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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48176
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Recently the opportunity for VR came up with my employer, which

Resolved Question:

Recently the opportunity for VR came up with my employer, which I requested. Whilst awaiting a decision on this, I am been investigated for gross misconduct, for bringing the company name into disrepute and my application for VR has been suspended pending an investigation. Can they do this? By the way the reason for the accusation, is that I told a client of the company, who I look after that I was requesting VR.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

I have worked there for 8 years with an unblemished record.

Ben Jones :

Were you told to keep such information confidential?

Customer:

No, I work for Barclays, the redundancies are in the Public Domain and was not told by anyone to keep it quiet, they are saying that as I discussed operational stuff, such as potential branch closures etc.

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Customer:

Ben, my question is can they suspend my VR application whilst been investigated for gross misconduct? surely that is saying I am culpable before an investigation has taken place. all other employees who requested VR have now been accepted.

Ben Jones :

Being placed on suspension is not an automatic assumption of guilt and does not amount to disciplinary action. It is there to be used as a precautionary measure whilst an employer investigates any allegations against the employee. Reasons for suspending could be in the case of gross misconduct, breakdown of relationship, risk to an employer's property, their clients or other employees, to preserve evidence or ensure it is not tampered with, avoid potential witnesses being pressured or intimidated, etc.


 


During the period of suspension the employer should conduct a reasonable investigation into the allegations against the employee. If the investigation gathers enough evidence to justify the taking disciplinary action that could be the next step. In that case the employee has the right to be informed in advance of the allegations against them and be given the opportunity to prepare for the hearing.


 


On the other hand, if the investigation does not find enough evidence to justify a disciplinary, the employer should terminate the suspension immediately and allow the employee to return to work as normal.


 


In terms of the VR process, even if you were not suspended, the employer could have started or stopped the process at any stage and for any reason – just because they are considering your application does not mean you are guaranteed to proceed with it until a final decision is made. So do not see it as a punishment yet, they could just re-start the process once it has been decided no action would be taken against you. It is again just a precautionary measure whilst this process concludes.

Customer:

Thanks Ben. I am currently off sick with work related stress and have attended an independent doctor to see if I am fit to attend a disciplinary investigation hearing, should I not be fit to attend then my union are going to try and fight to get my VR. I have received nothing in writing from my management and it has been two weeks now. I know they can investigate in my absence, but the union says they have to be very careful on this due to the nature of my illness, as I have had an ongoing illness for the last 12 months and am under the care of occupational health, is this something you would agree is in my favour?

Ben Jones :

they can investigate in your absence but need to be careful you are not prejudiced as a result. It would be more important if they tried to hold a disciplinary in your absence when you were signed off sick. If I was advising them I would state they should try and delay any part of the process until you are well enough to come back or at least try their best to gather all information they can in the circumstances

Customer:

I asked that they provide all the evidence to my union rep in my absence and they refused saying he may pass the information to me. Can they do that?

Ben Jones :

The evidence only needs to be disclosed to you if you are facing a formal disciplinary, until then there is no formal requirement to disclose evidence as they are still investigating

Customer:

Oh man they are playing hardball with me. I will await the outcome of the doctors decision I guess and hopefully the union can sort it out. Its a very lame excuse for gross misconduct! Maybe I will be better of going in and facing the music!

Ben Jones :

I agree it is, they may just be trying to avoid paying you redundancy and finding a reason to dismiss you without having to pay you anything...it will all depend on the investigation and the disciplinary, the evidence and so on..if it gets that far

Customer:

Yeah those are my thoughts too. Thanks for your assistance Ben.

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome. Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the advice I have provided as that is an important part of our process. Thank you and feel free to bookmark my profile for future help:



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