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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45310
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi I have a family member being disciplined for alleged rudeness

Resolved Question:

Hi I have a family member being disciplined for alleged rudeness and objectionable behaviour at work. There are three people that have put greivances in against her, one of them is bringing up information from February over three months ago, can they use this against her now? There are no dates on the letters that have been written to the employer and my family member states they have collaborated them together and this is why there is suddenly three of them, what can she do about this? They then go on to say it has been classed as serious misonduct and could result in a final written warning. Is this right? Does this come under this category or should it be simply misconduct where she should recieve a verbal warning.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

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

Customer:

years over 7.

Ben Jones :

It is certainly possible for the employer to use information from 3 month ago, especially as they have only just been made aware of it. They could question the delay with raising the grievance but if there are valid reasons for doing so, then it can certainly still be something the employer proceeds with and uses in their investigation.


 


Any evidence can just be challenged with whatever counter-evidence she has, even if it is just verbal. Whatever she believes is untrue or collaborated, she would need to flag up with the employer and provide her own version f events. After all this is what happens in such circumstances – someone makes a complaint, the employer investigates and if they decide to discipline, the employee can defend themselves by roving any counter-evidence or arguments to show what they are alleged of did not occur or is unlikely.


 


As to the seriousness of the offence, there is no list of what offences amount to what seriousness in the workplace. Obviously some will be more serious than others, such as theft, violence, fraud, etc and these can amount to gross misconduct but in the end it is for the employer to decide, based on any policies at work, previous incidents and generally what a reasonable employer would decide in this case. If there was just general rudeness, no personal and insulting remarks, bullying, etc then she should really just be issued with a written warning, rather than straight to a final one. A verbal warning is not an official warning so the employer does not have to consider it.

Customer:

thanks but what about the fact that no letters to the employer have dates on them. we are questioning this as suddenly three people have come out and said this in a matter of two days and they all talk and are friends. if we can prove that they were all on the same day or the day after does she stand a better case of saying its collaboration and victimisation?

Customer:

also tho of the three people have had an interview with the manager of the office and the other has a brief meeting but no minutes were taken and the payout of the information given to us is totally different and does not state its a greivance meeting can this be used?

Ben Jones :

a letter does not have to be dated to be legally acceptable. it is entirely possible that these complainants had valid complaints and after discussing it together they have decided they should proceed with raising the issues and they all sent in their details at or around the same time - this is not improbably and it does not mean there were false collaborations. The employer is only expected to conduct a reasonable investigation - they do not have to hold a grievance meeting before they can use it against the employee, they must only investigate and make sure the level of investigation is reasonable so it could be a meeting to ask questions, formal or informal as necessary

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX also found many differences between the letters that have been written and the meetings that took place can i use these in her disciplinary meeting to show that they are not consistant in answers?

Customer:

Also there was no time given for her to prepare for the investigatory meeting they have already held should they not have informed here this was goin to happen for her to prepare?

Ben Jones :

it is certainly possible to highlight any inconsistencies that are apparent and question these. As to the investigatory meeting the Acas Code, which employers are expected to follow, says


“It is not always necessary to hold an investigatory meeting (often called a fact finding meeting). If a meeting is held, give the employee advance warning and time to prepare.”

Customer:

and if the employer does not give the employee 'advance warning and time to repare'?

Customer:

she was given the information by hand at 17.00 on friday she has a meeting with one of the allegers on Monday where i feel we should have the notes from that meeting prior to the hearing and the hearing is on tuesday can we ask for more tome to prepare?

Ben Jones :

I wouldn't say this was not sufficient notice. After all bis is just an investigation - it is to discuss matters that have already happened and just gather more information. It is not a meeting where she is expected to defend herself formally - that is the disciplinary. He had the full weekend to consider this issu, insufficient notice would be if she was just pulled up at work and asked to attend a meeting there and then

Customer:

so due to the meeting on monday can we ask for the notes from this meeting as they may contain information that we can use and can we ask for extra time to look at these notes?

Ben Jones :

you mean notes due to be taken at the meeting?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

should she even attend the meeting on monday if she has a disciplinary on the tuesday?

Ben Jones :

yes she can request these before this goes any further, for example if it goes to a formal disciplinary, so she needs to be given some notice in advance of a disciplinary and be given the opportunity to prepare for it

Ben Jones :

but I would not say that the disciplinary being scheduled for Tue is fair

Ben Jones :

they have jumped a few steps before even considering this

Customer:

please elaborate on the steps they have jumped?

Ben Jones :

it should be the investigation first, then consider whether there is evidence to take it to a disciplinary then schedule the disciplinary

Customer:

she has had an aparent investigatory meeting but this meeting is to try and relsove the issues between her and the other member of staff.

Ben Jones :

ok not really an investigatory meeting then, sounds more like mediation

Customer:

we want the notes for this as it may uncover something they had not banked on and we need time to work on them. also can they then use the statement provided by this person if the issue is resloved in the meeting on monday? sorry if i am ranting on but this is my mum and she has worked all her life she is nearly 60 and never in her life been pulled in for a meeting let a line a disciplinary hearing.

Ben Jones :

yes she can ask for the notes but it is always recommend that she takes her own notes at the same time

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX thing before i let you go to bed, after reading the last hours notes would yo say they could give her a final written or should it be a written warning. On the fact its rudeness and objectional behaviour first time every pulled up on this etc?

Ben Jones :

It is generally recommended that they issue a written warning, valid for a period of time and then go to final if the issues persist. But you cannot tell the employer what to issue and all that can be done in the event of a stricter penalty than expected is appeal it

Customer:

thank you for your help excesllent service!!

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45310
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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