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In Which Our Hero Gets Fired
Yellow head
In truth, I still have a job, but not for much longer.

The care home where I work is run cheaply by the owner, who has recently tried to save costs by making the care staff, including the manager and deputy manager, do the gardening and redecorating. We used to have an odd-job man to do these kind of jobs. An east-Europeon who left in a huff when he found out that the new care manager was gay, saying as he went out the door "In our country we beat such people up. You English are too tolerant."

I've managed to avoid any of this other work, as gardening and painting walls is not in my job description. I'm there as a care worker to look after the residents. That's my priority. This is a full time and difficult job in itself. We get paid extraordinarily little for our thirty-two hours work. And for this, the owner treats of like surfs, showing us no respect at all.

I've always known that there would come a time when the owner would ask me directly to do some gardening and such a situation came about on Thursday afternoon. I feel so strongly about this matter that I knew, if I had any backbone at all, that I would have to confront him. Pretty scary, as this gentleman is arrogant and bombastic. All the staff feel intimidated by him, including me.

I told him point blank that I had no intention of doing anything accept care work. I called him a bully and that I didn't like his attitude or tone of voice. He told me that he would be instigating an "investigation" into my behaviour, before storming out into the garden to pull up weeds in a fury.

This by the way, is in a place where good staff get routinely fired or "let go", for no obvious reasons other than the owner doesn't like them.

Later I was called up stairs to the office, where the owner, the manager, the deputy manager, and even the area manager, were facing me across a deck. The owner reiterated his version of events, making him look like a saint and me to look like an unreasonable idiot. I was told by the owner that he would come to a decision about my future at the care home in around a week (or so). By coincidence we have two new members of staff starting at the end of next week. So I'm assuming that he can't fire me before then as it would leave him short-staffed. The end is nigh.

I will, of course, be visiting the Citizens Advice Bureau in order to see what rights I have.

Curiously, this little affair has boosted my confidence no end. Who knew that I could be so brave. Certainly not me.

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Definitely see Citizens Advice. I'm sure they can't fire you just like that - even if you had done something wrong. As I understand it there's a kind of three tier process employers have to go through, involving a warning meeting, followed by a written warning (if you still don't shape up after a certain period of time) before they can fire you.

Also from what I hear Employment Tribunals tend to favour the employee when ruling on unfair dismissal. And if they're asking you to do stuff outside your job description you have a really strong case.

Well done for standing your ground!

Charley's right- they definitely haven't followed the disciplinary process.

You need to receive a letter that outlines the issue and 'invites' you to a displinary hearing in the first place, where you have the right to be supported by a colleague or a union rep. And then there's all the other steps that haven't been followed.

As you're feeling so brave, I recommend that you follow through and take them to a tribunal- the wrongful dismissal money will come in handy if you are 'let go'.

A lot of lawyers nowadays work on a no-win no fee basis, as far as I know - just make sure you get someone who knows about employment law.

Congratulations on your bravery. And the others are right: You cannot be dismissed in this way legally unless you have been there for less than a year. CAB will advise you. Your employer must show they have a valid reason for dismissing you and that they acted reasonably in the circumstances. If you are dismissed after more than a year's service you have a legal right to a written explanation of the dismissal.

Unfortunately I've been there less than a year.

Sadly, in that case they can do what they like if you are not pregnant (and I think that this loophole is unavailable to you).

you must stick up for yourself! well done D!

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