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Posted by: Kathy Sellwood, 18 Aug 2008 2:52PM
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Suspended from work

I have been working in a salon, which opened 6th March this yr, as a massage therapist and for the last 6 months and have done everything I have been asked to do including all the jobs she threw my way as she makes it clear who her favourites are. I was employed as a beauty therapist part time at £6.50p/hr as I was currently studying for the ITEC beauty specialist diplmoa, but when I finished my course we had discussed me going full time. My days were filled with back to back massages which could be BNS, full body or sports and pedicures. For the pedicures clients were not even notified before treatment that I was a student at the time but my boss wanted my painting to come along and when she took me on she said that she would help me in other areas too and it would help to improve my techniques for waxing, mani's and facials etc. Although I passed my final exam in July and have been asking her to let me start doing waxing etc this has not happened until last week when I was allowed to do a full leg wax unsupervised, observe/practice a brazilian and perform an eyelash tint. Apparently I was doing well as the other girls at the salon were also giving me a hand and I have practised on them. Since 1st August she has dropped my rate to £5.75 p/hr as she said she could not offer me more hours unless I decreased my rate. I was working 3 days a week. Sales across our team have been pretty bad in terms of selling courses and products but as I do not do facials or waxing selling products to clients is not possible as their treatment did not use any of the products on them but being able to do other treatments my boss and colleagues hoped sales would improve However, at the end of my shift yesterday I was called to reception by my manager and told that as sales had been very bad she had not other option but to suspend me for 2 wks on full pay and if sales did not improve then she would have to terminate my contract of employment. She has also said that se is more than willing to give me a reference (should I take this as she wants me out?) She has not issued me with a formal verbal or written warning and there is nothing in my contract to state that if you do not sell you risk losing your job. I have written her a letter and stated my grievances in the letter as well as ask her to confirm the full easons for my suspension. I have this morning received a very blunt email stating that "A letter is in the post notifying you of your disciplinary meeting at the shop. You will have the opportunity to state your views at this meeting." Anyone able to help?


Angela Rawlins
18 Aug 2008 3:47PM

See citizens advice bureau. I think she is making an excuse to get rid of you without paying anything. Don't let this knock your self esteem - you haven't done anything wrong in my eyes. I wouldn't have thought there was a work issue - everyone is feeling the pinch and people are being made redundant. I don't see how she can make you sell products to clients that you don't use???? If it was me - I'd feel pressurised and probably would avoid the salon.
Angela Rawlins
18 Aug 2008 3:48PM

PS You could do massage at home or go mobile - you'd get more money that £6 an hour!
Kathy Sellwood
18 Aug 2008 5:35PM

PS: I was also asked to leave my uniform behind last night. I know that she has still been interviewing since the salon opened although we were fully staffed.
Angela Rawlins
18 Aug 2008 6:12PM

Umm. Doesn't look good. If she was unhappy with you, she should have given you a verbal warning. Unfortunately I don't know what your rights are. Try the Citizens advice people. You could confront her, ask what's going on. I would have thought you doing sports massage that you can get a better job or independant work paying better. I belong to a spa, I wouldn't work for them in a million, they only pay £6 hr AND they work you back to back. The therapies/treatments are not up to scratch and people moan. The prices they charge!!!
Angela Rawlins
18 Aug 2008 6:15PM

ps. She's been using you I think
Kathy Sellwood
18 Aug 2008 6:40PM

Problem was that it was a case of chicken and the egg. I had not worked in a salon/spa and gained experience which meant I was having trouble finding a job. Therefore, I agreed to work for her because this would give me the experience that I needed before seeking alternative employment. I think you are right that she has used me whilst the salon starts up and that she was getting free massages from me as and when she wanted them!
Tina Maria Pritchard
19 Aug 2008 9:22AM

Hi Kathy I am so sorry! This is exactly what I was talking about earlier. I wish managers would conduct themselves in a professional manner. You need to move on now. You could look at: 1.Unfair dismisal. 2.Starting up at home and reinforcing how good you actually are. 3.Go mobile. You have some good qualifications and could do corporate work. By working for someone else you have gained valuable experience. Now go out there girl and show them what you're made of !!!!! All the very best Tina
Tina Maria Pritchard
19 Aug 2008 10:22AM

just realised - You've worked for less than a year so unfair dismisal will be out. They have got it all worked out!
Kathy Sellwood
19 Aug 2008 10:35AM

New developement: letter by recorded delivery this morning tell me I am required o attend a disciplinary hearing on 21st Aug at 12pm and I can take a work colleague or a trade union official under the Employment Relations Act 1999. The reason for my suspension has now been expanded to the following reasons: A lack of improvement in sales, not adhering to treatment times with clients, quality of treatments has not improved and general attitude at work. Also in the letter "This matter is so serious it could lead to termination of your employment" Very intimidating and I believe this does fall into the catagory of wrongful dismissal as the statutory grievance procedure has not been followed. Manufacturing grievances is beyond belief but at least I can ask her to substantiate her claims with evidence. My first experience of working in a salon has given me valuable experience but has put me off working in this environment again. In future I think I will definately be looking to work for myself.
Angela Rawlins
19 Aug 2008 3:54PM

Hi Kathy Horrible experience! YOU MUST take someone you trust to the meeting - perhaps your mum or dad as a witness. I wouldn't take someone from the salon, they may not want to anyway in case it jeopardises their job. Some Solicitors will give some free time - see if you can find one. If not ask for urgent advice from the Citizens Advice people OR ring up CThA
Angela Rawlins
19 Aug 2008 3:58PM

PS Could you get any of your clients to write you a recommendation?? Then she'd not have a leg to stand on regarding quality of work. You were on the proper staff though and not still on 3 month trial.
Kathy Sellwood
19 Aug 2008 4:06PM

Thanks Angela I have spoken to the CTA who gave me their free legal advice no. and they gave me some good advice. I did ask the CTA if they had anyone that would be able to come along to the meeting but they did not have anyone qualified to do this. Unfortunately, I am unable to get in touch with the CAB as their no. is always busy. I have looked through endless pages on ACAS, BERR and directgov.co.uk and am still trying to get things ready for this meeting to which I have sent a letter requesting evidence to support these other claims which were stated in the letter. I have been advised by someone in a HR role not to tak anyone with a legal background with me as they would frown upon this due to it being unnecessesary at this point and would leave my manager at a disadvantage! This also rules out being able to take my mum along as she works in a solicitors. I have asked my friend that got me in touch with the HR person if it would be possible to ask if this HR person would be willing to come along should the meeting be rescheduled. I think it would be very unfair for me to ask one of the other therapists there to undertake such a responsibility and would not want to make them feel awkward or put them in the firing line so to speak. It is very unfortunate that I feel as though I am in a no win situation and I am desperately trying to find a trade union that deals with this type of business. If you know of any please send me a link to kes4massage@yahoo.co.uk. Any help is gratefully appreciated
Kathy Sellwood
19 Aug 2008 4:07PM

Had worked there for 6 months. My suspension and, if it happens, dismissal means i would not be allowed access to the client records to request they give me a reference.
Angela Rawlins
19 Aug 2008 4:32PM

Is your mum a solicitor? Other wise I don't think that'd matter. And any how - so what!! She's hardly playing fair! I'd take my husband - he'd soon sort her out! Not a solicitor, but tends to know more than them any way:)) Good one to take the HR person, they should know the regs. If they can't go - take the friend but get the HR person to give you advice as what to say - write it down. Make sure you take notes on the day. Take some rescue remedy, I'll send you healing for a good out come:))
Kathy Sellwood
19 Aug 2008 4:38PM

Thank you Angela, definately need some healing and fingers crossed for a better outcome eh?!
Angela Rawlins
19 Aug 2008 5:40PM

Hi Kathy Try looking at this site http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/RedundancyAndLeavingYourJob/DG_10026692 husband sent it to me :))
Roushan Martens
19 Aug 2008 11:06PM

Hi Kathy, I'm afraid I can't give you any helpful information, but I just wanted to voice my support - I'm sure anyone who has read your post is fuming on your behalf, it's just totally shoddy behaviour of the manager. I really hope that you manage to get some satisfaction in this matter, and hopefully all Angela's great info will do the trick. If you don't, however, just thank your lucky stars you're out of there and free to earn some proper money! all the best, Roushan.
Kathy Sellwood
26 Aug 2008 2:09PM

Well Thursdays outcome was like a lamb to the slaughter. My manager had basically already decided that she was firing me so nothing new there. She did try and bring other grievances up in the meeting which I was not given any evidence for. Not only that her husband was the 'independent' minute taker!!! After an hour in the meeting, she and her husband went off for 5 mins and came back to say my contract was terminated. On the up side I didn't have to work bank holiday, I have 12 days holiday she has to pay me for (on a 3 day week = 4 wks), she's giving me 2wks pay (which I don't have to go in and work for) and I have £100 bonus to come for not being sick for 3 months. I have spoken to my college tutor and she is more than willing to write me a good reference and I now have money to go travelling with and my ticket for Oz is booked for the end of Sept! Am so relieved it's all over and just wanted to thank everyone that replied to my thread as it was a great help and support when I thought I was on my own x
Tina Maria Pritchard
26 Aug 2008 2:29PM

Hi Kathy It's good to support each other. Have a great trip and start afresh when you come back. Good Luck !! With kindest wishes Tina
Joyce Laurie
12 Sep 2008 9:05PM

If you have only been there for six months and she is giving you four weeks pay (you would only be entitled to two weeks actually) two weeks pay and a bonus of £100 then in my opinion you have got off very well. I don't see that you have been treated unfairly via money. Regarding taking a representative to a meeting, just so that others know, you are NOT entitled to take a relative so it has to be a union rep or a work colleauge. She however WOULD be allowed to have her husband present he may after all be a company director for all you know. One thing that really does confuse me though is that you say you did waxing unsupervised but later in your post you say you don't do waxing. Any qualified therapist has to be responsible for their own practice so I find it strange that you carried out treatments that you weren't qualified to do. For all you know, also, she may have had complaints from clients though she should have made you aware.
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