Andrea Sarney

I was made redundant from my employer of 25 years. It was totally out of the blue. I’m a solo mum with an 11 year old child and a large mortgage. I was at breakdown point. The company offered me a redundancy payment, but I wasn’t too sure if this amount really represented 25 years of service to the company. I had agreed to have a meeting with the finance director, and to be totally honest I was going in to agree with their offer. A friend of mine who was helping me through this tough time told me not to do anything till I had seen Phil Mitchell, a lawyer she had dealt with in an employment dispute months earlier. I was in such a state that part of me just wanted it over and done with, but at my friend’s insistence I rang and made an appointment that day to see Phil. Well, from that moment on everything changed. I arrived at Phil’s office a complete wreck; he handed me a box of tissues and I slowly told him my story while holding back tears. My first impression was his compassion – he gave me time to compose myself and offered a bit of emotional counseling and positive reinforcement. Phil advised me I was entitled to a better redundancy package. He rang the company, rescheduled the meeting and told my employer that I was in no emotional state to return till the meeting in two days time. Those days gave me time to sit in the sunshine and gain some strength and composure. We arrived at the company and sat with the finance director and an HR woman they had flown from in from Auckland. Phil spoke calmly and right from the start and set the meeting in motion – it was an quite empowering moment for me. Phil discussed with the company in a very professional manner the errors made in their process which opened the door to negotiations. At the end of the meeting they had agreed to a package that doubled the amount first offered to me. Phil picked me up from rock bottom and now I have time to spend with my daughter and be financially sound until the right position becomes available for me. Phil was my hero!