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When a probation period results in termination of contract... - My Thoughts Today
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When a probation period results in termination of contract...
Are any of the following usual practice:

1. not providing written notice, even though it's a contract term;
2. not paying outstanding holiday leave or take into account the effect statutory holiday days would have on the notice period;
3. having a third party send out a P45 without then checking that it's been received.

Never having been in this situation before I'm somewhat non-plused!

Anyway, the backstory.

As some of you will know my role as Applications Architect at TrafficBroker turned out to be much less than I had hoped for. I was continuously prevented from doing anything productive for the three months I worked there, and then when the company got cold feet about their grandiose development plans (a cool £250k for a web app that if they'd been willing to take my advice would have cost half that - and then only because they'd already spent £100k when I joined) the project was cancelled.

Apparently this decision was made at the start of December but kept quiet until the 19th so as not to spoil the company outing to Las Vegas. So thirty-three happy campers all went for a long weekend in Nevada whilst I sat undisturbed in London crafting the core database for what would be the production version of the application - having been given the impression that this mattered. Frankly I wish I'd done the shoddy job of designing it that the expensive consultants would probably have done, but I guess I take my reputation for real-time SQL a bit too seriously.

Anyway as soon as everyone's back in the office and the jetlag has cleared my project was cancelled was cancelled and two days later I was rushed out of the company. 'm not particularly sad about no longer working there as I didn't want to adopt the trendy monocultural practices that the CTO was introducing (for reasons outlined in previous posts), but I had expected that the whole affair would be handled better. But I guess professionalism has little place in a company that thinks nothing of flying thirty-three people to Las Vegas for a five day round trip, not taking that time out of their holiday leave but at the same time not offering any compensating holiday leave to the nine people remaining behind to work.

It was very apparent in the meeting that concluded my employment on December 21st - the last day of my probation period - that I would not be required to work my notice period, and whilst I tried to keep things amicable I couldn't help but feel somewhat shell-shocked under the circumstances. I naturally expected written notification of contract termination at the start of the new year as this was part of my contract, and to receive payment in lieu of my 6.49 days of unused accrued holiday leave. My holiday had been booked to start on December 24th and run through until January 7th, due to statutory holiday days, so it seemed reasonable that this would be the period I would be paid for.

However I have since been informed that I was only due payment through the end of December as my accrued holiday leave has been completely ignored, my P45 has apparently been lost in the post, and the company considers that written notification of termination is optional and something they don't care to provide. Considering they boast £1m per month in revenue and employ 40+ people I consider all of this very unprofessional.

Needless to say I am currently very frustrated and having difficulty seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Even my curmudgeonly nature is only capable of taking so many setbacks before I start asking myself what the point of any of this is, and I think after thirty-seven years I may have finally exceeded my quota...

today I am mostly: incandescent

10 opinions or participate
(Deleted comment)
savantfoxt From: savantfoxt Date: January 30th, 2008 09:30 am (UTC) (permanent link)
That's sound advice and i'm soory to hear about your circumstance.

Although... I had a similar experience when I worked for Capital One (illegal, immoral and incensing in so many ways) after which they refused to give me a P45. The Tax and Benefit offices were powerless to make them comply which cost me 6 months where I couldn't get a new job or even claim benefit; I almost became homeless as a result.
Just because laws exist doesn't mean that a company will take a blind bit of notice of them.

In my experience, most companies treat their employees in a completely shoddy manner especially when they don't want them any more which is why I became prepared to work in any vocation as long as I felt that I was going to be treated respectfully as a human being.

Perhaps you could threaten them with an Unfair Dismissal suit if they won't release the P45? No idea if it would work tho, just a thought...
feyeleanor From: feyeleanor Date: February 1st, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC) (permanent link)
I spent the period 2000 through 2003 engaged in legal action over an unpaid contract so I prefer not to go down those avenues unless necessary. I did get the £18k I was owed on that occasion, but the stress was something I could have done without.

I've also become disenchanted with employers over the last few years, partly because of the pressure that's put on IT staff to perform like battery hens and partly because of the endless struggle to try and get things done. On this occasion the lack of professionalism appears to have been entirely accidental and aggravated by the Xmas period. As posted elsewhere the situation has been resolved to my satisfaction and I'm pleased that this particular employer won't have to join my personal wall of shame.

Now if only I could find a decent project that will pay a living wage, things might get back to normal!
gothbabe From: gothbabe Date: January 30th, 2008 10:40 am (UTC) (permanent link)
Hang in there! If you have any questions on if your contract terminated unfairly call Acas on 08457 47 47 47 - they are an impartial employment law body set up by the government set up to help the employee/contractor with employment law. I always call them if I have a question 'bout my contracts. A x
feyeleanor From: feyeleanor Date: February 1st, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC) (permanent link)
Thanks for the number hon, I shall be sure to use them if I have any problems in the future :)
friend_of_tofu From: friend_of_tofu Date: January 30th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC) (permanent link)
Cripes, if that's standard practice I'd run for the hills.

Anyway, it sounds very, very out of order. I'm afraid I skimmed the latter part because I'm short of time, but your 3 points at the top are quite sufficient to show that your company is engaging in seriously bad practice.

I'm fairly sure, considering your industry, that you're not a member of a trade union, so I'd suggest contacting your local law centre to speak to an employment law person there. It looks to me as though you may well have a claim against them for the unpaid leave and insufficient notice period. There may be other issues too. In your situation, I'd be looking into the possibility of a claim.

I also second the point made by gothbabe about calling ACAS, esp re: the notice period.

All the best!
incy From: incy Date: January 30th, 2008 12:40 pm (UTC) (permanent link)
1. not providing written notice, even though it's a contract term;
If it is a contract term and they have not fullfilled, then they have not given you your notice (however if they emailed you or texted you, it might be considered good enough), so they should still be paying you. The problem is they can always find a file copy of the letter with the relevant date if they are that dubious a company.

2. not paying outstanding holiday leave or take into account the effect statutory holiday days would have on the notice period;
Almost certianly they are obliged to pay holiday (under law, though occaisonaly contracts state special conditions for probabtion periods). Public holidays do not normally effect notice period, since you are paid for them anyway (it goes both ways if you were resigning you do not count them either).
3. having a third party send out a P45 without then checking that it's been received.
They are legally obliged to provide uyou with a p45, there is no time scale, but anything over a month is considered bad form and the inland revenue will then normally weigh in.
feyeleanor From: feyeleanor Date: February 1st, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC) (permanent link)
I didn't hear a peep out of them until I made contact on January 28th, so if I was of a litigious disposition I could probably chase them for about £4k. However I prefer to think that this has been a genuine mixup as experience has taught me that legal action soon becomes a full-time job in its own right.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 11th, 2008 11:41 am (UTC) (permanent link)

Cool quote

One man's brain plus one other will produce one half as many ideas as one
man would have produced alone. These two plus two more will produce half
again as many ideas. These four plus four more begin to represent a
creative meeting, and the ratio changes to one quarter as many ...
-- Anthony Chevins

feyeleanor From: feyeleanor Date: May 11th, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC) (permanent link)

Re: Cool quote

Would that experience suggested otherwise, the world might be a much less frustrating place for all of us who are cursed with creative temperaments...
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