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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47404
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I was suspended from work last Wednesday after more than 10

Resolved Question:

I was suspended from work last Wednesday after more than 10 years of service. It was a real shock and came completely out the blue without any prior warning. I did lie on my last report dated December 2014 when I said that I had visited 4 clients over 2 days when I only saw 3. I know all the sales reps do this but for some reason I was suspended for it with immediate effect. I had a letter to say that I am suspended whilst they are investigating and might face a disciplinary hearing! I just want to resign as even if they do decide to reinstate me I believe the trust between me and my employer has broken down after this bizarre incident. How should I proceed? Melanie
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long is your notice period?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It's 4 weeks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
I can’t advise whether you should resign or not because that is a personal decision for you – only you know whether you can continue working there or not and if you believe the trust has gone.
In terms of them taking disciplinary action against you, alleged misconduct is a common reason for taking disciplinary action against an employee. It could be due either to a single serious act of misconduct or a series of less serious acts over a period of time.
In order to justify that disciplinary action on grounds of misconduct was fair, the law requires that the employer:
• Conducts a reasonable investigation;
• Follows a fair disciplinary procedure; and
• Shows they had reasonable grounds to believe the employee was guilty.
In addition, the employer is expected to follow the ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. Altogether, it means that a disciplinary procedure should be conducted as follows:
1. Investigation - a reasonable investigation is needed. What is reasonable depends entirely on the circumstances and especially the nature and seriousness of the allegations. The more serious these are, the more detailed the investigation needs to be.
2. Disciplinary hearing - if the investigation provides sufficient evidence of misconduct, the employee may be invited to attend a formal disciplinary hearing. They must be given prior notice of the hearing, including details of the allegations, allowing them time to prepare. They have the legal right to be accompanied at the hearing but only by a trade union representative or a colleague.
3. Decision and penalty - following the disciplinary, if the employer holds a genuine belief that the employee was guilty, then they can go ahead and formally sanction them. When deciding on the appropriate penalty, the employer should consider the nature and seriousness of the offence and the employee's disciplinary record. Unless the offence was one of gross misconduct, ACAS recommends that the employee should be issued with a written warning.
In summary, an employer is not expected to prove that the alleged misconduct had definitely occurred. Disciplinary action will be fair if the employer can show that it had conducted a reasonable investigation, followed a fair procedure and held a genuine belief that the employee was guilty. Finally, it must show that the penalty was a reasonable action to take in the circumstances and one that a reasonable employer would have taken.
If there are any doubts about any of the above and there is belief or evidence that the employer has not satisfied these requirements, an appeal can be submitted to the employer immediately after the disciplinary outcome. If the disciplinary results in dismissal then a claim for unfair dismissal can be made in the employment tribunal. There are two requirements to claim: the employee must have at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer and the claim must be made within 3 months of the date of dismissal.
If you wanted to resign you can do so at any time but you would be required to serve your notice period, unless the employer allows you to leave earlier. The issue is that during your notice period the employer can still proceed with disciplinary action and potentially dismiss you if you are found guilty of gross misconduct.
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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