I was going to chuck this in my last work related thread but realised it might get a bit complex for my tiny child like mind…
As I dropped into a thread somewhere along the line, on June 18th I had a virtual meeting with HR and they informed me I was being made redundant. They said that they were closing the dept down and that my final day would be 18th Dec '20 and that they expected me to work my notice. I questioned this in the meeting, saying that I thought that redundancy followed a process and that it included alerting me that my position was at risk and looking for other positions in the wider group. I asked them to put their proposal in writing. This didn’t happen.
25th June, I had a further meeting where they seemed to back peddle from their previous position. We now seemed to be following the normal procedure. They said that because my role was so specific that I would know that there would be no other opportunities in the company or in the wider group and didn’t think I would be interested anyway and therefore the normal redundancy process was unnecessary. They were clearly trying it on in that first meeting. I asked various questions about my benefits and such the meeting ended and was minuted by a third party.
I got the minutes yesterday and they are asking me to sign them which I don’t understand but it could be because if I did it would mean that I accept the previous shit. Also, there is a short paragraph which states that they are “fully absorbing and integrating” my dept into other depts in the organisation. At that first meeting they told me they were “closing it down.”
Seeing that I now have it in writing that it is to be absorbed and integrated, does this suggest that they have the capacity to carry on my work and actually have no requirement for me to work my notice? Also, does their previous cuntery, basically firing me with six months notice give me any leverage seeing that I don’t have it in writing?
I must say, it does feel as if it’s just a continuation of the previous 18 months of shit I’ve had there…
A lawyer is a good move initially. Might be worth spending a few Bob for an assessment of the situation. Also worth looking at is your household insurance. These often will cover you for employment issues. All they will want to know from your solicitor is do they consider your chance of success to be greater than 51% then they will cover your costs. This happened to me some years ago.
It sounds like these HR bods are clueless. Get a lawyer, then write to them saying you believe you are being unfairly dismissed, and all future correspondence from the company should be through said lawyer. Then just do as slow and shit a job as humanly possible. I reckon they will brick it and some point and ask you what you actually want. Then negotiate a shorter notice period and more money…
I’m hesitating all the time here as you need the right and correct advice, not an amalgamation of well intended advice.
Sign nothing. Ask for everything to be witnessed and put in writing, and maybe consider legal advice if it’s cost effective. Retaining a lawyer has to be balanced with getting a sizeable uplift at the end.
It sounds like they are trying to avoid not being able to recruit again by playing around with job titles and what’s happening.
If they offered something it can always be withdrawn at any time if it’s not signed off, and you should always ask if you can negotiate without prejudice to anything on the table.
BMW told me that they were merging the department I ran into another identical one on a different business unit/ site. They initially told me that I would have to relocate to the other site (BMW MINI Oxford) without being clear on what the proposed new structure was and how me and my opposite number as chief engineers were going to handled - as in who was to be in charge and what role the other would be offered.
I decided at that point I did not wish to relocate so they promptly put the other guy in charge. I pointed out that this didn’t follow any protocol or policy so they were outside of these basically making it up as they went along.
So they then offered me 3 jobs, the first being another on the site I said I didn’t wish to relocate to originally, the second in South Africa, and the third in the Fitz HQ in Munich. I refused these for all the same reason, waiting for them to run out of ideas, which they did. They said I should resign as they had made me 3 reasonable offers.
Instead I asked for a meeting to discuss what had happened, get the timeline and actions on record and agreed (via minutes). After which I said that I needed to take legal advice with regard to constructive dismissal and then have a follow up meeting. In advance of the second meeting my solicitor set out all the breaches in their process based on their own signed record of events.
I came to this final meeting with solicitor in tow, at which point they panicked, kept me waiting for an hour and half and then asked for a face to face between me and the HR Director. He opened up that they were willing in the circumstances to offer me a generous ex gratia payment in return for signing a document which effectively terminated my employment immediately and I would be escorted off the site. A bit of pushing the envelope back and forth and we got there. I handed my 3 company cars back the next day and that was the end of my automotive career!
As they are absorbing the dept, are they aware you may take a sizable chunk of their bespoke customers with you? Is there anything in your contract against doing precisely this?
When you asked for your first consultation to be put in writing, was this verbal or via email?
It would be prudent to not sign anything without a brief looking at it and clarifying your position.