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taratill
taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6307
Experience:  15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
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Ive currently been suspended from work following allegations

Resolved Question:

I've currently been suspended from work following allegations of me deleting files from the company's PC/Servers without authority or permission. I've been invited to attend a "investigation meeting" Friday (4th). What should I expect and what questions should I be asking. I am also thinking of raising a grievance as this seems to be their final attempt to out me, as over the last six months they have steadily removing my roles and responsibilities. Should this be raised at this meeting or a possible future disciplinary hearing.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  taratill replied 2 years ago.

taratill :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

just over six years now

taratill :

So do you think that the allegations are completely falsified to avoid them making you a redundancy payment or do you think they want to get rid of you for another reason?

Customer:

Not too sure what their objective is but life there over the last six months has been unpleasant. All I know is i havent deleted any files off the server, so slightly concerned over what "evidence" they may have found. Also very concerned over the outcome as it could have very serious consequences for future employment.

taratill :

I think that if you have evidence that they have been eroding your role and you believe that they are tying to get rid of you for some reason it is appropriate now to raise a grievance about all of the issues. If you do not have time to write the grievance before the investigation meeting you should state at the meeting that it is your intention to raise a formal grievance and ask them what evidence they have to suggest you have done the thing you are accused of. Your employer must hear your grievance. They cannot terminate your employment for gross misconduct unless they have reasonable belief that you have committed an act of gross misconduct. This means that they must have some objective evidence to support their allegations.

taratill :

You should answer all of their questions fully and honestly.

taratill :

If you have any further questions please do ask.

Customer:

I feel i haven't also had a reasonable amount of to prepare for this meeting as I only received the letter yesterday afternoon.

Customer:

what other questions do you think I should ask, can i ask for a copy of the evidence to prepare for any displinary hearing as this is just an "investigation meeting"

taratill :

Hi there is no requirement for notice for an investigation meeting. They should send you all the evidence to prepared in advance of a 'disciplinary hearing'. The purpose of the investigation meeting is simply to investigate the allegation. No action can be taken against you at today's meeting.

Customer:

thanks what's the official name of the grievance that I which to raise if I feel they are reducing my roles and responsibility and I feel the office environment is now unbearable, and following this allegation I feel that they obviously are now questioning my professional integrity which has now damaged our working relationship beyond repair.

taratill :

Hi you just have to state that it is a grievance as that is the official name, just list the things that you feel aggrieved about in the course of the grievance letter putting as much detail in as possible.

Customer:

Im not going to have time to do a letter in time at the meeting is at 2

taratill :

I appreciate that. I would just tell them that you are going to submit a grievance but haven't had time and ask if they are prepared to postpone the investigation meeting until you have time to do it. They may or may not be. If they are not then you just need to answer their questions and ask them what evidence they have.

taratill :

If there is anything else you would like to know about this please let me know.

Customer:

Might need some advice after the meeting if thats ok?

taratill :

Yes that's fine. Once you have rated my answer you will be able to come back to me and ask further questions, just ask for me by name.

Customer:

If I state in today's meeting that I which to raise a grievance should I do it at the start of the meeting or the end? is this the done thing or will it just look like sour grapes and make my situation worse?

Customer:

as the people i have to raise the grievance with are the same people who I believe are making the allegations.

taratill :

I think it is worth saying at the beginning of the meeting. They may see it as sour grapes but if your role is being eroded that is good grounds to raise a grievance.

Customer:

Im just typing a quick letter that hopefully you could give a once over if thats ok?

Customer:

I am writing to seek your help in resolving a problem that I am experiencing at work. It is a problem that is causing me some concern and that I have been unable to solve without bringing to your attention. I hope in doing so we can deal with the issue quickly and amicably.


I feel that over the last twelve months you have been dissolving my roles and responsibilities. When I raised this within my recent review you admitted that you had instructed members of staff not to contact me regarding technical issues, When I challenged this you stated that you didn't want to crush Richards enthusiasm, but gave no reason why you no longer wanted me to conduct technical support, despite me successfully conducting this duty for 5 years.

I also feel that my development duties have also be reduced. I have been the lead developer for five to six years which has brought much success to the company. However in recent months I seem to have been pushed into a back seat and only required to bug fix various sites and application. No other member of staff is requested to fix site issues despite their development knowledge.

In recent weeks I have been excluded from important changes to both the company infrastructure and key changes to the main company website, again no explanation has been given.

I have also stated on a number of occasions my unhappiness with working closely with Malcolm, due to his bullying attitude, rudeness and lack of team playing. Rather than offering a solution you have just pushed me to work with him, and accused me of having personal issues with him and stated I'm the only one in the company with an issue with him. This is not correct as others have raised successful HR issues against him, claiming the exact same issues I have with him.

I am also now extremely concerned that my professional honesty and integrity is being brought into disrepute with allegations I have been deleting files from servers. I would like to say you have trusted me over the last 6 years with full access to financial information, payment providers, PayPal accounts, servers, external suppliers and taken backup tapes off site and you have never raised any concerns over my integrity before, Nor have I given you any concern before.


I raised this matter informally, but haven't been satisfied with the outcome. I have tried to address some of these issues during my review with yourself, however this meeting was


You keep claiming that I have a negative attitude, however I am under the belief your reduction of my duties and responsibilities for what ever reason unbeknown to me, have resulted in this attitude as I no longer feel part of a working team nor wanted by the company. I am happy to share my knowledge and assist other members of the team, but recent attempts to do this have resulted in me being removed from that duty and being no longer involved, which has now resulted in my reluctance to offer further advice and assistance due the fear I will loose further responsibilities and stability within the company.


I would welcome the chance to talk this through with you at a convenient time and place.


Yours sincerely



Paul Masters

taratill :

Hello Paul I am sorry for the delay I had to pop into a meeting. That letter is absolutely fine. Good luck in the meeting.

Customer:

The meeting was very damming towards me. The evidence clearly shows my pc being used to delete files on several occasions, they just cant prove it was me doing the driving of the PC. I'm going to have difficulty defending myself against the evidence and they cant prove 100% it was me operating the PC. As I'm going to have difficulty defending myself I going to have to concede to damage limitation for future roles.

Customer:

I asked ACAS about resignation, but they said this could be difficult due to my notice period (3 months) as they stated the company could still proceed with the disciplinary, and my contract terminated within the notice period. The disciplinary hearing meeting now wont arrive to a week on Monday. The files deleted were not business critical and were immediately restored from the backups so im not sure if this be construed as Gross Miss-conduct. I'm not sure how to proceed now or how to to react. Do you have any advice on what my options could be, and what i should now do?

taratill :

Hi sorry for the delay in getting back to you. ACAS is right that if you resign the company can hold a disciplinary in your absence or say in any references that you resigned when faced with an allegation of gross misconduct. Your employer must have reasonable belief that it was you that did the act. If others can access your computer then you shoudl put it to them that they cannot establish reasonable belief.

taratill :

Please remember to rate my answer as I am not otherwise credited for my time.

taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6307
Experience: 15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
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