A food packaging client was faced with an early conciliation claim by an employee on maternity leave. As is often the case, this claim came out of the blue, and we were asked to negotiate on the owners’ behalf to agree a settlement or to fight the claim at Tribunal. The initial claim was for approximately £19K.
We investigated the validity of the claims, which also involved understanding how the sales department operated. As ever, in these cases, there is an element of both sides are right. The approach is to reach a commercial middle ground and learn from the feedback that has been given. The employee felt pushed into a corner, was unhappy in her role and it appeared that launching a claim was the only way that she could maintain ‘face’. After some direct conversations with the company owners, it was agreed that tighter measurement criteria were needed to improve and monitor sales’ performance.
Not every claim requires a qualified solicitor. The claim was eventually bought out for the equivalent of a month’s salary in return for accepting the employee’s resignation. Internal procedures were tightened up to the extent that, following a workshop, the sales team bought into a team monthly sales target and individual objectives and accountabilities. Early indications suggest an increase in performance that will enable the 6 month provisional target to be met.