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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46785
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi, I was recently suspended from work for apparently bringing

Resolved Question:

Hi,
I was recently suspended from work for apparently bringing the company into disrepute following a video I uploaded on to youtube (it was set to unlisted viewing only, not public) The video itself does not mention the company's name directly or show any logos however it has been deemed as being in breach of company rules and regulations regarding social media content.
The video was made and uploaded at home on my own pc NOT USING THE COMPANY'S PC'S IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM.
I forwarded the youtube link to a work colleague, via e-mail using my phone however it seems the link has since been forwarded to others and eventually found its way to a manager who decided in taking instant action against me.
I was told to stay behind after my shift finished last Saturday and was then suspended.
Ive received no official paperwork or given any proper explanation to point out exactly what im in breach of other than bringing the company into disrepute. Ive no idea what the exact rules are regarding social media but it was never put up as a public video anyway and has since been removed .
Ive just been told not to contact anyone at work and to just make myself available during normal working hours ?
Its been 4 days now and ive not heard a thing from my employer or received any official documentation as to whats going on, this has caused untold worry and stress being left in limbo like this as ive no idea whats going to happen and still un-clear as to what exactly it is im in breach of?

Hope you can help.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. can you tell me how long you have been with your employer please

Customer:

Hi Benaround 8 or 9 years

Ben Jones :

Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded. I have to attend a meting and will get my advice ready for you later this evening regards ben

Customer:

ok, many thanks Ben

Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience. 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.


 


Any period of suspension should be as short as possible and reviewed on a regular basis. A knee-jerk decision to suspend, without considering whether this is actually necessary, or if it could be avoided, could result in the employer acting in breach of the implied term of trust and confidence. This could prompt the employee to complain to the employer, such as by raising a grievance.


 


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.


 


So at this stage you are still innocent, until proven guilty. Your employer is most likely investigating the issues and gathering any evidence they may wish to use against you. You have the basic reasons for the suspension and it is all you can really expect for now. If they decide to go ahead with a formal disciplinary, then you will get the right to be given full details of the allegations against you, together with any evidence to be used against you. You may then start preparing a defence and you may also consider asking anyone to act as your witness to support your case if necessary.


 


Hope this clarifies your position?

Customer:

Hi Ben


Many thanks for all the information.


Regarding the suspession procedure is there a set protocol which has to be followed or is it a per company procedure ?


I was told to stay behind after my shift had ended to see the manager. (no reasons were ever given)
He never turned up till half an hour after i had officially finished, however i did wait for him and even then he didnt call me in to see him he just waited until i went into his office.
When i did I was asked to confirm a e-mail address to being mine which i did.
He then asked me if i would like representation for allegations against me which bring the company into disrepute, nothing specific was stated just that to which i declined.


Question is am i meant to be informed of what it is exactly ive done wrong before being asked if i would like representation ?
Not being informed of the exact allegations first doesnt seem correct.


He then took a brief statement as part of an investigation hearing and then suspended me.
however there was no one else present to take the minutes, he did this himself there was only ever the two of us there the whole time.
I was asked to sign a copy of this statement but never given one to keep for reference.


Ive still not been contacted by them or received any official documentation to state what is going on or what ive done..


Do i just sit and wait or should I contact my employer ?

Ben Jones :

Hi, suspension procedures are generally left to the employer to decide, for example in a specific disciplinary policy in work. Usually you need to be told of the reasons for the suspension and be paid for that period. However, the reasons need not be detailed at this time, especially as the full nature may not yet be known.


 


The right to be given full details of the allegations against you applies before you are required to attend a formal disciplinary hearing.


 


At this stage it may be best to wait for the employer but remember that they should keep you up to date with what is happening, so you should expect an update at least once a week and if that is not forthcoming, then you need to push them for more information and to find out what is actually happening.

Customer:

ok, thanks for the info Ben

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome, all the best

Customer:

Hi Ben, hope its still ok for me to ask a couple more questions as ive just received some documentation from my employer which still doesnt state exactly what ive done wrong other than bringing the company into disrepute regarding a youtube clip i posted that relates to the company itself.


I was also sent a copy of my company's social networking policy,
(which ive never even seen before till now)
however this still doesnt state anything that i can see which relates to anything ive done.


What I wanted to ask was,


(1) Are privately uploaded and unlisted clips which are not available to be shared by anyone else still classed the same as standard public video which anyone can view ?


(2) Youtube do state that no-one is allowed to download other peoples videos therefore if my company have done this can they still use it as evidence against me ?


I also have a copy of my company's disciplinary procedure which is what managers have to follow when carrying out discipline or suspension and it states quite clearly that


[quote]
 Advise the employee of the availability of counselling and ensure that the AXA phone
number is ***** the letter. ...........(NO, I DID NOT GET THIS)

 Clarify who the employee should contact if they wish to take annual leave whilst
suspended..............(NOTHING GIVEN AND IM OFFICIALLY ON HOLIDAY NEXT WEEK YET NO IDEA WHERE I STAND)


 If possible, hand the letter informing the employee that they are suspended at the
conclusion of the meeting ..............(NOTHING WAS GIVEN DESPITE NOTES BEING TAKEN BY THE MANAGER)

 If it is not possible to do the letter on the day, advise the employee that the suspension
will be confirmed in writing. Ensure that the letter is dispatched within 2 days of the
suspension meeting. .........


(MY SUSPENSION TOOK PLACE SATURDAY 7th, I RECEIVED NOTIFICATION THROUGH THE POST BY 1st class RECORDED DELIVERY ON THURSDAY 12th, ALTHOUGH THE LETTER IS DATED THE 10th)


knowing these procedures have clearly not been followed do you think this case against me should still be allowed to continue ?.................Thanks again for any advice given.

Customer:

.

Ben Jones :

Hi yes I can briefly answer follow up questions:


 


(1) Are privately uploaded and unlisted clips which are not available to be shared by anyone else still classed the same as standard public video which anyone can view?


 


This can be compared to facebook messages, where an employee may argue it was a private profile where just friends would see them and not available to the general public as such.


 


Employers should only take formal action against an employee's use of social networking or other websites where there are valid concerns about this having a detrimental effect on the business, including any adverse effect on other employees. Common examples can include:



  • Comments that can amount to bullying or harassment of other employees

  • Complaints about the employer that can bring the business into disrepute or affect its reputation

  • Serious breach of commercial confidentiality.


 


You have not yet been told about the actual way this has brought the company into disrepute but as mentioned the full details do not have to be given to you until the disciplinary hearing.


 


(2) Youtube do state that no-one is allowed to download other peoples videos therefore if my company have done this can they still use it as evidence against me ?


 


It is possible. This is to do with youtube’s own policies, the employer would not be strictly bound by these and they can still use this as evidence.

Customer:

many thanks Ben for the reply, .......one Last thing, Will the fact they haven't followed their own correct discipline procedure have any impact..

Ben Jones :

it would be relevant but not in a sense that they cannot continue with the procedure. for example they can try and rectify the things they have failed to udnertake but it does still allow you to complain if necessary

Customer:

ok, and thanks again Ben for all the advice.

Ben Jones :

not a problem

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46785
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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