Hi guys and gals. Hoping your input can help me with this one, seem to have landed myself in a bit of a sticky situation.
I work for a small business (employs 3 people) which requires me and the two others to drive a company van.
On friday I took the van to the job I was designated to. To get to this particular place I usually take the motorway. On this occassion my boss told me to set my sat nav not to take the motorway as it would be quicker to take scenic route.
So, travelling down the country roads, I come across a ford (water in the road for people who don't know). I took note of the level indicator at the side of the road which clearly showed the water was below the minimum marked height on the indicator.
So I decided to drive the van through it.. Got right to the end of the water and the van stalled. Then it wouldnt start again, it was turning over but just not starting. I used the starter motor to edge myself out of the way of the other traffic and the van started briefly again at one point..
Anyway, after getting my boss to drop off my car so I could continue my job that day, he stayed and got the AA to tow the van back.
Upon returning to the office, my boss then tells me that it looks like it needs a new engine and I would have to pay the excess which is nearly 400 quid because I'm under 25!!!!! I knew there was company policy in place that said if I had an accident or carlessly wrecked the van I would have to pay the excess, however this was not reckless or careless, and he told me to take that route!
Absolutely outraged I had nothing to say. Well, I had a lot to say but I knew I needed to calm down first.
Went home and wrote him an email clearly stating the points why I thought it was unreasonable.
- He told me to take that route.
- I took note of the level indicator (I have a picture of this and attached it).
- I had no reason to think the van couldnt negotiate the ford and have had no specific training regarding this, infact no training regarding a company vehicle at all.
- The policy about excess refers to carlessness or recklessness, I was not driving recklessly in any way but rather trying to fulfil the specific instructions he had given me. This was just an unfortunate occurrence for which I can take no responsibility.
So, I sent that friday evening. It's now Monday morning and I have had no reply. I'm not at work today because I booked the day off last week.
Im not sure I wan't to go back there if this is their "policy". I know how badly the business is doing at the moment and he just won't absorb any more costs, so he wants to take it out of my wages (which are almost minimum wage anyway!!).
Ideally I'd like to find a new job but this is not a good time :-(
What are my rights on using all of my 4 weeks holiday at once and relentlessly searching for a new job? Ideally I'd like this to start tomorrow..