Melissa had worked as a marketing executive for an international project consultancy for three years. A year into the job, her reporting line changed. Melissa’s new manager was unsupportive and overly critical of her work.
As time went on, the manager began to bully Melissa making her work life intolerable. She was pressurised into working excessive hours and the workload caused her extreme stress and anxiety. Melissa raised her concerns with HR but was encouraged not to raise a formal grievance.
Shortly afterwards, Melissa’s manager instigated the company’s formal performance capability procedure on the grounds that her performance was poor. At this point she was also given a written warning.
HR advised Melissa not to appeal the written warning as ‘it could create more problems’ for her.
A few weeks later with no new performance measures or support in place and no intervening contact from HR, Melissa was called into a meeting with HR and offered a Settlement Agreement (then known as a Compromise Agreement).
Melissa insisted the performance allegations against her were unwarranted. Despite this she was told she could either take two months’ wages and leave the company or proceed with the performance management procedure. If she chose the latter, the company told her, she was likely to be dismissed on the grounds of capability.
HR also threatened to give her a bad reference if she did not accept the Settlement Agreement.
When Melissa came to see our Settlement Agreement lawyers in our Croydon solicitors‘ office, she was anxious and stressed. Melissa knew nothing about Employment Law or whether she should accept the agreement and the compensation.
We advised that the performance allegations against Melissa were unfounded and did not warrant disciplinary action, and the correct process would be to place her on a Performance Review. We also advised Melissa to raise a formal grievance relating to bullying and intimidation by her line manager.
We helped Melissa draft a formal grievance letter setting out these complaints. In addition, we sent a without prejudice letter to the company explaining that the amount offered under the Settlement Agreement was not adequate compensation as they had not even started a Performance Review.
Initially the company refused to increase the offer. However, in the course of the negotiations we convinced the company it should increase the sum to £8,000 – more than four months’ net salary. In addition, we negotiated a favourable reference to help Melissa secure another position as quickly as possible.
Martin Searle Solicitors is the trading name of ms solicitors ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and is registered in England under company number 05067303.© 2024