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My Boss is Trying to Get Rid of Me – Actions to Take

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My Boss is Trying to Get Rid of Me – Actions to Take

Do you feel as if your boss is trying to get rid of you? If so, your instincts might be right.

Unfortunately, certain managers avoid giving their staff honest feedback and they can feel threatened by the potential and ability of a team member. But rather than confronting the situation, they try to push those staff into leaving through a passive-aggressive technique called “managing out”.

Here are 10 unmistakable signs your boss wants you to quit

  1. They take away your best projects for no reason.
  2. They change your title and/or your pay.
  3. They cut you off from others outside the department.
  4. They pretend you’ve made mistakes even if you haven’t.
  5. They avoid you and don’t reply to your emails and messages.
  6. They say negative things about you to your colleagues.
  7. They stop talking about your future and forget projects previously assigned to you.
  8. They give the most interesting parts of your job to others without telling you or explaining why.
  9. They ignore you when they see you.
  10. They stop copying you in on group emails and messages.

If you find yourself in this situation, you have several options. First think about what you want. Do you want to resolve the situation and stay or get a decent severance package and leave?

What to do if your boss is trying to get you to quit

If you feel your boss is trying to get you to quit, start keeping notes about their actions and what they say to you. Keep their emails, texts and other messages so you have evidence of their behaviour.

Talk to your boss

Start by talking to your boss to find out whether you’re reading the situation correctly. If your manager is honest about it, you’ll at least know where you stand. Make a note of the meeting for future reference.

Transfer to a different department

If you work in a large organisation, you might be able to transfer to another department or business unit. This might cause some temporary angst while your transfer request goes through, but you’ll at least know you’ll be escaping soon.

What not to do

Don’t: go to human resources as the HR department are often closely tied to other top-level leaders. They tend to support management.

Don’t: resign without considering what else you can do to resolve the situation or protect your rights as you will be able to sue for illegal discrimination.

Don’t: have it out with your boss when you’re feeling emotional. Rehearse what you want to say and ask for an explanation of their attitude, behaviour or approach to you and your work.

Don’t: assume you have to stay and endure such an uncertain situation. Resigning and then looking for a better job might be the best way forward.

Can my boss just fire me?

The simple answer to this question is no, but there are some situations when your employer can dismiss you fairly and it’s worth being aware of these.

Your employer can fire you if:

You don’t do your job properly: you haven’t been able to keep up with important changes to your job such as using a new computer system or not be able to get along with your colleagues.

You’re ill: you have a persistent or long-term illness that makes it impossible for you to do your job.

You commit gross misconduct: you use violence against a colleague, customer or property. This can result in summary dismissal, which means your employer doesn’t have to go through the usual disciplinary procedures.

You’re the subject of a ‘statutory restriction’: This is when your employer would be breaking the law by continuing to employ you, for example, if you’re a lorry driver but you lose your driving licence.

When it’s impossible for your employer to carry on employing you: you could be dismissed if, for example, your place of work is burnt down making it impossible for your employer to employ anyone.

There is a ‘substantial reason’: you could be dismissed fairly if, for example, you unreasonably refuse to accept a company reorganisation that alters your employment terms or you’re sent to prison.

Can an employer force you to quit?

Even though you may feel your employer has forced you to quit (known as constructive dismissal) by using bullying behaviour, it’s very hard to prove. Also there are specific legal conditions that need to be met before your employer can be investigated for constructive dismissal.

To claim constructive dismissal, you need to show that:

  • Your employer has committed a serious breach of contract.
  • You felt forced to leave because of that breach.
  • You haven’t done anything to suggest you have accepted their breach or a change in employment conditions.

Industrial Tribunal claims

Before going to an industrial tribunal, get some advice about whether you have a case for unfair or wrongful dismissal following a constructive dismissal. If you do, and you think you can show it was unfair or wrongful you should leave your job immediately or your employer could argue that, by staying, you have accepted the conduct or treatment. But, avoid resigning before the actual breach of contract occurs or your employer could then claim you weren’t actually fired.

Is it better to quit or get fired?

There are pros and cons to each option, but it’s worth considering all the factors before you make a decision. Here are some suggestions about what you need to think about.

Getting fired

The benefits

First of all, getting fired ends the uncertainty about whether to stay or go because the company has made that decision for you. It may also mean you’re in a position to negotiate a severance package

The disadvantages

Getting fired can be traumatic because you have to handle the rejection while losing your income at the same time. Then there’s the stigma that comes with it and the difficulty of having to state why you were fired in job interviews.

It’s better to get fired when… you need the severance pay

Quitting

The benefits

Quitting is appealing because you get instant freedom and you leave on your own terms. You can also enjoy telling your employer what they can do with their job!

The disadvantages

Apart from waving goodbye to any severance package on offer, you’ll have to have that awkward conversation with your boss and accept that quitting means ending relationships. Even if you try to leave with grace, it can be stressful and you still might not walk away feeling good about it.

It’s better to quit when… you’ve already found another job or are ready to start your own business. If you don’t have another job yet, make sure you’ve got enough money to cover your expenses for six months so you have time to recover and find your next role.

How do I negotiate a settlement?

If you know your employer wants you to leave and your situation is untenable, it’s important that you take legal advice from an employment specialist before negotiating a severance package.

As this is a negotiation, the initial offer is unlikely to be the best deal you can get. So be patient. There will be a lot to consider but here are some key points to bear in mind.

  • Determine what you want from of the agreement first and be prepared to compromise on some small points to get what you want
  • The first £30,000 of your settlement will usually be tax free
  • Do your sums and make sure the payments will cover you until you find another job. It might take up to six months so make sure you get at least six months’ salary.
  • Make sure the payments will be made in the most tax efficient way.
  • Include Outplacement as part of your settlement (the fees for this won’t be included in your £30,000 allowance.
  • Be aware of any restrictions placed on you in relation to future work.

While you can’t demand a reference (because employers aren’t obliged to give one), at least make sure your employer agrees not to bad mouth you to your colleagues and potential employers after you’ve left.

How do I ensure I get a good reference?

Even if you hate your employer, you need to think long term. In most industries, everyone knows each other – or of each other by reputation. That means leaving on a bad note could be damaging for you later in your career.

If you want to influence those around you, you could benefit from doing a good handover. You might not meet your successor but leaving with your house in order will endear you to your colleagues as well as your replacement. Apart from anything else, knowing you behaved well will make you feel good about yourself. That’s important when looking for your next role.

If you’re negotiating a settlement agreement, you can ask your employer to give you a good reference. Just remember that they’re not obliged to give you one. If nothing else, make sure they agree not to bad mouth you after you’ve left.

When should I consider legal action?

If your employer breaches your employment rights, you’re entitled to take legal action against them because they’ve failed to fulfil their contractual commitments to you. Your employment contract is a detailed document of responsibilities that your employer has to you, and in turn you have to your employer.

But before you track down a lawyer, ensure you formulate a water-tight case and follow a procedure before you take your case to an employment tribunal. Get it wrong at this stage and you could lose more than just your job.

  • Step 1: Know your rights – Get familiar with your company’s grievance policies and procedures. You can access this information by speaking to your Human Resources department or accessing them on your company’s intranet.
  • Step 2: Keep notes – Without solid evidence or witness corroboration, it can be difficult to prove your rights are being breached by your employer. It could end up as your word against theirs. Keep a journal of what you observe and experience. This could be used as evidence to support your case if it goes to court.
  • Step 3: Make your complaint official – Inform your Human Resources department of your grievance and give them the opportunity to investigate your complaint in an official capacity. If appropriate, alert your trade union representative who will offer support and advise you on the best course of action. Even if this course of action proves fruitless, it’s an important step should you consider taking a legal case at a later stage.
  • Step 4: Step-up the ante – If you become dissatisfied with your employer’s handling of your complaint, you have the right to take the matter to an employment tribunal which will decide if your employer dealt with your allegations in a reasonable manner. Contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau and the Equal Opportunities Commission for free legal advice and a list of practitioners in your local area who can to handle your case.
  • Step 5: Make your decision – Choose a solicitor that specialises in employment law issues. Find out what their success rate is in winning cases on behalf of their clients. And inform your solicitor of the steps that you have taken to resolve your grievance.

You may be looking to take your employer to a tribunal while still holding down your job. Or you may be suing them for unfair dismissal. Whatever your position, if you go down the legal route you must be prepared to leave your job. By the time you’ve resolved to sue, the relationship with your employer is pretty much over.

Do reach out to us at London Outplacement by filling in the form on this page for individual help or support.