Are contracts really worth the paper they are written on Are contracts really worth the paper they are written on
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  1. #1

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    Default Are contracts really worth the paper they are written on

    HI All

    I recently started a contract for a well known food and clothing retailer as a delivery manager.

    The job I applied for was PM but for some reason in the interview they gave me a role of Software Release Manager.

    As soon as a started it became clear the whole thing was badly managed, I was given vague instructions, bizarre emails, there was no structure and everyone looked deflated and confused. Despite this I set about putting some much needed structure in place, forged relationships and started planning.

    To cut a long story short 3 weeks into the contract the delivery manager decided to cut my contract short and serve notice, she set up a meeting and explained that I didn't have to work my notice but they would pay me. All good I had a really bad feeling about the management and lack of direction so I gracefully accepted.

    I returned hone and got a call from the recruiter saying that I had told the Manager I did not want to work my notice and that I would go home instead and not get paid the notice period. I explained I was happy to work the notice the agency phoned me back and explained that the client had now decided to terminate my contract.

    The client has not provided an real concrete evidence and consistently lied about a whole host of things.

    Ordinarily I would let it go and focus on getting the next contract, however I have never come across a situation where a well known high street retailer have been compelled to lie so easily.

    Question is do I have any rights, are there any legal procedures for this kind of thing and how much would it cost to take this to court.

    Any advice appreciated.

  2. #2

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    You made a big mistake.

    Firstly never verbally agree to leave a contract early unless you understand and remember what is actually written in your contract.

    Secondly in situations where you verbally agree to leave never expect to get paid more than the days you have already worked.

    Thirdly when you understand all this, you need to email then call the agency and give your side of the story before the client does.

    This is one reason to have a smartphone where you can easily access the internet and read your emails plus other documents on.

    Unfortunately you have learnt the hard way that contracting is harder than you thought and some clients cannot be trusted to tell the truth.
    Last edited by SueEllen; 12th March 2016 at 21:46.
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  3. #3

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    You also appear to only have the agent's word that the client has changed their mind. An alternative scenario is that the client will pay the notice period but the agency are pocketing it.

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    I would expect the agent to enforce the notice period because that's comission for them. Unless they already have a lot of business with the client and see fobbing you off as a favour to the client.

    How much notice period are we talking about? Is it a couple grand or a big chunk of money you will be out?

    Your first will be to bluff the agency and tell them you are not happy and will be seeking to have this remedied in the courts.

    If that doesn't work then start a claim with the small claims court. That might shock them into action.

    Further than that, if they decide to defend themselves then you have to be prepared to put in a case as to why the contract terms were broken and what you are owed.

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    My 2 penny worth.

    The stock reply form this forum is that 'if you didn't work it, don't expect to get paid'.

    However notice periods are bilateral arrangements. The client wants you to give them notice so they are not left in the lurch when you quit, likewise you want hem to give you notice so you can find alternative work. It cuts both ways, the client wouldn't expect you to just walk and likewise you shouldn't expect them to just withdraw work. If the contract has a notice period you should get paid whether they need you or not - it's their choice as to whether they want you to work notice or not.

    Secondly, consider that the agency isn't going to let them off quite so lightly and will expect the notice to be paid to them, since they will expect their commission. If you let it go expect the agency to trouser your notice pay.

    I'd pursue them through the small claims court.
    Last edited by bikeman; 18th March 2016 at 19:48.

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    Do check your contract, as many contracts are actually written so that the agency has no obligation to pay if the client terminates with immediate effect, eg has no work. Check for that clause.

    In that case the notice period actually only protects you from being terminated by the agency and being replaced.
    I'm alright Jack

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shackattack View Post
    The job I applied for was PM but for some reason in the interview they gave me a role of Software Release Manager.
    Just this has got you off to a bad start - did you question this at the time or have some sort of role spec to refer to ? The other posts have captured the other points to raise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaiser78 View Post
    Just this has got you off to a bad start - did you question this at the time or have some sort of role spec to refer to ? The other posts have captured the other points to raise.
    The client at the time agreed to pay notice, it seems to me, (and I speculate) that the incredibly inexperienced Delivery Manager probably didn't understand the notice period was 4 weeks, which equates to around £10k.

    I've put together a list of of information I needed to defend the allegations including,

    - all emails between the agency and client
    - break down of events including the client changing tact
    - a complete list of reasons why the client felt my work was not of the standard they expected.

    The client responded with largely subjective answers, such as we expected more etc, which in10 days sounds a little bizarre.

    It's all very subjective and the client has not actually provided any concrete proof as well as lying several times.

    It's currently back with the agency who are clearly taking the side of the agency as they have 40 people placed there.

    Ordinarily I would just call it a day, however the way the retailer has behaved has left a really bad taste, I almost feel like I have to bring this one to justice for my own self respect. There are boundaries and rules of engagement outside of a written contract. This has been one of the messiest teams I have ever worked for in 15 years and needs to be addressed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaiser78 View Post
    Just this has got you off to a bad start - did you question this at the time or have some sort of role spec to refer to ? The other posts have captured the other points to raise.
    Yes I have a spec, I complete list of areas I focused on with updates, meetings times and dates, org charts, plans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlasterBates View Post
    Do check your contract, as many contracts are actually written so that the agency has no obligation to pay if the client terminates with immediate effect, eg has no work. Check for that clause.

    In that case the notice period actually only protects you from being terminated by the agency and being replaced.
    I've checked the clause, the client swiftly changed tacked from serving notice to not happy with my work once they realized they had to pay me 4 weeks notice.

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