You and the Law – 13th October 2009

Ex-wife’s revenge

My boss received an anonymous letter, which, had it been believed, could have cost me my job.  I later obtained proof that it had been sent by my ex-wife.  Is it an offence to write malicious letters?  BG

It is an offence to send malicious communications, whether by post or phone or in person.  If you discuss the letter with the police they may decide to caution your ex-wife against repeating the offence.

The legislation is designed to protect people from communications which cause them distress or alarm, and which may constitute harassment.
Depending on the contents of the letter it may of course also be libellous.
However the fact is that it didn’t cost you your job. 

Assuming you’ve been working for your employer more than a year you have some employment protection.
You may have had a case for compensation for unfair dismissal if you’d been sacked on the basis of an anonymous letter.

Treble top

My boss says the eight bank holidays are included in our annual leave.  So now if I work on a bank holiday I get paid double time, but my boss says I can’t have a day off in lieu as well.  He says if I get double time and a day off too it’s like being paid treble money for one day.  Is he right?  FH

You shouldn’t necessarily get a day off in lieu, but you are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ holiday a year.  That’s the law, and you cannot exchange your statutory leave for extra pay, nor can your employer ask you to do so.

Your employer isn’t of course obliged by law to offer you double time for working bank holidays: he could insist you work bank holidays at your normal rate.  However double time may be written into your contract or established by custom and practice.

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