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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48504
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I work local authority and a man phoned in at the weekend

Customer Question

I work for a local authority and a man phoned in at the weekend asking to get a council parking permit for a house he's moved into that day. I told him he would have to phone during normal working hours because the dept he needed was closed for the weekend. He got irritated and demanded one now and asked what he was supposed to do. I told him he should have got it sorted out before he moved in. This made him mad and he demanded my name. When I refused to give it to him, it got quite heated, and I threatened to end the call by saying because he wouldn't stop talking. I said, "shall I end the call" and "I am going to end the call". In the end I didn't, and he hung up. Now I am worried that I may have done something seriously wrong. Could I be fired.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for and are your calls at work recorded?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have worked there 7 years and yes, call are recorded

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello there, from what you have said you do not appear to have done something so serious that your job would be at risk. You did not verbally abuse the person, did not swear were not overly rude and you were just trying to diffuse a situation created by their attitude.
What could happen next is that the person makes a complaint and the employer then investigates this. They could try and get the recording of the call to see exactly what was discussed and determine if you were at fault and if any further action is necessary.
In terms of where that may lead, if they believe you had been guilty of misconduct, then that 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.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? If your query has been dealt with please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. If you need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you.