“I was frightened, and I didn’t know how to deal with a situation like this”

*Mary had dedicated over a decade of her life to her job, but on April 1, 2022, her journey took an unexpected turn. A heated dispute between two colleagues unfolded, culminating in one pushing the other onto Mary. Regardless of who was at fault, Mary took her professional responsibility seriously as a Manager and filed an Incident Report. Despite the aggressor having a history of aggressive behavior, management failed to conduct a proper investigation into the incident. Instead they labeled it a ‘complaint’ and cast Mary as a troublemaker. To make matters worse, management suggested that after more than a decade with the company, it was time for Mary to move on and offered her a mere £2000 to sever her ties.

“I’d been involved in a bit of a dispute with my boss, about my employment and how I had to leave my job. I had received quite a scary letter from my former employer’s solicitors trying to scare me off from taking legal action because I was honest about what happened at work.”

“I was frightened, and I didn’t know how to deal with a situation like this. So I looked online in the search engine… and I saw the Law Centre.”

“Andrew Hillier [a volunteer barrister with SWLLC] took my case and he was absolutely brilliant. I had a Zoom conversation with him. I was able to give him a quick summary and send all my documents over. He and the Law Centre team gave me a really good case assessment summary, that I could put forward to the tribunal for my preliminary hearing.”

“I was feeling very sick. I was just feeling emotionally sort of worried about everything. And having this support helped me so much to take away the fear of the unknown, because I didn’t know what the process was going to be like.”

“When Andrew referred me to Advocate I contacted them and I told them Andrew had said they could help me. The day before my preliminary hearing, a volunteer barrister from Advocate, John Platts-Mills, came into the preliminary hearing, and helped to get “whistle blowing to detriment” into the claim.”

“John and Andrew offered me very good legal advice. They explained things to me about the process very thoroughly. I don’t have any legal background. I’ve never studied law. So it was all quite new to me. And you experience all the legal terminology, the solicitors’ letters, the formalities, the structure of the employment tribunal court process, and how everything had to be done.”

Mary’s case demonstrates the impact of cross-organisational collaboration and the significance of volunteering. The final settlement was £25,000, reaffirming the crucial role providing legal support has in making a life changing impact. 

“I’m very pleased with the outcome. I couldn’t have done it without the Law Centre’s advice and I couldn’t go through the process without the Advocate. I don’t think I would have been as successful with the outcome if I had not had that sort of help from the both of these organisations. I’m very, very grateful to everybody involved.”

For individuals living, working or studying in London needing employment-related legal advice, Employment Law for London in partnership with BPP Law School offers free 30-minute telephone advice appointments. To access this service, call 0207 633 4534, leave your name and number in a voicemail, and a law student will call you back to gather the background information to your query. If your case is suitable, you will be allocated an appointment with a volunteer employment lawyer. You are not alone

*Name has been changed.