EMPLOYMENT LAW AND PRACTICE
File Management Task
You are a trainee solicitor working at ULaw LLP. Your supervisor, Jess Butler, leaves you a voicemail telling you about a new client, Northern Tray Treats Limited (“NTT”).
Jess took instructions this morning from a director of NTT, Mabel Newton. NTT is concerned about a call Mabel received yesterday from Georgie Tusler who works at ACAS.
Georgie told Mabel that one of NTT’s former employees, Vlad Furrows, had contacted ACAS to discuss a possible claim after his job with NTT came to an end six weeks ago. Vlad believes he can bring a claim of breach of contract because he received no notice of his dismissal as well as a claim of unfair dismissal against NTT. Mabel told Jess that Vlad was not dismissed but he walked out of work after an incident and never returned.
Jess tells you that the full details of the matter are in a file note (Document A).
Draft a letter of advice to the client.
You can assume that your secretary will complete the address details and references and that you are writing to Mrs Newton as she is a director of the client company and will share your letter with the rest of the board of directors. Your letter should begin “Dear Mrs Newton”.
The draft letter should not exceed 1,000 words.
When you have completed the draft letter, you should take care to ensure that it is of an appropriate standard for a professional document. Please proof read your draft carefully to identify any errors or omissions.
Please submit your File Management Task in accordance with the instructions provided at the start of your elective.
Attending Mabel Newton, director of Northern Tray Treats Limited (“NTT”). NTT is a company that makes cakes and other confectionary items. The company employs 25 people and needs advice with regard to a possible claim by a former employee, Vlad Furrows.
Mr Furrows began work at NTT just over three years ago as a supervisor at the factory. He was a good employee until about two months ago when he began to neglect his duties at work and was rude in his dealings with colleagues. On two occasions, his line manager also reported that Mr Furrows was not wearing the protective clothing required at the factory.
Six weeks ago, after another complaint from his colleagues, Mabel Newton decided to meet with Mr Furrows to discuss her concerns as to the change in his attitude and behaviour at work. She approached him whilst he was standing with a group of colleagues in the staff room at the factory and said “Vlad I really need to speak with you about your behaviour. Honestly, have you had another breakdown or something – you need to start thinking clearly or I’ll find someone else to do the job.” Mr Furrows reacted by saying “If that’s what you think I’m done.” He walked out of the factory and has not returned.
The next day he sent a text message to his line manager at the factory, Karl Jeed which read “I cannot believe everyone laughed at me yesterday when that woman told them all about my mental health issues. I can’t work there any more after she humiliated me and threatened to sack me in front of everyone.”
Mrs Newton accepts that she could have handled the situation better, especially as Mr Furrows had previously told her that he had received treatment for depression a few years ago, but she says she was stressed herself and did not stop to think about the impact that her words might have on Mr Furrows. Nevertheless, she thinks he over-reacted and she was right to challenge him about his behaviour.
Mrs Newton says she was surprised to receive a call yesterday from Georgie Tusler at ACAS saying that Mr Furrows planned to bring claims against NTT, alleging he had been dismissed. Mrs Newton told Georgie Tusler that there had been no dismissal and that Mr Furrows had chosen to leave.
I took further details from Mrs Newton relating to Mr Furrows’ contract. She confirmed he received a s.1 statement when he started work and was entitled to the statutory minimum notice entitlement.
I discussed the relevant law with Mrs Newton and told her I would send her a letter of advice, confirming the points we discussed with regard to liability in relation to the two claims mentioned in her telephone call with ACAS. We agreed she did not need advice as to any other possible claims that Mr Furrows might bring against NTT and that, for now, she did not need advice on the possible value of the claims if they succeeded. She does however want me to summarise the options available to the company.
Time taken: 50 minutes