If you feel that you’re good at your job, but nothing ever seems to be good enough for your manager, then there’s the possibility that someone is trying to manage you out, officially known as constructive dismissal. This is when management makes an employee’s working life so difficult that they leave, or are fired as a result of a minor issue. If it happens to you, it’s important you know your employee rights. The average award for unfair dismissal as the result of a successful employment tribunal claim is around £15,000.
Why constructive dismissal happens and what to look out for
UK employment law makes it very difficult for employers to sack workers without good reason, which is why managers are often tasked to pressurise employees to leave of their own accord. Whether it’s due to a restructure, a personality clash, the appointment of a new manager who wants someone else in the role, or simply to hire someone to do the same job for less pay, there can be any number of reasons for constructive dismissal. But, the tell-tale signs are usually the same:
- Consistently performance-managed
- Constantly changing objectives
- Lack of clear instruction
- Lack of control over your working day
- Unreasonable changes to conditions of employment
- Made to feel unwelcome when it comes to your input
It’s important to distinguish between workplace bullying and being managed out. If you believe you’ve been bullied by your manager, you should make a detailed record of instances and approach HR. However, if it’s a case of being managed out, then this is more complex, as HR might already be aware that it’s happening.
What to do
Leaving your job should be the last resort. To begin with, it can sometimes be useful to confront your manager directly. Let them know that you feel you are being managed out and ask for the reason. If you really want to keep the job, be firm and explain that you won’t be bullied out of your job, making it clear that it’s mutually beneficially for the two of you to make things work. If that’s unsuccessful, it’s time to contact the HR department and a union adviser, if you have one. Another way of reconciling might be to come to a settlement agreement, perhaps involving a pay-off, but you will need to take legal advice for this.
Finally, if you can’t come to an agreement and you feel you have to go, or are fired, you could consider a claim for constructive dismissal. Typically, you have to have been at the company for two years’ service to do this. To do this, follow the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) procedure within three months of leaving.
Being managed out at work is unpleasant. Sometimes management do have legitimate performance concerns, but if you’re diligent, hardworking and competent, then there’s no reason to be treated poorly. Instead, management should provide the training and support you need to improve in any areas that you are lacking.
If you’re currently unhappy in your role and looking for a company where you’d be more appreciated, start with a job search at Zoek.
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