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Disciplinary Hearing - please advise

Disciplinary Hearing - please advise

Hi, I've posted once before but things have moved on and I wonder if I could get some advice... to give you a bit of background I'm in a sales job with 20 years experience and been with this company for 2 years. I had a previous good record for the first year (in the top 20 of 100 salespeople) then sales became very difficult with the economy, and I only achieved 51% of annual target. The targets are sky high and I'm not the only one out of our team who hasn't achieved target. I was put on a PIP (performance improvement plan) with one of the tasks impossible to achieve for a certain number of quality new business appointments per week. And I'm now invited to a discipinary hearing next week. I'm not aware of any of my colleagues being put on a PIP or going through this.

I'm trying to decide if just to resign on Monday with a months notice, (I don't need this hassle and I'm looking for a new job - but if I resign I'll have no money coming in) or go to this and put a case together which at the best would bide me some more time, but risks me having been dismissed from my last job and having to explain it.

I'm not looking forward to this meeting but I realise I'm going to have to go to ... but i would like to postphone it for a bit because I have some good deals coming in this month. I know that sounds desperate (they want to get rid of you, just go) but I would like to resign on a high, be able to tell my recent sales results on job interviews and think "stuff you!" to my current boss :-) there's also the case that if I go, other colleagues will get these deals I've been working on, and will get the glory " see, i could close it, we did the right thing getting rid"

Also if I can put it off it will give me more time to get used to the idea of this horrible meeting which is intimidating. So I've been trying to think of ways to postphone it....they have said I can bring somebody a colleague or a trade union official. We're not members of any trade union and it's not the culture where colleagues would be willing to attend, everybody is watching their own backs. I would prefer to take nobody because hey, it's embarrassing all this ! I have my pride ! But my partner has offered to come, although on holiday next week he could maybe come the week after. He like me is up North and the meeting is down south which is inconvenient... but would they allow me to bring a partner instead do you think? My partner said it would put them on the back foot to have somebody there and he would take notes so they can't claim something wasn't said.

Then there's prepping my case when I get there. I would like to try and avoid getting dismissed to give me time on a salary to look for a new job. I know they are not supposed to dismiss you at a first meeting, and I've had no warning letters. But I can tell my boss wants to, we have never really got on since he started a year ago. So he will do everything to just get rid. He is intimidating and probably the fear factor has affected my sunny disposition also with getting sales in - but that's by the by. Whatever happens I want out of this company anyway.

As part of my case...The company salespeople were given some new extensive sales training and the boss was supposed to come out with us to coach to follow up at customer meetings. But he never did. Always claiming he was too busy. The distance doesn't help I'm up North and they are down south. If I mentioned this would the company see it as fair to give me some more time with some coaching...don't they need to be seen as reasonable to be helping me out where possible ? Another things is, average close time of a deal is 90 days, and I didn't get the official PIP document until the 8th May with a finish date of 9th June - not very long and doesn't really give me a chance? I didn't manage to do one of the items on the PIP which was to achieve a certain number of quality new business meetings per week, I only had a limited time to do that in, and I was just short because prospects cancelled last minute. I flagged this up as soon as I saw it on the PIP as an area of concern, nobody is getting that number of new business meetings, I was told it would be reviewed as we go, but it wasn't. Part way through this PIP I said that I had 90% achieved it, and was told "good". Then later when I said it was nearly over, my boss announced it would be followed by another PIP, imagine my dismay... but this never happened. When it came to it he said he didn't know what to put on another PIP, so because I hadn't improved we would have to go for the disciplinary hearing as part of the process. See how he's not giving me a chance? That was 4 weeks ago, and suddenly he contacts me with an urgency for a date for this meeting with HR. He asked for only 2 days working notice, and I insisted on the minimum of 3. So if it's been 4 weeks and they've done nothing about the date, can't I postphone until my partner is around (if he can get the time off work that is, he's away at the moment).

Lots of questions, and stressed out, any advice appreciated. Many thanks.


8/2/2009 2:13:52 PM

No you cannot postpone (unless you are sick and that won't help you, plus you will have sick days on your employment record) and no your partner cannot accompany you. The law is specific - colleague or trades union rep. Everything else that you have to say is mitigation so they have to listen to what you say, but they do not have to accept it. We have already told you that a dismissal in the first instance may well be considered unfair, but if they choose to discipline you and put in place another PIP then there is nothing that you can do about that, and continuing to fail to meet the PIP will eventually lead to dismissal, which in all probability will be fair in law. All you can do is explain the situation and see what happens. But I would not be entirely hopefully - at best it would be weak as a case unless they dismissed on the first disciplinary, and even then there are no guarantees.


8/2/2009 2:31:19 PM

OK.... so I would have to go to this meeting alone then. 2 against 1 doesn't seem fair when it's a meeting of this nature.

I had considered ringing in sick with stress but I think it would be too obvious.

If risk of dismissal is high, I may as well resign because I can't afford to be sacked for future jobs. I asked my boss if I was could be dismissed at this meeting and he said you've had no other disciplinaries so.... and left it open. But I don't believe a word he says, he has tried to disguise the context of the meeting, has changed things he's said in the past about the whole thing. I know he just wants me to take the hint and jump.

If they gave me a warning and put me on another PIP I'd see it as an opportunity to spin this out and get another pay packet, and probably get these additional orders in, and give me more time to find another job, but I can't guarantee they will take this lesser route, as I say he wants me out...or he wouldn't be doing this process.

I asked if anybody else was on a PIP and his response was typically vague ... he said nobody else is at this stage that you are... which doesn't tell me yes or no.

Guess I'll just have to give up and not fight, one the one hand I could really do with a break, but no income! Great !


8/2/2009 2:53:37 PM

I think that resigning now would be stupid. I am pretty sure we told you this before - either resign before this or don't do it at all. You have performance issues and you have a disciplinary scheduled - so if you resign now both can be mentioned in a reference. The ONLY point of resigning now would be if they agreed not to mention these in a reference - and if you believed any such promise. And your boss obviously realises that to dismiss you on the first occasion would be unfair in law probably, so it isn't likley this will happen. It is up to you, but I think it is too late to resign and for it all to go away (plus they can still discipline you in your notice period).


8/2/2009 4:20:10 PM

OK Thanks Shikira.

I won't resign I'll turn up, hear what they have to say, put my case forward and see what happens. I hear what you say that probably won't dismiss me at a first meeting. Likely a warning and/or another PIP.

However...if they did sack me there and then ... I'm not being negative, I just have to think worse case scenario so I can prepare for any outcome ...I plan to ask if they will accept a resignation with a months notice instead, with no mention of disciplinary on a reference. Usually in this type of job they don't want you hanging around working your notice because it's customer facing work.

I'm guessing you are going to say they don't have to do that and its up to their discretion, especially not mentioning it on a reference, but is there any reason they could say "no, you're sacked, we're not accepting a resignation" in law ?

In other words can they accept a resignation after they say they want to dismiss me?

Sorry to go on about it but promise this is the last question.


8/2/2009 5:31:44 PM

Yes that would be half of what I would say. They other half would be "are you completely insane?"!!!! Your BEST CHANCE of a tribunal win would be IF they did sack you now. And you want to throw it away by resigning after they do it? Did you listen to what I told you? The most likely outcome WILL be a warning/another PIP - Because to sack you on the first occasion would most likely be unfair in law? You will absolutely do no such thing. Hear???


8/2/2009 9:53:33 PM

Yes I hear - and thanks for putting it so straight. I really appreciate you help and advice. Thanks again.


8/2/2009 11:18:52 PM