A Reddit user explained how his knowledge of the law and his rights helped him escape the trap laid out by his boss.
A Reddit user recently took members of the Malicious Compliance forum on a rollercoaster ride of a story by sharing how he got the last laugh when his employer tried to fire him based on false accusations. In a post titled "Either be fired or accept a massive pay cut. Ok, I'll take the firing," the Redditor—who goes by the username nicklo2k—explained how his knowledge of the law and his rights helped him escape the trap laid out by his boss.
"I worked for Company for 14 years. I loved working there for 12 of those years. This involved quite a bit of driving (and on a couple of occasions flying abroad) to work face to face with the customers to deliver a high-quality product. We weren't the cheapest, but we were the superior product. And I was the best employee when it came to delivering the product. I consistently got rave reviews from customers for my personal style when it came to delivering the product and executing the customer's vision. I got a huge amount of repeat business and I got a lot of new business through word of mouth with customers recommending the company based on their experiences with me," he wrote.
"I liked the owner and I liked the manager. I liked all the staff who were around me. All in all, it was a great job that I was really good at and took pride in," the Redditor continued. "After 12 years I was on a decent salary. Not massive, but I was happy. Then the owner decided to sell off part of the company. He was selling the area where my local office was. He told me he would love for me to remain as his employee, but I would need to work from a different office. This was either require me to move, or to quadruple (at a minimum) my daily commute. The other option was to remain working from my current office but with a new boss. I chose the second option."
The new owner of the company made some sweeping staffing changes as soon as she took over. "The manager left to start her own business since the new owner was also going to be the manager. A lot of staff were let go. The secretary, myself, and a couple of newer hires were kept on. The new hires were on the lowest wages (not salaries). Anyone who had got to a decent level was let go," the Reddit user explained. "Whilst technically it was a 'new company' for the customers it was the same old business. The company still had the same trading name. The only real difference was that there was a new owner and the registered business name was now different. As far as the customers were concerned nothing had changed."
"Over the next 2 years business started to fall. The reason was simple: The new owner decided to try and maximize profits by increasing prices whilst decreasing the quality of the product," he wrote, adding that when sales fell due to such practices, "the owner doubled down and increased prices again. 95% of our old customers left us. New customers almost never became repeat customers. Complaints skyrocketed." Then one day, he got a call from the owner who ordered him to meet her immediately. When he arrived at her office, he was handed a letter informing him of a disciplinary meeting to take place in a couple of days' time.
"This knocked me for 6. I was the best employee. I read through her list of complaints about my performance and started working on my defense," he wrote. "At the meeting, I declined to have a witness. Instead, I decided to record the audio of the entire meeting on my phone without informing her. Where I live this is legal and I didn't need consent. The boss' witness was her friend who she had met at Yoga and hired for an office role, firing the secretary who had been there long before the takeover. Every point she raised I could counter." The Redditor added that the owner also threw blatant lies at him.
"She finished her list by telling me that she doesn't want to lose me, but she can't justify keeping such a poor employee at my current salary. I had 2 choices: I could either sign a zero-hours contract and work for minimum wage, or she could fire me with 2 weeks' notice," he wrote. "If I wanted to remain and move to the zero-hours contract, I could do that today. But if I didn't then she would have to fire me. But because she was nice she would give me the 2 weeks' notice. I asked for a couple of hours to go home and think about this. She allowed this."
"I knew the reason she wanted me to remain for at least the 2 weeks was because one of our few remaining bigger customers was set to have a product delivery from me in that time," he revealed. "They would only work with me. The owner had tried sending other staff in my place on several occasions, and each time there had been problems. It wasn't the staff's fault. It was just a very difficult delivery for a very specific customer which needed to be perfect. As a result this customer would only deal with me. I called the office and spoke to the owner. I declined the offer of a zero-hours contract and said I would be leaving. She then said she was giving me my 2 weeks notice. I declined her offer of 2 weeks' notice. I informed her that if I was being fired for gross misconduct then surely I cannot be relied upon to safely deliver the product."
"Therefore it would be best for everyone involved if I didn't return to work. She panicked and said that she needed me for those 2 weeks. I feigned ignorance and let her know that I was just thinking about what's best for the company," he continued. "After all, you can't have unsafe staff delivering your product to your customers. However, if she wanted to rethink the 'gross misconduct' accusation then I would work a 12 weeks notice. They were her options. 0 weeks or 12. She chose 12."
The Redditor said that he spent his last 12 weeks at the company with utmost sincerity and dedication to his work. He also trained a co-worker to take over his duties once he left. Meanwhile, the owner resorted to petty tactics to get back at him and let him leave without so much as a card when his notice period was completed. Then, karma did its magic. "The day after my final day 2 things happened. The first was my friend who I had been training up to replace me quit. He was on a zero-hours contract so required no notice. He was unhappy with her treatment of me and was unhappy that she expected him to do my (previously salaried) job for minimum wage. He hadn't informed me of his plans to leave, and I only learned of it when he knocked on my door in the middle of the day when he should have been at work to let me know," the Reddit user wrote.
"The second was the owner received a letter informing her that I was bringing legal proceedings against her for unfair dismissal. I had arranged this with my lawyer to be delivered the day after my final day. According to the office assistant, she went pale and started crying, before leaving the office to call her lawyer. She refuted my claims for constructive unfair dismissal. Said it was gross misconduct. Tried to come up with some more reasons for firing me. But the truth was that the company was making less money because of her business practices, and I was the highest (and only) salary. I had evidence that I was a great employee. I had evidence that she asked me to move to a zero-hours contract."
"She initially tried to deny this, since the 'gross misconduct' fabrication makes no sense if she wanted me to stay. But once my lawyer provided hers with a transcript of the entire meeting along with a copy of the recording, she knew she was fu**ed. Still, she let the case drag on for over a year. I think she hoped that the legal fees would lead to me dropping the case," he continued. "Little did she know my lawyer was working on a no-win-no-fee basis, whilst hers wasn't. She ended up settling out of court." The Redditor concluded his tale by revealing that he is currently earning more than he was before while also working for fewer hours. Meanwhile, his former company is said to be "still afloat, but barely."