Bullying During Notice Period: Your Rights

Caragh Bailey
4 min read
Bullying During Notice Period: Your Rights explained by Employment Law Friend

What rights do I have during my notice period?

There is nothing specific that applies during a notice period ie after the time after you or your employer has decided to terminate your contract. All the rights and responsibilities for an employee and employer are the same as before.

A contract will provide that you have a notice period and you have to work it. If you do not work it ie because you leave to take another role sooner, then in practice there is nothing your employer can do about that, although you are potentially risking not getting a good reference, and of course, you will not be paid for any period where you were not available and willing to work.

Can my employer make me go on gardening leave?

Yes. Most contracts of employment contain a specific provision entitling the employer to use garden leave as they wish, but even if that is absent, as an employee your right is to be paid your wages, and not to be provided with work, and so your employer can still insist upon your working.

There are very rare exceptions, usually involving training which needs to be provided, where an employee will have the right to work (or at least some work), but these are very rare situations.

Do I have the right to go on gardening leave?
No. Although your employer can almost certainly require you to go on garden leave, there is no right for you to do so, if your employer wants you to work.

Even if others in the workplace have been allowed to go on gardening leave, and even if most people seem to be put on garden leave, you still have no right to this. If your employer insists on your working your usual job and hours, then they are entitled to insist on this.

If you refuse, then they are entitled to dismiss you, and if you are not ready and willing to work, they are not generally required to pay you.

My employer has started bullying during notice period. What can I do?

The law is the same as during your employment before you were working a period of notice. There is no legal change in the rights of either employee or employer during the notice period. What you can do therefore depends on what your employer is doing, and whether that breaches any legal right you may have.

An employer who, for example, speaks offensively about your religion has still discriminated against you, and an employer does not pay you for agreed overtime will owe you wages.

However, there is no specific action that can be taken because you are working your notice, and unless they are discriminatory, then comments and criticisms, even bullying, will very rarely enable you to do anything specific.

After resigning, my employer dismissed me. What can I do?
You have the same rights regarding unfair and wrongful dismissal during your notice as at any other time. This includes only being able to claim unfair dismissal if you have worked somewhere for more than 2 years, for example.

However, although you can bring and win a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal, your compensatory award (basically your loss of earnings compensation) will be limited to the remainder of your notice pay, because your employment would have ended then anyway, so that’s your financial loss.

In practice, employers who dismiss people very often pay them there outstanding notice pay, and so although you could bring and win a claim for either unfair or wrongful dismissal, you would probably not be awarded any additional money.

Other than notice pay, am I entitled to be paid anything else before I leave?
You are entitled to be paid all your normal payments upon leaving, including for example holiday pay which continues to accrue during your notice period (even if you are on garden leave).

If you are entitled to a bonus, then very often contracts of employment restrict this when you have resigned. Providing you still continue to be paid at least the minimum wage, then if this is clearly set out in your contract, there is rarely anything that you can do about this.

However, unless there is a specific provision in your contract relating to bonus pay being withheld or similar during your notice period, then your rights to this continue as normal.

Are you dealing with bullying during notice period?

There is much more to winning your case than simply being in the right, our specialist employment solicitors know the law and all the tactics, to make sure you get the best chance at a fair settlement. Get in contact with us and see how we can help.

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This content is provided free of charge for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of our company. For employment law advice please get in contact and speak to your employment law solicitors.
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