My wife started a new job in Oct 07 as a deputy manager for a retail company. Over the past eight months she has lost her father, uncle and aunty all of whom she was very close to. In January we lost my father. In Oct she had 3 weeks basic training as a deputy manager, the area manager knew she had never managed before but had held positions of responsibility. The new store she went to had no manager and she was asked to run it. A manager from another store would come in once a week to see how she was getting on. In Dec she had a breakdown due to the stresses of losing loved ones and working from 7:30am till 6pm six days a week. The doctor signed her on the sick for 14 days and told her she needed complete rest, after 10 days she returned to work without the doctor signing her off, as she hates taking time off. The company then told her they wanted more commitment, so she told them due to circustances beyond her control she would be honest with them and told them she would look for alternative employment but it may take a little time. They were happy with this and thanked her for her honesty. In January a new manager came in and wouldn’t let her do anything, she had her mopping the floor, stocking merchandise and serving customers, everything else she did. She had her first review in the last week of February and was told they would probably extend the probation period. Two days later she recieved a letter from HR telling her she had a disciplinary hearing stating performance issues with regard to leading the team. The week before the hearing she was observed by a qualified NVQ person on leading the team and was told it was one of the best examples he had seen. At the meeting this was brought up and she refuted what they were saying, the manager sacked her and said she could appeal. When I went to pick my wife during the first month after the new manager started I had 3 colleagues approach me and tell me she was being bullied by the new manager. We have appealed the dismissal but now we are not sure about how to prepare for the hearing. We logged a letter stating three facts, 1. Lack of on hand training, 2. Lack of compassion and understanding and 3. Bullying. They say she can only have a union rep or a colleague present at the hearing, can she have anyone else? Can anyone please help as time is running out.
John Sunderland

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