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Employment: Cost of Euro pay packet; Know Your Rights.

Byline: with Justin Madders, Employment Law Specialist at The Paul Rooney Partnership.

I AM a Canadian national. I started employment with a construction company a few weeks ago and I have just received my first pay packet in euros. The company I work for is British,however they allege because I entered the country through Dublin that I should only be paid in Euros. The problem is I then have to convert the currency and I am losing out financially. Is this right?

Justin says: The answer will lie in your contract of employment as it should stipulate the currency you will be paid in. If it says Euros then it is likely any Court or Tribunal would say that your employer has acted fairly. However if there were not a clause in your contract to this effect, then your employers could be breaching your contract.

I HAVE just told my boss that I will be handing in my month's notice at the end of the week. When I told him he said that he would probably put me on garden leave and I won't be allowed to turn up for work for the notice period. I have checked my contract and it does mention garden leave but I live in a flat so want to know how it would work for me?

Justin says: Garden or gardening leave is actually the general phrase used for this sort of situation and doesn't have to involve gardens at all. It covers the situation where you would still be paid as normal although you are required to stay home rather than attend work. Your boss will invoke such a clause where he still wants you to adhere to the terms in your contract during your notice period.

MY boss has been bullying me a lot over the last couple of years and recently things have got worse. I have been advised by my Union representative to write a letter of complaint. However I am afraid that if I do this it will inflame the situation even more and he will sack me.

Justin says: It sounds like your union has advised you to invoke the grievance procedure. Normally your contract of employment or staff handbook will detail such a procedure and inform you whom this grievance shall be made to. If your boss is the one to write to, you may feel there is no point as he is the person causing you trouble. But most procedures provide for another person to write to. If you are concerned that your boss may take disciplinary action against you for lodging this grievance and may actually dismiss you, then if you have already put a grievance in you should be able to argue that any disciplinary hearings ought to be heard by someone else so that you get a fair hearing. Your employer would also need to have a good reason to dismiss you anyway. If he didn't have this, or held the disciplinary hearing himself, you would case for unfair dismissal at an Employment Tribunal which your Union would be able to assist you with.

I have worked in the same office for years and have always got on with my colleagues.However, I have fallen out with someone who works there and I am effectively being cold shouldered by her which is making life very difficult. I have put in a grievance into my manager but because she is friends with this colleague it has been totally ignored.

I don't know what to do to resolve this. Justin says: If your grievance has not been responded to, this is a very serious matter. You could argue a failure to deal with your grievance is a matter justifying your resignation. If you did this then you could claim constructive dismissal in the Employment Tribunal.

However, you should ask yourself whether you would want to swap your employment for the possibility of compensation in the future, particularly if you were happy there until recently. A less drastic solution could be to check your company's grievance procedure and see if there is anything in it about taking your grievance to another person if it is not dealt with to your satisfaction. This could be your manager's own manager, a director or departmental head. If there is nothing in your grievance procedure about this you could try writing to one of these people anyway to see if they will respond.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 5, 2003
Words:744
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