and not be dismissed, irrespective of their length of service (such as concerns about discrimination, health and safety, and general malpractice in the workplace (commonly known as “whistleblowing.”)
Main point being, you may be more vulnerable to repercussions if you have less than 2 years’ service and/or the issues raised are not “protected,” (i.e. recognized issues that are not subject to 2 years’ service).
The issues are serious, there may be a Constructive Dismissal.
What is your notice period?
This point ties in with the above, in that if you are still in your probationary period, your notice period may only be 1-week.
If not, it is useful to know what your notice period is before raising issues.
A longer notice period may give some extra protection in a similar way to someone with 2 years’ service. For example, compare someone with 1-week notice raising issues versus someone with 6 months’ notice (the former is likely to be more vulnerable).
When to take action – Employment Tribunal Time Limits
The main point to get across here is, (generally) to act quickly, or at least to look into the situation (or even better, take professional advice), because employment law claims have short deadlines.
The reason this is important is if you wait too long, you may be prevented from taking more formal action, such as making an employment law claim.
You can still of course look at resolving your issue internally, but you need to consider how long that process will take.
For example, if you think you were discriminated against at work, you have three months less 1 calendar day (so if the act complained of occurred on the 02 February, you have until the 01 May) to commence Early Acas Conciliation
Again, there are potential ways to salvage time limit issues, which are beyond the scope of this article, but it is always better not to fall out of time.
Our main point here is to be aware of the time limit, and if you act quickly, but the issues does not resolve informally and/or the informal process is approaching the end of the said time limit, you are aware of the necessity to act now or else potentially face being left with an out of time claim.
Delay in acting may mean you have no formal recourse at the Employment Tribunal because your claim is out of time.
Further, waiting too long to act can prejudice Constructive Unfair Dismissal claims (see our other article on this subject for further information.)
What do you want to achieve?
This is important to think about, because if you are not clear on your ideal outcome, it is difficult to navigate there. Think of it like trying to use a Sat Nav without an address.
Knowing your ideal outcome will inevitably influence what you do next.
For example, if you love your job, really want to stay there, but want to fix this issue, then you may decide to first (and quickly) resolve the situation with the relevant colleague/manager (first trying a more informal approach).
On the other hand, if you can’t wait to leave your employment, and the thought of working there another week gives you nightmares, you may instruct a lawyer to help negotiate an exit for you.
At Toner Legal, our focus is on identifying your ideal outcome, so we can take the appropriate steps to get you there. If you are not sure, we will help you decide.
This article is for information purposes only. Nothing should be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice and nothing written should be construed as legal advice or perceived as creating a lawyer-client relationship.