Employment and careers
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Agency workers

emre43emre43 Member Posts: 3 Listener
edited October 2019 in Employment and careers
Hi all

I am writing as a former agency worker who has recently lost their job. There is nowhere I can turn, as I have no legal rights to defend myself.

I have suffered with social anxiety disorder, which I have been clinically diagnosed with, my entire life. Because of this, I have difficulty finding employment, as passing interviews is not easy for me. Although, I was employed via an agency, I had been working at the company for thirteen months, with the expectation for that work to continue into the foreseeable future, and the likelihood of the job becoming permanent. Since leaving school at eighteen (I will turn thirty in November) I have never had a permanent contract and rely on agency work. I really enjoyed this role, it was near perfect for me and within a close proximity of my home. 

Until 30th September 2019, I was employed via an agency for a company in South London. 

On 16th September, a baseless accusation was brought against me which I categorically denied in the form of a written statement, that I was asked to provide via my agency. 

My accuser was given hours to speak to the Human Resources (HR) department through face-to-face meetings, whilst I was not afforded a single meeting. Indeed, the only response I was afforded during this time was the aforementioned statement. Further, I provided two character references, neither of which did HR bother to contact. I have a clean DBS and have never been in trouble either inside or outside the workplace.

On 30th September 2019, despite the statement and character references I provided, and no evidence provided by my accuser, HR terminated my contract. They did not accuse me of any wrongdoing, but gave the reason that the situation was ‘untenable’. This, despite them not even attempting to make the situation tenable. There was no attempt at mediation between myself and my accuser. There was no attempt to resolve the situation with us both keeping our employment, despite my written offer to do anything required to help create a safe working environment. HR’s decision went against the wishes of my manager, who they did not consult on this. My manager was only made aware of my dismissal after I told her the same evening

I am concerned that agency workers can be exploited and used simply as collateral by employers. I have lost a job I loved and colleagues I admired for no good reason and without a thorough or fair investigation having taken place. Agency workers are vulnerable and this is a prime example. I do not think it is remotely fair that I should have lost my job and having done so, I am now unable to provide for myself. Further, my termination validated my accuser’s claim. I have no legal right to defend myself. 

I am truly distraught and find it difficult to comprehend me finding a job that was more perfect for me than this one was.

I believe agency worker’s rights need to be further protected. There is no good reason why they should not be. Whether a contract is temporary or permanent, employers should have to provide a valid reason to terminate an employee’s contract. Unfair dismissal should be unfair dismissal, regardless of the contract type.

Replies

  • GeoarkGeoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,372 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @emre43 and welcome to the community.

    I am sorry to hear what you have gone through, and having been an agency worker myself I know how these things can happen.

    Unfortunately there are two points that need to be considered. 1. your employer is the agency you work for, not the employer using their services. The 2nd is even with further strengthening of workers right, it used to be diabolical, it would not have worked in your favour in this instance. In general an employee can only claim unfair dismissal if they have been employed for a minimum of two years.

    On a more positive note it sounds like you enjoyed the job and it worked for you until this happened. Identifying the elements that worked so well for you could help you to focus on finding the right type of job for you, and hopefully onto something more positive. Do consider using Scope's online employment support who can help you through some of the issues, including reasonable adjustments at interviews.

    Good luck for the future

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,926

    Scope community team

    I'm very sorry to read this @emre43. It sounds like you've been treated really unfairly. Unfortunately I don't have much experience of agency work, so can't really make any suggestions. Have you sought any support from ACAS about this? 

    As Geoark said, you're more than welcome to make use of our free employment services and if there's anything at all we can do to help you, we'll be more than happy to advise.
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    Your feedback is really important to the development of the online community, so please remember to complete our online community annual survey
  • emre43emre43 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Hi Adrian, I have spoken to ACAS, there does not seem to be anything I can do.

    It would even make me feel better if there was some kind of organisation who would write to them on my behalf, even if it meant their practices improved. If positive change could come out of my departure, I would feel like I didn’t lose my job in vain. Unfortunately, I’ve lost a job I loved for no good reason. 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,926

    Scope community team

    Hi again @emre43. I'm sorry you've lost something you enjoyed so much. Are you having much luck finding anything else?
    It might be worth getting in touch with Equality Advisory Support Service as they might be able to advise, or at least give you some suggestions as to a course of action.
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    Your feedback is really important to the development of the online community, so please remember to complete our online community annual survey
  • emre43emre43 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thanks Adrian, I will get in touch with them. 
  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
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