Case Study – Problems at Accounting for Small Business
Accounting for Small Business (AFSB) owns a number of accountancy firms in the South and West of England. Dennis has been employed for twelve years as a junior accountant in its Head Office in Portsmouth. Six months ago Sarah was appointed as the new Office Manager and relations between Dennis and Sarah have not been good. Dennis regards Sarah as being unduly authoritarian in her relations with staff, and believes that she often picks on a few members of staff to do the most demeaning work. Sarah regards Dennis as having an unprofessional attitude to his job and for being more concerned with the office environment than with getting on with his work. Dennis on the other hand considers himself to be a good employee who cares about his colleagues.
One day Sarah brings the staff together to tell them that she finds lateness very irritating and states that to ensure they all think about their commitment to the firm anyone who is late will be asked to do additional tasks. The next morning, Raj who has an excellent work record and has worked at the firm for three years arrives 20 minutes late as his train is delayed. Raj immediately apologises to Sarah however Sarah does not want to listen and states that as the office cleaner is ill he should clean everyone’s desk before he leaves that evening. Using very strong language, Raj refuses to comply with Sarah’s instructions on the basis that it is not part of his job to do such work, and that it would be more appropriate to instruct one of the other cleaners to do this work. Raj also informs Sarah that he is fed up with being picked on and is not prepared to accept Sarah as having any further authority over him.
The next day Raj is summoned to the office of Glen Jacques, the Managing Director of the firm. Glen informs Raj that he is to attend a disciplinary meeting later that day and that he has the right to bring a colleague. At the meeting Raj is informed that he is to be dismissed summarily for gross insubordination (in that he refused to obey a lawful instruction) and gross misconduct and that contrary to normal procedures, Glen has decided that as there were plenty of witnesses to the insubordination and to the foul language he used, it would be a waste of time to hold an appeal. Raj is told to clear his desk and leave.
Later the same day Dennis asks to see Glen and discusses with him all his feelings about Sarah and tries to explain how poor office morale is since her appointment. Glen is furious and sends an email to everyone stating that ‘Sarah is the boss and what she says goes and that if Dennis has a problem with her then he is obviously not up to the job and that he should leave’. On reading this Dennis too goes home.
Fred has worked as an Assistant Office Manager at the firm’s office in Southampton for 6 years. As Sarah seems to be struggling with recent events, she has decided to take a long holiday and Fred has been asked to take over from her at the Portsmouth Office for the next three months. Fred likes working in Southampton and his suits his lifestyle as he lives very close to the Southampton office which means he can stay at home with his children until they go into school in the morning and he can be at home again soon after they finish in the evening. Fred refuses the request to move to the Portsmouth Office even on a temporary basis. Meanwhile, it is decided that the Southampton Office (which currently employs 100 staff) is to close ‘early in 2015’ and that Fred, along with others will be transferred to the Portsmouth Office on a permanent basis.
Question 1 Advise Raj of any claim he may have
Question 2 Advise Dennis of any claim he may have
DO NOT MENTION Fred in both answers.
As you are advising clients for the course work, there is no need to consult (or reference) journal articles. Look at westlaw for cases and refer to text books for the information. I suggest that you borrow from the library additional books to support the recommended text.
I suggest you borrow a book that puts employment law into context. Perhaps
Employment Law Roger Welch and Caroline Strevens
Employment Law and Practice John Sprack
Employment Law Janice Nairns
Whatever you choose make sure it is post 2008 – there are loads of books available.