S had been on maternity leave. She (and others) were at risk of redundancy. S argued there was a suitable alternative position and she should be offered it. The employer refused. S put in a grievance – on advice. As a result, her employer would not engage with her while the formal grievance process was still going on. She sought our advice.
I suggested that she ask to put the grievance on hold to see if a solution could be found. Although S was not offered the original job she wanted, she was then offered another permanent job on the same terms and conditions. This happened after she wrote a letter setting out her disappointment but also saying she wanted to move on to resolve things. S accepted the job – not without some nervousness about whether it would work. Fortunately, it did ; 18 months later S wrote to me to say the job had worked out.
The lesson for lawyers who are used to litigating, as I once was, is that most clients will get more of what they want through constructive dialogue with their employer – with a little help and coaching on the side from a lawyer.
Sadly, few clients remain employed as they come to us too late. Even so, we often negotiate substantial exit packages worth 6-12 months’ salary.