Redundancy appeal letter 1 of 4: Notice period & whistleblowing

Our client in this case was being made redundant after he blew the whistle on malpractice. There was also a dispute over his employment contract and notice period.  This is the 1st in a series of 4 letters (two from each side).  Click on the links highlighted below to see the other letters:

Letter no 1: see below

Letter no 2

Letter no 3

Letter no 4 (Final outcome)

We are making these letters available to you even though the outcome was not successful for our client.  You can get an idea from this series of letters what happens when an employee leaves it too late to seek legal advice on a complex situation overseas, and also has not got sufficiently strong evidence to support his claims.

If you would like more information and guidance, have a look at our articles on redundancy, whistleblowing,  and evidence gathering amongst the range of articles and guides offered on our website. You can also contact us at Monaco Solicitors if you think that we might be able to help.

[Name]
Human Resources
[Employer]
[Employer address]
email only to:[Email]

[Date]

Dear Sirs

Our client [Your name]

We write on behalf of our client [client name] enclosing copies of the following:
[1] Whatsapp photo of people drinking alcohol in Dubai
[2] Whatsapp conversation
[3] Copy of email to [Name] dated [Date]
[4] Offer letter dated [Date]
[5] Letter dated [Date]
[6] Extract from company policy
[7] Internal email chain from company detailing 3 year contract as [Job title] 
[8] Service agreement document

As we has only had very limited time to take instructions about this matter, we set out below a basic understanding of what has happened so far, in advance of our client’s telephone meeting with your [Name] (HR) of tomorrow, Wednesday [Date], at [Time]. That meeting is to be his final redundancy consultation, and it is expected that he will be dismissed. This letter contains information which our client would like to be taken into account in relation to that dismissal.

3 year contract

On [Date], [client name] met with your managing director [Name] at the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai. He had been sent a plane ticket and accommodation for that night. At that meeting he was offered his job and told verbally by [Name]  that it was a 3 year fixed term contract in Dubai. [client name] verbally accepted the role there and then.

Then on Sunday [Date], [Name] emailed [client name] the terms of the contract (enclosed) which state: “Duration: this is a three year as [job title] to Dubai.” That day, on [Date], the two met for lunch (as referenced in [Name]’s email). At that lunch [client name] reiterated his acceptance of the job role, and the two gentlemen shook hands on the deal. This was offer and acceptance and consideration and is a legally binding contract.

We enclose herewith an email chain between your [Name][Name] and [Name], which shows that at the time just prior to offering [client name] a 3 year contract, [Name] was also offering the same type of 3 year fixed term contract to other [Employer]‘s employees too.

Are you saying that [Name] exceeded his authority, as an MD of [Employer]? If so, please explain how his actions are not legally binding upon the company?

Later, [Employer] tried to change the terms of the deal by asking [client name] to accept a new contract in around [Date], a number of months after the commencement of employment, which he duly did.

However there was no consideration provided to him in exchange for asking him to accept a new contract, and therefore the new contract is not legally binding, and the original terms apply. This means that in order to terminate his contract, which is what appears to be happening now by way of ‘redundancy’, [Employer] should fulfil their side of the bargain and compensate him for his loss of earnings.

His basic remuneration, including the benefits package, is worth around £139,667.84, with an annual bonus potential of £33,828.67. Therefore his loss of earnings over the approximately 2 years which remain on his contract amount to in excess of £300,000.

At no stage did anyone ever say to [client name] that its not a three year fixed term contract, until after the whistleblowing took place. [Name] and [Name] were fully aware at the time that it was a three year fixed term contract. This is how you get good people to relocate to Dubai – [client name] has a wife and 2 children who have restarted new lives in Dubai, and to have only been there for one year is not what was originally agreed.

In relation to [client name]’s team, there was [client name][Name] and [Name], all reporting to the MD, [Name]. All four of them were on 3 year fixed term contracts and this is well documented and understood by [Employer]. The other employees are being ‘made redundant’ and [Employer] is also trying to maintain that their notice period was only 3 months. The reason for this supposed redundancy is in fact that [Employer] decided to close down the Dubai operation completely due to the whistleblowing, initiated by [client name], about illegal drinking.

Company paperwork

The ambiguous paperwork later issued by the company came about because the company did not have any experience in Dubai, and the company policy was put together by a lady named [Name] and released on [Date], but then she left and no one was recruited to fill her role in HR.

Contracts of employment should have been provided before commencement of employment, but due to this role not being filled, the company didn’t provide these. Then, months into the job, the employees abroad were forwarded paperwork (the ‘ service agreements’ ) and told to agree them, and that they reflected the offer letters. Then after the event, [Name] from HR stated that there were no 3 year fixed term contracts.

The later ‘service agreement’ (enclosed) also refers to the offer letter and to a Dubai contract (an ‘Abha’ contract). It is of note that there was no Abha contract provided to [client name], in contravention of local Dubai law, and it is clear that the service agreement is not a valid contract of employment in any jurisdiction.

This failure to implement local contracts of employment also apparently has happened with a number of [Employer] employees, and therefore [Employer] may be breaching Dubai regulations across the board. [Client name]  hereby reports this matter via the whistleblowing procedure too and looks forward to hearing from you about next steps with this point too.

[Name], Managing Director

[Name][client name]’s MD, will testify that [client name]’s contract was definitely a three year fixed term one. [Name] actually agreed this with [client name] himself, at the meetings in Dubai. Please therefore could you take a statement from him in relation to this matter, before reaching your decision.

Whistleblowing regarding drinking alcohol

Our client blew the whistle on illegal drinking of alcohol in Dubai by a colleague called [Name] in June 2015 (see Whatsapp screenshots attached). He reported this to his line manager at the time and then it was apparently dealt with ‘internally’.

[Name] reported this matter at the time to his MD [Name]. When [Name] still remained unpunished, the MD [Name] flagged this to [Employer] and it was subsequently  decided to give [Name] a written warning. There was no investigation, company disciplinary policy was not followed and this was just a way to brush the matter under the carpet. Then [Name] made allegations of bullying against [client name] who was suspended without any due process, for 11 weeks and counting.

Since this time [client name] has been victimised in a number of ways, culminating in currently being forced out of the business, ostensibly by way of redundancy. There have been a number of others instances of victimisation, which you should investigate before deciding to make him redundant.

[Client name] also understands that the Dubai authorities have become aware of this matter, and is concerned because of how dangerous this is – especially in light of the case of Eric Hamilton whereby David Cameron had to personally intervene to request clemency for a 74 year old British citizen, who had already served his prison sentence, and was in danger of dying from further punishment of  350 lashes.

In Dubai, witnesses and even victims of crime can be detained for interrogation without charge or legal representation for indeterminate periods. This needs to be fully reported and investigated by the Dubai Authorities for [client name]’s name to be cleared. The witnesses from [Employer] and those who dealt with it ‘internally’ should also be set out.

Would [Employer]’s approach not be the equivalent of a Dubai company coming to the UK and being made aware of illegal behaviour taking place by company employees in the UK, and then deciding not to report that to the UK police? Is concealing reporting a crime to the authorities not tantamount to perverting the course of justice?

[Name] has been returned to the United Kingdom whilst [client name]’s requests for assistance in relation to his personal safety regarding the matter have been ignored by the company – see the enclosed email from [client name] to [Name] of [Date] to which he received no reply. This shows that [client name]  was victimised and ignored for his whistleblowing, which is further detailed below.

Please let our client know exactly what steps were taken in relation to this matter and how it was dealt with ‘internally’. Our client also hereby invokes [Employer]’s formal whistleblowing policy, and looks forward to hearing from you with next steps under this procedure. Please also treat this letter as a formal grievance under your grievance procedure too, and investigate it accordingly.

Press coverage

We enclose three extracts from articles about Eric Hamilton, who served a one year prison sentence in Dubai for drinking homemade wine, and was also sentenced to 350 lashes. This would have killed him according to reports. David Cameron personally intervened in this case in 2015, and threatened to withdraw a Ministry of Justice contract for building prisons. This apparently soured relations between the two sovereign nations. Hopefully these articles will help you to understand the seriousness of this matter as a potential international incident, rather than just ‘some drinks’, as it might be seen in a UK context.

[Client name] ’s visa

[Client name] is currently unable to visit Dubai due to the situation described above. In order to mitigate the position, the local Dubai partners need to receive a statement from [client name]  that he has received all of his dues from the company. This hasn’t happened; therefore the visa cannot be cancelled, so [client name]  will be counted as an absconder with a criminal record.

TUPE

We understand that there is a contract with [another company name]  to continue to build the Rashid hospital in Dubai. [Employer] has a preferred supplier agreement with them, and they are going to continue to do this business from Khobar rather than Dubai, so [client name]  should have been considered for a role within that side of the business.

Other alternative employment

In relation to offering [client name]  alternative work, in relation to the company’s claim that this is a redundancy, there was also a role within Saudi Arabia which your [Name]  mentioned to him on [Date] and again on [Date]. Our client also noticed from his Linkedin that the ‘country manager’ from [Employer] in Saudi Arabia looked at his profile recently too, which is surely in relation to that role. However you have not provided any details of this role or allowed [client name] to apply for it, and in the absence of any reasonable explanation it would seem that this is victimisation following whistleblowing.

Conclusion

Given the seriousness of the above matters, [client name]’s seniority, the livelihood of his family and the size and administrative resources of [Employer] ( being a FTSE 250 company), it is reasonable that the company respond to the points raised in this letter, in writing, prior to dismissing [client name].

Yours faithfully

Monaco Solicitors

020 7717 5259

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