We pride ourselves on the high quality of service our members who have employment issues or disputes receive from the IPA. We are also proud of the fact that in the majority of cases we can secure outcomes that are favourable to those we represent.
There are generally two situations where matters can become difficult for us, as your representatives. The first of these is when members come to us very late in the day, generally where they have gone through a process and the initial decision is not what they had hoped for. In some cases, the member has had representation from somebody else. The second situation is where we advise members, and they take advice somewhere else, or possibly speak to a friend or colleague. On the odd occasion, some people have even been known to instruct more than one party to handle a dispute, thinking it is a ‘belt and braces’ approach.
In the first scenario we must consider whether it is possible to unravel or challenge what has occurred to date. Failing that, we consider whether our intervention will undermine the process. What will the impact be on the pilot and any outcome as a result of us looking to change the course of events? Will there be issues with the pilot’s integrity? With proper guidance, we can normally assist our members in such cases, but it must be understood that where there has been a documented record of a process, that cannot be changed.
The second situation is not so straightforward to manage. We have been involved in several cases where we have given advice, only to find out later that the member is taking professional advice elsewhere, or even perhaps is being guided by a friend who thinks they know best. Whilst there may not be an issue with discussing your situation with friends, or having a chat elsewhere, it is fundamental to your case that you do not act in a way that is detrimental to it. Too many fingers in the pie can lead to confusion.
Members must be aware that if they are taking legal/professional advice elsewhere we may not be able to help. Unfortunately, we have been approached by members who have done just that and it has resulted in an unsatisfactory outcome for them, and we are unable to represent the pilot due to others being instructed. In some cases, If the dispute escalates to proceedings being issued, members may also find themselves at risk of costs (if unsuccessful they may have to pay some or all the employer’s legal costs). Any legal process should not to be entered lightly. Full 1 and 2 members benefit from up to £30,000 legal cover, but there may be occasions when members might not qualify for this if they have taken advice or acted without our assistance from the outset.
If you find yourself in an employment dispute, we urge you to contact us at the outset. As long as the issue is not pre existing at the point of joining, we will be able to help you. It may be that on a thorough review of the facts it is not a matter that we would litigate, but we do not leave our members high and dry. You benefit from advice from representatives who are independent from your employer.
It is frustrating for us that there are occasions where we cannot assist members due to the chain of events before we are contacted. Do call us at an early stage, and of course, speak to people who will understand your situation and be able to give you support. However, please ensure that people are not given authority to ‘dabble’, or in any way undermine your case. If you are taking advice elsewhere, be upfront with us about it. It may mean that you have to make a decision as to who represents you, but it prevents any professional embarrassment for all involved, and ensures that everyone knows where they stand.