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Thread: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

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    Default Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    I will much appreciate if someone could advise me if your employer can give you a notice when you announce to them that due to the fact you're not happy you decided to look for a new job?
    Obviously I would add that until I find something else I will fullfill my duties to my best ability. The moment I am offered a new job, I will give them a month notice, and when replacement is hired, I will handover properly and then leave on good terms.

    Thank you.
    N

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    No they can't, and if they did for that reason you could claim unfair dismissal. What is not unheard of in these situations is for the employer to find another reason which is legitimate to get rid of you. Is there any reason why you have to tell them at the moment, or are you getting interviews etc... which are forcing the issue?
    Last edited by Caspar; 13th June 2011 at 19:13:PM. Reason: couldn't spell forcing (was foring lol)

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    I had my annual work review recently when I told my boss and Office Manager that I am not happy with what is going on within the company and how i have been treated in last year.
    HR has got a problem with me, cause I do not agree with a culture of spying on people, gossiping, lieing and going behing other people's back, and MOST OF ALL - i speak my mind. I lost respect for them.

    In addition, there is an ongoing conflict between me and Office Manager, which is also in relation to her bullying me about my health problems (post cancer treatment).
    I do put my hands up - I did undermine her authority few times by pointing her mistakes and incompetence as Office Manager. She knows I used to be one. Obviously I crossed the line and she now hates me, understandably. But the bottom line is - I refused to become one of her puppets, kiss her ass and stay quiet.

    They wrote in my review - you're a great assistant, doing your job so well, but you have behavioural isues - you're negative and you get into disputes with other people (meaning HR, i have never had a confrontation with anybody else, i have lots of friends here and I have a lovely team).

    To make things worse, I've recently discovered you CANNOT trust anybody here, even my main manager lied to me face, I discovered emails between him and HR in his sent box to which i have access to, after he granted me a permission long time ago.

    They gave me two options and they put in a nice, diplomatic way - either you stay, shut up, keep your head down and do your job, or...you leave and go somewhere else you will be happy. They gave me two weeks to make up my mind. It is a very stressful situation. I am very torn - they pay well, they have good benefits, I have friends here, but at the same time, the thought of going to work makes me feel sick. I was trying to fight the system and I lost!

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    I just thought I ask you, cause I intend to tell them that I decided to leave. Just wanted to know if they can do something to me, or they will simply wait until I find a job and serve them a notice.

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    How long have you worked there?

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    3 years in September

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Good. As you have worked for them for more than 2 years they have to have a lawful reason to dismiss you, for example gross misconduct etc. In the absence of this - which must be proved by them - they cannot dismiss you.

    The conduct of your employer is already tantamount to constructive dismissal.

    You could trigger the grievance procedure. At the same time discuss issues with an employment law specialist.

    If you have motor insurance or house insurance policies you may find that legal expenses cover is provided. In any event, it might be worth spending £80-150 on some initial advice from a solicitor to see if you have grounds for bringing a constructive dismissal claim.
    ------------------------------- merged -------------------------------
    This would also be setting things up to strengthen your hand should they provide a bad reference.
    Last edited by The Debt Star; 13th June 2011 at 17:10:PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Thank you so much for your advice!

    So are you saying that based on what i told you, they would have a right to dismiss me? Based only on the fact that occasionally I got into dispute with HR? Why at the time of incident no one ever gave me a bollocking? It was only brought up few months later during my review.

    They gave me an option - stay or go. I fought with HR for a year now and I am simply tired of it and most of all - disguised with what is going on here. Hopefully I will not need a lawyer and the moment I will speak to them openly and politely again at the end of June, they will let me have as much time as I want to find a new job.

    Although everyone tells me to play their game, smile, nod and promise to behave and in the meantime quietly look for a job. What are your thoughts?

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Noushki,

    That's not what Debt Star is saying at all. What he is saying is that the way they are behaving to you is tantamount to forcing you out of your job, known as constructive dismissal. They are not allowed to do that, which is why he is suggesting getting legal advice as you have done nothing wrong - they have!
    Last edited by Celestine; 13th June 2011 at 23:20:PM.

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Hi Noushki,

    You could try this:-

    http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1680
    (AKA NOBBY!)

    This is only my opinion - "
    Opinions are made to be changed --or how is truth to be got at?" (Byron)

    You and I do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.
    Cohen, Herb

    There is danger when a man throws his tongue into high gear before he
    gets his brain a-going.
    Phelps, C. C.

    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!"
    The last words of John Sedgwick

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Hi Noushki

    Although your employers may be behaving in a manner that could be construed as constructive dismissal, be very careful if you consider legal action as it is incredibly difficult to prove and of those cases that do go to tribunal only a very small percentage actually succeed.

    In your case by your own admission you have:

    1) Openly undermined the authority of your office manager

    2) Conflicts with the office manager

    3) Conflicts with HR

    4) Read emails in your managers sent items which were private & confidential and whether you had access to them or not does not mean you should have opened them (this by itself could be considered sufficient action for gross misconduct depending on your companies IT policy).

    Your employers WILL raise all these (with maybe exception of #4 if no-one knows you have done this) in a defense of a constructive dismissal claim.

    To read it a different way, you have told your manager in your review that you're not happy and you're looking for another job. No employer wants a member of staff who is disengaged and disinterested in their job so they have given you 2 weeks to consider your position and decide what you want to do.

    If you're still unhappy then inform your manager that your thoughts have not changed, that you will be considering other employment and will be interviewing for positions at other companies and giving them a heads up that you may need to book time off to attend interviews.

    If you want to stay then you need to have a constructive interview with your manager, possibly involving a member of HR, to set expectations and ask what has gone wrong in the past, what you can do to improve things, and, more importantly, what measurable things you can do to show an improvement.

    Unfortunately though, it sounds like you may have already burned your bridges before you crossed them! A bit late now I know but your best approach, rather than stating you are looking for another job, would have been to state you are unhappy and what could be done to fix things.

    If your employer did not respond to this approach then you would have had a much better chance of proving constructive dismissal.

    If, as you say, the thought of going into work makes you feel sick, and you have lost respect for your colleagues, then perhaps the best thing for you to do is make a fresh start somewhere else anyway?

    Best

    Crispy

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Besides, they've probably already printed the raffle tickets for your job.
    I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be a lawyer.

    For sensible legal advice http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor.law

    For FREE legal representation, go to the National Probono Centre

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Hi Crispy
    Thank you so much for your advice and suggestions. I appreciate it. Not everything is the way you describe it though.

    There are reasons why I told them I have not been happy with what's going on and I lost my motivation in the last year.

    Exactly a year ago I received - quote "excellent" review of my work. It happened twice in 2 years of working here. I got a pay rise and a nice bonus. Two months later I discovered that manager who did my review has been sending emails to HR asking to start a recruitment process and find a replacement for me! I did not break any law by checking my managers emails – one of our secretarial duties is to manage our bosses emails. Hence they both granted me a permission to have access to their emails. Unfortunately they both forgot to delete those emails to HR.

    Although my review felt like Office Manager personal vengeance against me, It was a calm meeting (that I discretely recorded to protect myself), where we openly discussed my reasons, their reasons and we had a constructive discussion. At the end they just left me a choice – stay and play the game, or ...go and be happy somewhere else! And I decided I look for a new job, but do it quietly. Tell them I will shut up and behave, nod and smile and when I find somethign else, I will simply hand my notice. I was just chekcing with beagles if there is anything they can do to me once I respond to their question and agree to go.

    The reason why my manager was unhappy with me was the fact I get sick a lot! I was heart broken, disappointed, I lost my trust and respect for him. I spent 2 years working for him absolutely crazy hours, even when I was sick I always offered to do my job from home and ...then I was stabbed on the back. That’s how it felt. It completely knocked my confidence and motivation to work here. Obviously they could not fire me based on my health problems and few months after praising my work, so they moved me to another team.

    Although I had some disputes with HR or Office Manager that belongs to the same department, they have NEVER called me to their office and told me off for disagreeing with them. Also, I agree I had on few occasions made a gentle suggestion to Office Manager how to do her job, which could have made her feel like I am undermining her authority. That I take the whole responsibility for. If they were unhappy with my comments it would be appropriate for the manager to speak to me right then, not 6 months later during my review say - "there are behavioural issues" without even giving me 1 example! I asked for 15 minutes meeting during which she can tell me what I did or said that would be considered as inappropriate in the office environment and two weeks later I am still being ignored.

    However, other disputes between me and HR team were strictly related to my health problems and the fact I get sick a lot, which is a result of cancer treatment I had undergone few years ago. I have never hid it from them, I was honest during my interview that took place only a year after my treatment was finished. They know I look after myself, I take supplements, I see my oncologist regularly and I am frustrated with my low immunity system that is affecting not only my work but also my personal life. But last year the bullying got even worse...
    Every day I was off sick I had phone calls from HR demanding to know what the doctor said, how I am feeling and when I will return to work. I do not even call my mum that often! On my return to the office I would have 1 hour meeting with HR or Office Manager again nagging me about being sick and making speculations to which I responded recently with a legal letter!

    Here is an example of what recently happened - when I called to say I was sick they told me they do not have anybody to cover for me, so I offered to work from home. Despite that I was deducted my salary for sick leave, I was accused of extending my holiday and told that in the future not only I have to provide medical note each time I am sick (even if less than 5 days), but also I will NOT be paid for each day of sick leave (I know, they have a right to do so, it’s in my contract). I dealt with all those issues, I had a meeting with HR team on Friday.

    Office Manager is a person that encourages people in the office to gossip, spy on others, report them to her. She encourages a culture when your own boss goes behind your back instead of speaking to you directly about any issues he may have with you. She encourages a culture where managers smile at you, shake your hand and say you’re doing your work well, but in reality they conspire against you and try getting rid off you IF - you’re not kissing ass, you’re not tolerating lies and you get sick a lot! I live by my moral rules and I simply disagree with that kind of attitude and culture.

    Summarizing – I did not burn any bridges! I have spoken to my team and every single one of them said to me they are angry that Office Manager rewrote the review document to make it her own and removed their positive comments about my work and if I decided to leave they will be more than happy to write me a great reference. So there are few people that support me and are on mi side. Also the girls that I am friends with and I can trust.

    Unfortunately I would have to write a book to explain to you what was gong on here. I can only tell you that lots of lovely people, great employees left because they had enough of Office Manager. I decided to fight her and unfortunately it is now kicking me on the ass!


    One of my manager’s said to me yesterday – “you’re a great assistant and life is too short to waste it fighting her and losing your sleep over it..."
    Last edited by Noushki; 14th June 2011 at 10:46:AM.

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Well I have to say, it looks as though, as long as you can find a similar job, you and they would be happier with you moving.

    The way you have been pretty much forced into it is diabolical and should you wish you could probably fight this. However against that you have to weigh the fact you might get a good job elsewhere and be able to put all this behind you. If you do, would you really want all this hanging over you with an ongoing legal battle; Simlarly if you don't, do you want this hanging over you while still having to work there.

    Sounds to me like a parting of the ways is called for and you know you're going to get a good reference. Sometimes this is the best thing that can happen and I genuinely hope that if this is what you choose, this is how it turns out for you.

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    I appreciate you saying this! You're right, sometimes it is better to leave it all behind and simply move on. I do not want to fight them anymore, I have to think of my health and stress is not doing me any good.

    But as you can imagine, it hurts. You work hard, you often sacrifice your personal life for work to later find out that is not at all appreciated and no one cares about you, they only care about the money...It is so sad.

    Thank you so much for taking time to listen to me!

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crispybacon View Post
    be very careful if you consider legal action as it is incredibly difficult to prove and of those cases that do go to tribunal only a very small percentage actually succeed.
    Quite often things settle before they get to court.

    Part of my thinking above was that the OP get advice before taking any steps and also, if she does do something about the employer's behaviour, this could help protect her position should they subsequently try a hatchet job on her character before or after she leaves this employment (e.g. through her references etc).

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Hi Noushki

    I appreciate you could write a book on what goes on in your work place(!) but I based my comments on the information you had previously provided, which is very different to that on post #13!

    I'm afraid to say that what you describe is all too common now in the work place. Many people make the mistake of thinking that HR departments are there to protect the employees.

    HR is a business department that is there to manage the interests of the business in relation to employment law. I'm afraid to say this means ensuring the business is protected from litigation in exactly the circumstance you find yourself in.

    I know this may not be what you want to hear but your HR department, from what you have said so far, have done nothing beyond what they are entitled to do when an employee takes time off sick.

    Whether they have acted sympathetically to your situation, is, of course, another question, but unfortunately the work place is frequently not like that any more.

    While I understand your anger/upset/disappointment at the way you feel you have been treated unless you can provide a significant evidence of a trend (not singular instances) of bullying, harrassment, or other behaviour aimed at constructive dismisal personally I wouldn't recommend on pursuing such action simply for the following reasons:

    1) Less than 10% of constructive dismissal cases are actually found in the employees favour simply due to lack of evidence and evidence of intent

    2) The stress and impact it would have on your health simply wouldn't be worth it

    I still stand by my comment that you have burned your bridges (I don't mean burning bridges with people I mean cards you have left to play), because, simply what options have you left yourself?

    If you stay whats going to happen? If you are taking time off, and if the thought of going into work makes you feel ill (destructive cycle) and they are recording this, then ultimately it will make your work attendance record worse, making any potential reference worse should you look for a new job.

    It sounds like your best option would be to ask a couple of your colleagues that you get on well with to write letters or recommendation that you can take to interviews with you and who would be prepared to write a reference for you which will give you the support you need to find a new job.

    This way you completely bypass the Office Manager. Even if she did ultimately provide a reference, if it was found to be inaccurate, and you lost a position as a result of it, you could then look at legal action.

    Ultimately only you are in full possession of all the facts and only you can make that decision on what to do, but to answer the simple question of can your employer sack you for stating you are looking for alternative employment?

    No, they can't.

    What they can do though (depending on your contract) is place you on gardening leave.

    As it happens this isn't a bad thing anyway!

    Whichever route you decide to take very best of luck

    Crispy

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Hi Crispy

    I appreciate it was hard giving me advice not knowing all the facts and I did not make myself clear previously. It is so hard to describe everything over few sentences.

    You're completely right! No point in making matter worse, better smile and play the game before leaving, so I can leave on good terms.

    It is another lesson for me- do not let your emotion get in a way, work is work, there are rules and sometimes it is better to bite your tongue and obey the rules! I have been doing this work for 13 years now, but seems I am still learning

    Thank you so much for your help!

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crispybacon View Post
    Many people make the mistake of thinking that HR departments are there to protect the employees.

    HR is a business department that is there to manage the interests of the business in relation to employment law.
    True, so very true.

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Possibly slightly clearer now than when it was Personnel, but really should be called, "Making sure we stay legal by the skin of our teeth while doing what we want regarding you." Guess that's not such a catchy title and no acronym.

    Given that most use HR when they have a problem, perhaps it should be renamed
    Support Hopeless In This (abbreviated to ****)

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    So true! he he he

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Debt Star View Post
    True, so very true.
    Unfortunately so.

    In fact the HR department, in many cases because of this fact, should be the LAST place to go to for advice especially if the issue presents a conflict between business interests and your own.

    Ultimately there are not many jobs that are worth your health and happiness so I would rather live and learn and move on.

    I've added an attachment thats an interesting read. Its plugging an american book, so ignore that, but the concepts in the summary are very relevant.

    Best

    Crispy
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Like the link, Crispé. Been there a few times myself down the years.

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    This is really helpful. Thank you!

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    Default Re: Can I get fired for looking for a new job?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crispybacon View Post
    I've added an attachment that's an interesting read. It's plugging an American book, so ignore that, but the concepts in the summary are very relevant.
    There is another reason why employees quit - the stress of being one of the few honest employees in a workforce which is systemically corrupt or where everyone else seems to fiddle their expenses, perhaps even claiming salaries for their household pets!
    I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be a lawyer.

    For sensible legal advice http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor.law

    For FREE legal representation, go to the National Probono Centre

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