Naaz93
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Hi all, I need some advice.

My employment is being terminated by my current company due to failing exams. The company I work for is not Big4, not top 10 or even in top 50 (if there is such)

My employment contract does not include any clause regards to my employment depend on performance of exams. Neither was I told or made aware at this point that if I failed an exam my employment will be terminated.
This literally came out of nowhere and I was completely blindsided.

Funny enough I’ve wanted to leave this place since a month into my employment as it was that bad and management doesn’t know how to take any responsibility for their actions. I stuck around due to covid.
There’s many problems in the place, my colleague who also sat exams with me failed their exams as we both didn’t get the proper support. We were signed up for the qualification only 5 months before the exams and was expected to sit 3 in one go.

Just want to know if other had experienced anything like this? Can what they’ve done be considered wrongful dismissal?
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ajj2000
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How long have you worked there?
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Naaz93
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(Original post by ajj2000)
How long have you worked there?
Just under two years unfortunately. It would be 3 months to my 2 year anniversary from my last day of employment.
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Johnny ~
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Your best option is to consult an employment lawyer. It'll be worth the money given that your actual salary is at stake. It sounds like what they're doing is a breach of contract but we can't be sure because the contract can include terms that aren't written down on paper. It sounds like you're not eligible for an unfair dismissal claim, but, again you need to speak to a lawyer about this.

As a general rule, it's a bad idea to trust the interwebs for legal advice! No actual lawyer posts advice because the stakes of doing so and getting it wrong are enormous!
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Naaz93
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Thank you for your reply. I will definitely seek advice in that case. Whilst contract can include terms that are written down on a paper, I was not even made aware of the terms verbally. My manager said to me just have a go and see how you get on, you might get lucky with an easy paper. Given I am doing ATT there was no way I can “just have a go” and see how I get on. :/
No such terms are even mentioned in their employee handbook.
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K1NE
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(Original post by Naaz93)
Hi all, I need some advice.

My employment is being terminated by my current company due to failing exams. The company I work for is not Big4, not top 10 or even in top 50 (if there is such)

My employment contract does not include any clause regards to my employment depend on performance of exams. Neither was I told or made aware at this point that if I failed an exam my employment will be terminated.
This literally came out of nowhere and I was completely blindsided.

Funny enough I’ve wanted to leave this place since a month into my employment as it was that bad and management doesn’t know how to take any responsibility for their actions. I stuck around due to covid.
There’s many problems in the place, my colleague who also sat exams with me failed their exams as we both didn’t get the proper support. We were signed up for the qualification only 5 months before the exams and was expected to sit 3 in one go.

Just want to know if other had experienced anything like this? Can what they’ve done be considered wrongful dismissal?
Sorry to hear about your situation. I really hope the next role you find is much better and management are much more supportive.

I would just say be careful when speaking to Lawyers at first. It costs a lot of money and they can charge you just for just reviewing e-mails, time on the phone etc....

Maybe in first instance, collate information together, read through your contact speak to Citizens advice and potentially ACAS ? Thy both give free employment advice and may be able to answer some of the more basic questions you have in terms of contract employment or give some advice ? Also, speak ATT and if there is any support/advice they provide to students and explain your situation. Every situation is unique but maybe they can give some advice or point you in the right direction.

I mean of course speaking to Lawyer will be necessary too if you want to take legal action but I think speaking to some of these organisation initially might be helpful in the first instance.
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Catherine1973
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If you can’t pass accounting exams and your employer as an accounting trainee, Then dismissal for not being able to process is probably reasonable.

But then any reason is okay in first 2 years as long as not illegal discrimination (ie basis if race or sex)

Did you sign anything to say training was repayable? As if not, they can’t claim it back generally.
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AlphaZeta
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(Original post by Naaz93)
Just under two years unfortunately. It would be 3 months to my 2 year anniversary from my last day of employment.
An appraisal must have been carried out and would outline your targets. Was there any mention of sitting professional exams? I would contact ACAS https://www.acas.org.uk/dismissals/unfair-dismissal.Any ammendments part through your employment needs to be made by your employer in writing. You need to demonstrate that you were not ready to sit three papers under the prevailing covid uncertainty and you made this apparent to your employer.

Not knowing exactly the background of your circumstances, generally you sack employees within two years of their contract so to avoid paying out redundacy payment.
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Naaz93
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AlphaZeta

There was a mention of professional exams. But they didn’t really plan it well. They just randomly signed us up, 5 months before the written (now online) exams.
Initially, we (the other assistant) were made to do 3 exams in one sitting but we disputed that as it was too much pressure for us given short time frame. We were told to take revision days as annual leave which we also challenged as HR let the managers decide and they allowed it 3 days before course was due to start. I was still struggling so I asked if I/we can do one at a time and that’s when I was told to just have a go.
I was having panic attacks every night before bed where I felt like I was going to die and never wake up. I addressed this to my manager and I have proof of it. I was told to take it easy and that my health was most important. I feel like they really stab me in the back. They were all nice to my face and little did I know what they were saying/planning on behind my back. My colleague also failed her exams, she actually handed her resignation due to her being accused by her line manager of not actually working and pretending to be online. I think this goes to show the support we actually had from them, which was none.
My appraisal objectives had dates but these were not possible in reality due to covid. My computer based exam was cancelled due to covid, my manager made such a fuss that I had to drive to Bournemouth in order to it the next available.
This place did not let us speak up at all and we were easy targets.
They had two assistants before we joined and they both left soon after they got their qualification. They blamed those assistants leaving on another manager but in reality the remaining managers were toxic.

on my clawback I’m only asked to pay study cost if I leave, so in this case I don’t have to pay anything back.
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Naaz93
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K1NE

thank you, they took me and the other assistants on knowing well that we did not have any prior tax knowledge. They were supposed to give us on the job training and have us sit exams.
Our whole employment was so poorly managed. Their new structure didn’t work because they were too lazy to put actual effort in which is quite typical of them.

I will speak to ATT, I turned to their student support when I was struggling and they helped me approach my concerns. They didn’t understand why we were asked to do 6 exams in span of 5 months given the current world wide pandemic.

(Original post by K1NE)
Sorry to hear about your situation. I really hope the next role you find is much better and management are much more supportive.

I would just say be careful when speaking to Lawyers at first. It costs a lot of money and they can charge you just for just reviewing e-mails, time on the phone etc....

Maybe in first instance, collate information together, read through your contact speak to Citizens advice and potentially ACAS ? Thy both give free employment advice and may be able to answer some of the more basic questions you have in terms of contract employment or give some advice ? Also, speak ATT and if there is any support/advice they provide to students and explain your situation. Every situation is unique but maybe they can give some advice or point you in the right direction.

I mean of course speaking to Lawyer will be necessary too if you want to take legal action but I think speaking to some of these organisation initially might be helpful in the first instance.
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AlphaZeta
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(Original post by Naaz93)
AlphaZeta

There was a mention of professional exams. But they didn’t really plan it well. They just randomly signed us up, 5 months before the written (now online) exams.
Initially, we (the other assistant) were made to do 3 exams in one sitting but we disputed that as it was too much pressure for us given short time frame. We were told to take revision days as annual leave which we also challenged as HR let the managers decide and they allowed it 3 days before course was due to start. I was still struggling so I asked if I/we can do one at a time and that’s when I was told to just have a go.
I was having panic attacks every night before bed where I felt like I was going to die and never wake up. I addressed this to my manager and I have proof of it. I was told to take it easy and that my health was most important. I feel like they really stab me in the back. They were all nice to my face and little did I know what they were saying/planning on behind my back. My colleague also failed her exams, she actually handed her resignation due to her being accused by her line manager of not actually working and pretending to be online. I think this goes to show the support we actually had from them, which was none.
My appraisal objectives had dates but these were not possible in reality due to covid. My computer based exam was cancelled due to covid, my manager made such a fuss that I had to drive to Bournemouth in order to it the next available.
This place did not let us speak up at all and we were easy targets.
They had two assistants before we joined and they both left soon after they got their qualification. They blamed those assistants leaving on another manager but in reality the remaining managers were toxic.

on my clawback I’m only asked to pay study cost if I leave, so in this case I don’t have to pay anything back.
Click on the link and follow ACAS process and provide all the necessary documentations. Your narrative needs to be clear and easy to follow than what you have written. For example, chronological timelines leading to your dismissal; what happened, when, where and with whom.
ACAS will forward your statement to your former employer who will be given the opportunity to respond. If it can't be resolved or they don't respond (28 days) then the case will be heard at the Employment Tribunal.

From experience, ACAS are pretty good.
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AlphaZeta
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For the reason of employment history (reference), It is in your interest to pursue the case to a favourable outcome.
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Naaz93
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AlphaZeta

Thank you, that’s really helpful.

haha sorry if what I’ve written is all over the place. I’ve received the news on Friday and my head is all over the place and I still can’t believe it.
As my colleague (the other assistant) pretty much experienced the same issues, do you think a statement from her would help when I write to ACAS?

Regards to reference- if I do write to ACAS and somehow it escalates to the tribunal; do you think then the company will give me a bad reference or refuse to provide one at all? I think by law or something companies can’t give bad reference? Not sure, pls correct me if I'm wrong.
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K1NE
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(Original post by Naaz93)
K1NE

thank you, they took me and the other assistants on knowing well that we did not have any prior tax knowledge. They were supposed to give us on the job training and have us sit exams.
Our whole employment was so poorly managed. Their new structure didn’t work because they were too lazy to put actual effort in which is quite typical of them.

I will speak to ATT, I turned to their student support when I was struggling and they helped me approach my concerns. They didn’t understand why we were asked to do 6 exams in span of 5 months given the current world wide pandemic.
Well hopefully by speaking to one of these organisations, they may be able to give you some advice on what to do in relation to your situation or at least point you in the right direction as to who to talk to.

Really hope your experience in your next role is much better !

All the best.
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Catherine1973
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Regarding references, companies can give bad ones but they have to be truthful. Companies can also refuse to give one (bar in jobs like schools)

But most companies just now confirm start and end dates and job title and reason for leaving nowadays and won’t comment any further.
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Naaz93
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K1NE
thank you so much for your wishes. I hope so too 🤞
I was an apprentice before at a large insurance company. With that I had to do ACCA and I passed my 3 initial exams. I was given the correct support by everyone, my colleagues were super helpful and not undermining.
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Naaz93
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Catherine1973

this is what I was worried about. I interviewed for a position weeks prior to this happening, so at that point I was simply looking to leave because I wasn’t getting what I want out of the job. The job I’ve applied to came back to me with different offer to what was advertised bec they liked me but felt I was too junior for the role.

ive said I need to speak to my current employer and find out what their plan for me in the future and little did I know I was doomed 😂
So now that they’ve terminated my employment I’m really worried that when the new company does the background check (if I get an offer) that this is going to show up. But I’ve not been dishonest with them when I interviewed for the position, I genuinely had no clue I was going to be let go.
I feel like this company really screwed me over after everything I’ve done to prove myself.
The managers were simply too lazy to provide proper on the job training which would only have benefited me and them. Instead they told us to do exams and expected that’s enough.
My other colleague started a week before I did, she had no prior knowledge so she was asking a lot of questions from her manager. The manager actually complained to the head of the dept that she was asking too many questions :/
when I started I started with another colleague (who’s also let go) he was the one who helped me out to get started and explain the basic of tax and software because our manager was on holiday when we both started.

The more I recall, the more I realise what a shitshow it is/was.
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ajj2000
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you can ring ACAS - no need to write at this point. On what you have written I doubt that they will suggest pursuing any action so I wouldnt start thinking about tribunals until they have looked at your situation.
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AlphaZeta
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(Original post by Naaz93)
AlphaZeta

Thank you, that’s really helpful.

haha sorry if what I’ve written is all over the place. I’ve received the news on Friday and my head is all over the place and I still can’t believe it.
As my colleague (the other assistant) pretty much experienced the same issues, do you think a statement from her would help when I write to ACAS?

Regards to reference- if I do write to ACAS and somehow it escalates to the tribunal; do you think then the company will give me a bad reference or refuse to provide one at all? I think by law or something companies can’t give bad reference? Not sure, pls correct me if I'm wrong.
What do you want, your old job back? If not, then just move on.

If you get opportunity for prospective job interviews, don't put your former employers in a negative way with snidey comments and start blaming them for all the ills. You will dig a hole so deep that you will not be able to get out. This will make you look the 'bad guy' irrespective of the truth. Coronovirus is the great disruptor to many organisations, not sure if it applies in your case.
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