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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46783
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Can an organization issue a gag order on an individual who

Resolved Question:

Can an organization issue a gag order on an individual who is employed or works by time agreement but it is not written into any terms of agreement.
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. What type of gag order is this, what is it trying to prevent exactly?

Customer:

It says I cannot talk with anyone else in the organization. If I do it will be deemed as a gross misdemeener

Customer:

and probal dismissal

Customer:

sorry about my words, it say gross misconduct

Ben Jones :

Talk about what?

Customer:

a number of people have made some allegations about me and my leadership. Basically unhappy people. As far as I can tell there are no substantiated accusations only allegations.

Customer:

I hae been suspended and waiting 7 1/2 months for a decision.

Customer:

an independent person was called in to investigate the claims and told me there was only allegations.

Ben Jones :

So they are asking you not to discuss this with anyone whilst you are on suspension?

Customer:

In the beginning I was also told I could not even talk to othe members of my family who also work with the organization

Customer:

after four months I was told I can talk with them.

Customer:

I want to know if this is just an harassment tactic or if it is leagal

Customer:

I know there have been many wrong procedural things in the suspentin

Customer:

I know that this is not an acceptable amont of time to be suspended without a conclusion

Customer:

I believe the CEO has other reason fro wanting me out of the way

Ben Jones :

How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

Can he put on a gag order without a legal court order? or without it being written into the terms of contact

Customer:

Yes I was told I could not talk to anyone from the organization while under suspention

Customer:

I have be with the organization in the UK for 35 years.

Ben Jones :

Is there anything specific you need to talk to people about in relation to this?

Customer:

All of my staff and leadership team are left in confusion about what is happening.

Customer:

There are other staff members that I believe would give positive testimony about me if given a chance.

Customer:

They would also give testimony agains some of the accusers

Customer:

In addition to the suspension they have already slandered my name by talking to others and sending out negative letters.

Ben Jones :

It is standard practice to request that someone who is on suspension does not contact other members of staff during that period and they would be designated a single point of contact within the company in case they had to contact someone. So imposing such a restriction is nothing unusual and there does not need to be anything in your employment contract about that – it is standard practice and it is considered a reasonable instruction by the employer.


 


If you wish to use employees as witnesses and to give evidence on your behalf, then you can make a request to include them as your witnesses when a formal disciplinary is convened. However, at this stage it does not appear that has happened yet so there is no right for you to request any witnesses appear on your behalf.


 


You do have the right to ask what the delay with the investigation is and ask to be given an update on the employer’s progress. Whilst suspension is not an indication of guilt, it should not be for longer than is reasonably necessary for the employer to conduct a reasonable investigation. Whilst sometimes a prolonged suspension may be necessary, you can ask why there has been such a considerable delay.

Customer:

the investigator was given a list of some people to interview. But I was not given the opportunity to have him interview other personnel who have informed member of my family of misconduct on behalf of the accusers.

Customer:

Along with the gag order I was told I have the right of appeal with the Board. But I am now told a board member will be with the CEO when decide on my case. As I understand it that will nullify the possibility of a just appeal with the board.

Ben Jones :

the investigation is for the employer to decide who to interview and what evidence to seek - they are in control there. But if this gets to a disciplinary then you can ask for specific witnesses to attend and provide evidence. As to an appeal, you have the legal right to appeal any decision taken against you. The ACAS Code which employers are expected to follow states that "The appeal should be dealt with impartially and wherever possible, by a manager who has not previously been involved in the case."

Customer:

I am meeting with my CEO and a board member this Thursday. Do I understand they cannot discipline be at that time, but I can as for specific witness to attend and provide evidence. Or do I need to accept the discipline and go to appeal and as the witnesses to be present with evidence.

Customer:

sorry I typed as twice when I meant ask

Ben Jones :

They cannot just discipline you like that, not without giving you a formal notice of a disciplinary, giving you details of the allegations and providing you with an opportunity to prepare a defence, arrange witnesses and so on

Customer:

Thank you this has been very helpful

Customer:

any further advice

Ben Jones :

well you are protected against unfair dismissal, they cannot just go ahead and dismiss - they need a fair reason, a fair procedure. As mentioned also the ACAS Code is something they should follow, you can read that here:

www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/k/b/Acas_Code_of_Practice_1_on_disciplinary_and_grievance_procedures-accessible-version-Jul-2012.pdf

Customer:

I have read it and they have already broken proceedures

Ben Jones :

Breaches with procedures would be dealt with either through a grievance, or in the most seriious cases - resignation and a claim for constructive dismissal, or if you are dismissed - a claim for unfair dismissal

Customer:

Thank you

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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Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46783
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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