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Old 05-05-2012, 08:24 AM
2 posts, read 3,189 times
Reputation: 10


Please give me advice on this. I know it is a very long detailed story - but I'd appreciate it so much if you took time to read my story.

So I was employed in a dental practice as a dental nurse (Trainee) - in which I started at the end of February. On day one I had a feeling something was wrong, as it was not like other jobs, there was no outlines etc or guidelines at first. On the second day, there was a shortage on staff and I was told I would have to be on reception alone - I was taught the basic outlines, how to create an appointment and what not, but I was not told in further detail neither was I told what to do in certain circumstances- this was a trained dental nurse herself that was telling me at the time. I felt that I could not ask questions, as I was not physcic, I couldn't ask questions about things I did not even know about. Also, I assumed as she was only telling me basic things such as how to make an appointment, what to get new patients to sign etc - I assumed this was the only things I was to do and there was no more duties for me on that particular day. I was not told how to take a proper refund, not told about certain forms to sign, what labs would come and how that system works (Picking up dental lab bags), was not told what to do for emergency appointments, how to register patients, the little schemes and rules that they personally had in the practice also I was not told about the petty cash at first nor cancellation list, what to do if someone would cancel, how to handle a angry customer complaining about certain things, how to refer patients to the dental hospital or what not, not told what documents to scan etc- the list was infinite! The point was I was not detailed this at first.

So I struggled on the first day not knowing many things and feeling very stupid and I could not ask either as the dental nurses were in surgery 24/7. I felt I could not walk into a surgery and ask during treatments or between as someone may come to the desk and they may be waiting for service and I would not be there- I felt I could not also phone them through (And at this point I did not know about the IM messaging they had) I was told no basic outlines about what was to happen, my proper shift times or the practice opening hours etc- I had so many questions to ask that my mind went completely blank and that when I had the chance to ask the questions that I completely forgotten. Due to this I was late a couple of times, as I was told that I was to come in (For example 8:45) that was when my shift began and I was to come in at this time- however when I did so- I was then told that I was being late, however, I questioned this and asked why I was being late if I was coming in before 8:45? I was then told that you were meant to come in earlier that this time and was given into trouble which I did not find fair- as I was basically being late through lack of information, not on my own behalf. I had to guess at a lot of things and assume which got me into trouble if you could imagine. The dentists had never sat me down and discussed whether I was on a trial nor how pay works (Whether it was monthly or not) Nor was I given anything to sign and they did not ask for my NI number either or bank details - when they eventually asked for this it was the end of March and my pay was actually delayed as they made me correct a small minor error on my time sheet (For example on the overall amount of hours: 130:60 - I was made to correct the minute column which could have been easily corrected by someone else as I was not working on this day). After working three months at the job I still wasn't issued my contract nor told anything about the contract.

With all the equipment and machinery it was all very brief. I wasn't told full instructions- I know I should have perhaps asked but if you were introduced to a new system or what not and then were told instructions on it - you'd assume that the instructions that you were issued with was the only instructions you needed to know - however this was not the case as there was many things that were not discussed and had been left out which resulted me getting into trouble and when giving over my reason, these were viewed as excuses, even although (Not knowing how to work something) is a reason rather than an excuse.

I was treated very unfairly as I done many things wrong and did not know about it - as the dental nurses seen me do these things wrong and did not correct me, but instead told the dentists about it for them to correct me and give me into trouble- however I think its not right to give someone into trouble for stuff they had not been told was wrong in the first place. The communication was horrendous also, I was told if I had any queries to the dentist when they were busy that I was simply to phone through to the surgery with a quick question, eventually when doing this, I was told that it was distracting and that I was just to simply IM through- done this also to be told not to, as patients may be in and see information they are not meant to see- then I was told to just write on a note and go through- this was all over the course of three months- why couldn't I have just been told what to do straight away?

Also working made me nervous as I wasn't being told what I was doing wrong, they were just reporting rather than giving me into trouble- it made me nervous when working and perhaps contributed to many mistakes. I seen the way the practice operated and it was very backward, they didn't like being in the wrong and continuously blamed others around them. I made many mistakes for different reasons as I perhaps one time was told the wrong information by an employee, was told to do something wrongly by an employee which conflicted with what another employee told me to do, or I simply wasn't told how to do it.

I seen many things go wrong things that they employees could have indeed got dismissed for- but I never reported this as it wasn't my space to, as after all I was only a trainee and I assumed that the dental nurse that 'reported' alot would do this- however she never, the following things I seen was: confidentiality being infiltrated, such as telling appointment times to others and going through patient files on the computer whilst being on the television screen in the practice whilst the dentist didn't notice. Patients health records lying on the table in the waiting room by mistake, instruments not being cleaned properly. Change being given wrongly for example 7 pound more or so and this being blamed on someone else. Being on the internet on job, for example facebook. There was hundreds more and I never reported this ever purely because I was scared incase they started picking on my job and even managed to get me sacked if I did report stuff they done wrongly. I was not told anything and was given into trouble for things that was not my fault and was a misunderstanding- I felt I could not communicate with them at all as they said you were not to disturb them when they were in the office and the only time you could speak to them would be purely on lunch which they normally ventured out when on lunch. Of course I did make mistakes but that is expected when working. They did however have a meeting with me every 2/3 weeks and told me the list of things I had done wrong- I attempted to explain myself as some of these things were not my fault and purely because I hadn't been told what to do or there had been a big misunderstanding but I couldn't say any of this as this was an excuse to them- also when having these meetings they also had another employee present which I thought gave me no privacy what so ever- if it were perhaps an assistant manager etc that would have been fine, but this was just another employee.

I had zero positive feedback what so ever just plain things if they did say anything nice. It was always a list of things that had been done wrongly and also the other employees kept a list of things I had done wrong also which they were allowed to read out at these meetings we had which consisted of the two bosses and one employee and myself. The things they said were so hurtful, things like "When we picked you we had very very high expectations of you, we thought you'd do amazingly well etc, .... of course our expectations are a little high, but not as high" - "We thought you were very intelligent when we hired you and very bright, we still think this a little, but when we hired you we thought this straight away" things along they lines, I have even managed to make them sound not as harsh as they were, they were harsher than this. Things also like "When you are trained you will understand and when your in surgery you will understand why the diary notes are so important as you obviously don't understand it just now" - age discriminating against me with saying "you are very young - when your older you will understand" with the way one dentist spoke he had such a bad stutter and was all over the place with his speech, if you were ever to confront him with what he said, he probably had no idea that he had said it. They always said things in the worst way possible.

I got blamed also for other things that were not in my description, there was a lot of favoritism, and one dental nurse in particular if she done something wrong, you would get the blame for it- which I did so in many occasions- like for example one time not phoning patients to confirm appointments (As I was in surgery all day and she was on the desk, this was her duty not mine). I was told not to ask any other employees to do anything for me as they are higher than me and i've to do it myself- yet I was told that the running of a business is based on team work? Team work is sharing each others responsibilities and duties and working together successfully and helping one another, yet they were promoting not asking each other for help? Or rather, I wasn't to ask anyone for help. There is a lot of things I wish to also say and discuss- there are so many things which happened and that are worse than this- like another example clothing, they told me to wear longer dresses to be covered up (The day I was told this I was wearing a high neck black shift dress with wooly tights and shoes- they told me to where what the other dental nurse was wearing as this was suitable (She was wearing black working trousers and a creamy/pinky off the shoulder jumper with a tank top underneath and black working shoes). So I did wear this, only to be told it was not suitable and that I was to wear shirts etc- however this other employee was wearing white t-shirts with leopard print scarfs- This was favoritism by a long shot and was not fair.

During all this happening I had many family problems which all exploded this month. To the death of my cousins which I seen- personal problems about money, moving, property and what not and family moving abroad as well as my Gran taking unwell (I don't really want to mention all my problems on this) However if you could only imagine the grieving I am feeling right now and how distracting it would all be whilst working. I started being very distracted in work and couldn't keep me head straight- they spotted this whilst asking me on the spot questions and embarrassing me infront of employees. They told me I could have time off as I had funerals and a lot to get straight. I had time off and however was so upset that I couldn't even contact them directly- but emailed them and text them and got my partner to phone in as I was upset- I should not have done this but I was hoping they'd understand that I was so upset that I couldn't even speak to anyone. They emailed asking how long I would like time off- I emailed them back with a return date- whilst taking time off they sent my contract to me for me to sign- which I was going to print off in work and sign it as I had no access to a printer and was very busy with everything else. I then returned after having a week off work. When I arrived everyone was friendly and also a new girl had started which I found very strange, but thought perhaps that this was needed as we were short staffed.

I was working through the day trying to be as focused as I possibly could be as I had a funeral the day before and was very upset and still distracted- and hoping I wouldn't get into trouble and shouted at as well as being brought down as I had been brought down so much I felt stupid and worthless by them- they had done this during my grieving process that I had before I took time off which I found ridiculous. Then at lunch whilst eating- I was called in to the office by one of the dental nurses as well as the two bosses.

I was told the following: That they had thought long about doing this and was going to do it before I had time off (Lie!)- because they wouldn't send me a through a contract when having time off if they were going to sack me before hand) As if you were thinking about sacking someone you wouldn't send them a contract basically. So this proved wrong. The said my performance was low, even although I don't mean this big headed at all but I was hard working (Which I hope you can imagine, as I was continuously pushing myself to make them see I was not stupid)- They said I was basically continuously doing things wrongly, however I only started the end of February, as I told before I was not trained nor taught properly so this is why- and they kept picking up things wrongly and misunderstanding things. They said I don't accept when I do something wrong- of course I wasn't going to accept if I done something wrong when it wasn't my fault- however I did accept it so I don't understand that. They also basically said I wasn't ready to do dental nursing as perhaps I was too young. The dismissal they said was nothing about me having time off as they had thought long and hard before I had the time off and were going to call me into the office and say. Apparently tasks weren't getting carried out and that I had attitude with the other girls- which is also false as I wouldn't ever speak to someone horrible. And that when asked to carry out something I had a little attitude towards it- I have never done this, ever? I was always positive and nice (Reason being is so they would report nice things! Why on earth would I be horrible if I knew they'd report it to them? Thats blatantly stupid) They basically just said it wasn't for me, they reduced me to tears- after just going to a funeral the day before as well!! My contract started on the 21st of March, however this wasn't issued until last Thursday the 26th or either the 27th. I started working there on the Monday 20th was told I would have a week trial and then told whether I had the job or not. Was told that various times (Your contract will start next Monday/ No sorry next Monday etc)

I just think this has been unfair to myself- I am not just annoyed as I feel I'm not good enough. As I know I am. I would have straight A's and a lot of higher's for nothing if I were stupid and also when receiving this job I was received 3 other dental trainee jobs as well as a banking job. So it's not that I won't be able to retrieve another job again- and if they felt I was a wrong choice and I am not for dental nursing why is it that other businesses thought I would be good and offered me the position? I mean I might not be very literate this very second giving my eagerness to get all of this out my system and my current situation- but when needed to be I can be a very intelligent member of staff, knowing a lot about computer systems and technology- so I do not under stand any of there claims, I have no reason exactly to why I was dismissed other than a list of things I had done wrong.

I would like to know other peoples opinions on this and what steps to carry out to take this further as I feel it is not right as I was obviously dismissed for the time I had off- as like I said, if they were thinking about sacking me before I had time off they would not send me through a contract before I had time off and then all of a sudden when I return they dismiss me and employed a new member of staff during the time off I had. The reasons they stated were not good enough and they had made these up for there own benefits. After all that has happened to me in the past week, with two deaths in the family and lots of personal things going on I understand work is work and they do not care for personal life- but it is still illegal to dismiss someone for having time off to deal with personal issues and a grieving period, I am going through such a hard period just now and this was the last thing I needed.

Please respond to this. Thank you for taking time to read my story.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:01 PM
3,059 posts, read 8,283,555 times
Reputation: 3281
Well as they are citing incometence Megan, not illness or time off for grieving, and as they apparently have documented a long list of things you "did wrong" (even though you weren't properly trained) and as you have admitted that you didn't ask questions that you should have asked (and again, not dissing you, I understand why you didn't) I would think that getting them for wrongful dismissal is a long shot at best.

If I were you I would move on and look elsewhere and shake the dust off my feet in leaving - it sounds like a dreadful place to work. Good luck finding something else.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:44 PM
Location: Airstrip 1, Oceania
1,021 posts, read 2,907,803 times
Reputation: 1161
Don't waste your money on solicitor's fees trying to fight them. You will just run up an enormous bill and the process will drag on interminably. Forget it - move on.
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:44 AM
Location: The Silver State (from the UK)
4,664 posts, read 8,241,315 times
Reputation: 2862
So within the first few months things weren't going well. Did you ever ask for time with your boss to communicate your issues? And you took a week off (I understand the circumstances but still).

Unfair dismissal - no chance. Sounds like a crappy situation but don't waste anymore of your time. Good luck.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:53 AM
2 posts, read 3,189 times
Reputation: 10
-Thanks for the replies and I agree, I don't think I should waste my money either, just thought it's best to find out whether or not others found this unfair. I didn't discuss what I felt as they were dentists and were never able to do so due to them being unavailable all the time and when they did speak to me, they always had another employee present so I felt I could not express what I wanted to say- nor could I ask why they were present or if they could go away, as I didn't want to be rude. It was down right disgraceful what they done and I think it perhaps happened for the best- as I couldn't imagine myself continuing to work there anyway. Thanks again.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:44 AM
Location: The cupboard under the sink
3,993 posts, read 8,925,526 times
Reputation: 8105
You have no right to an employment tribunal in the UK unless you have been employed for at least a year, although I believe moves were afoot to change this to two years.

You would maybe get a union to brass your case, and they may be able to do something, but I doubt it. In all honesty, I think you should just put it down to experience and move on, having learned some lessons
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