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taratill
taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6305
Experience:  15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
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I have been given an invitation to attend a disciplinary

Resolved Question:

HI,
I have been given an invitation to attend a disciplinary hearing as follows:
Potential act of gross misconduct for potentially falsifying hotel records and for sharing this information with a hotel employee (A massage therapist accused of the theft of a necklace during the treatment time of the hotel guest), and further, potentially jeopardising the company and police investigation.
I in panic changed a client journey for a therapist jewellery procedure after an alleged theft of a diamond necklace in my department. I am the Manager of just 6 months and my first role as a manager of a health club. I changed it when I was asked what procedure I had. I did this in panic as we did not have one. I did not think about what it was I was actually doing and was not calculated on my part or malicious. I them gave the changed document to the therapist in question but only to say this is what you do now. She was later arrested but not charged. The investigation continued internally. I owned up to what I did before the continued investigation as I realised it was not a good thing that I had done.
My concerns are as follows:
• As for the bringing the hotel into disrepute, I am not really sure how?
• As for giving it to an employee under investigation, that was again innocently done and again worrying about no procedurebeing in place but at no point did I intend it to interfere with an investigation or was it my intention to say any other date that she received than the date I gave it to her (on the morning of the 9th)
• How could I have jeapardised a police investigation.The police had not been involved and I did not think the case against the therapist was as serious as it become because knowing her as I did, I didn’t think for one minute she stole the necklace.
PLEASE EXPLAIN CLEARLY HOW AN INTERNAL ADMINISTRATIVE HOTEL PROCEDURE HAS JEOPARDISED A POLICE INVESTIGATION. THE POLICE DO NOT INVESTIGATE ANY CRIME OR POTENTIAL CRIME OF THEFT AGAINST PRIVATE PROCEDURES OR PROCESSES, ONLY AGAINST THE LAW. THE HOTELS PROCESS AND PROCEDURES WOULD HAVE NO PLACE IN A COURT OF LAW.
• Should I have not been formally interviewed about the alledged gross misconduct against me?
I WAS TOLD I WAS BEING INFORMALLY QUESTIONED ABOUT THE WHOLE THEFT AND THAT I WAS NOT UNDER SUSPICION. I WAS ASKED a COUPLE OF QUESTIONS ABOUT CHANGING THE DOCUMENTS IN THE WHOLE 40 MINUTES I WAS IN THIS MEETING
• I am under the impression that a report or any conclusions cannot be made about the alleged Gross misconduct from the person investigating. Yet in my informal questioning after asking me the question “so there was no need to change it?”, he then said to me that I could have jeopardised police investigation and I could have been charged with purgery. Is this not very similar wording on the disciplinary “potentially jeopardising a company and POLICE INVESTIGATION.” This part was not added to the minutes but I clearly remember him saying it.
THIS SUGGESTS TO ME THAT IN FACT HE HAS WRITTEN A REPORT AND THIS COMES FROM HIS WORDING. INFACT I WAS TOLD THAT HE WOULD NEED TO WRITE A REPORT BEFORE ANY FURTHER DECISIONS WERE MADE AT THE END OF HIS INVESTIGATION. AS FAR AS I’M AWARE THE DISCIPLINARY MEETING SHOULD BE HELD WITH FACTUAL EVIDENCE AND THE MINUTES, NOT FROM THE WRITTEN REPORT AND CONCLUSIONS HE HAS COME TO AND REPORTED TO HR.
• I am concerned that I have been invited to a disciplinary hearing for potential gross misconduct ( very carefully written I feel) just over a month after the investigation. By this time I had believed that I would not be disciplined as surely such a serious case against me should have been dealt with by HR straight away and I should not have been allowed to work for over a month when I could have potentially been continuing to make acts of gross misconduct.
I feel the way the whole investigation has been handled is bad, the therapist did not pass her probation period after being suspended for 3.5.weeks and I feel I am a sacrificial lamb for public relations with the guest. Could you please advise me. I agree I did wrong but not the extent they are saying. I have an immaculate record and have worked for the company for 6 years.
Thanks you,
Natalie
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  taratill replied 1 year ago.
Hi Natalie, my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Can you please explain the circumstances which led you to falsifying the records in the first place?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi.,I work in a hotel spa, a guest had her diamond necklace allegedly stolen during a treatment. The guest said that she had asked the therapist to take it off and didn't give it back. The guest realised a couple of hours later. She spends a lot of money with the hotel, approx half a million. I had left for the evening and wasn't aware until the next day. I had also spoken with the guest before her treatment as she was asking about retail products. I came into work the next day and the report of the alleged theft. The security team had called the therapist in the morning about 6.20 am and asked her question's when she then arrived at work at 10 am. I did not believe that the therapist had stolen the necklace. She had arrived with it on and made a show in front of the camera and then went in to the changing rooms for a minute at the most. When I spoke with her I did notice her wearing a necklace. It was high around her neck and quite big so I'm sure I would have noticed it. I really didn't think it would become the investigation that it did, I have worked for the company for 6 years and know that it is not normally handled in the way this one turned out to. The company has been taken over and changed hands and new people are in. One being the group director of security. Lots of people have been pushed out including 2 general managers. The director of security came into the investigation not happy with how the head of security at my hotel had handled the case. The new director of security was a police commander with 4,000 people under him and I think he has come in to the investigation as he would a police officer. The necklace was said to be worth £20,000 by the guest but it went up to 75 to 85 thousand. I was asked the front of house manager to send the spa procedure, I looked and couldn't find one and panicked, I adjusted a procedure I had written myself for the client journey procedure for the therapists to follow. One part said tell the guest how would like them to prepare for their treatment and leave the room. I added about putting jewellery into a pot onto it. I sent it not thinking about what I was actually doing, an act of stupidity and naivety but not calculated or malicious. I then started to realise what I had done as time went on and the case grew more serious. Immediately put actions into place after this and put a procedure with jewellery and got the team to sign and spoke with them individually. I gave the therapist in question the original changed version but only to say this is what you do now on the morning after the theft, in no way did I give it to her to try to protect her or lie about the date I gave it to her. The investigation was still with only our security team and I was not aware that the police would be called and did not believe the therapist had stolen the necklace.
The therapist was not charged and no further action was being taken by the police. The director of security then investigated. I owned up to what I had done after realising how serious it had now got and I did not want it be used in the investigation.
During the investigation some people were formally interviewed and some informally. I was interviewed informally and told that I was not under suspicion. I was asked about why I changed the document. The interview questioning lasted for 40 minutes, I was asked about 2 questions. The director said to me you could have been charged with purgery and jeopardise a police investigation. This part was not put on the minute which I did sign but I was under duress and you don't get time to think about everything. I was feeling ill with stress and lost some weight because I am the sort of person that does things by the book and felt ashamed. I also did not know what would happen to the therapist. She was continuously suspended and finally let go as she was just at the end of her probation period. They said apparently she did not do anything but they were not passing her probation. I heard nothing about myself until Friday just gone, just over a month afterwards to attend a disciplinary. Firstly |I have not had a formal meeting about just what I did. On the letter it says that I could have potentially jeopardised police investigations. This I think comes from a report of the director of security as he said this to me. I am under the impression from research that the investigating team cannot come to any conclusions? He told me himself that he needs to write a report and they will get it all over with as soon as possible. I'm not sure how I could put the company into disrepute although I can see that it could have interfered with the internal investigation but it didn't I owned up. My managers at work think no less of me and if it was down to them I think I would never have been disciplined but it was with the new people. I feel that it has been blown into more than it was and I am to be used as a scapegoat for the benefit of public relations with the guest.
Expert:  taratill replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks, ***** ***** you are saying is that there was no Spa Procedure for therapists to use so you fabricated one when asked for it by the manager?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes
Expert:  taratill replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks, ***** ***** that it seems you are being scapegoated. It was clearly wrong for you to do this but I am not sure that the employer is entitled to treat this as a valid reason to dismiss. I would suggest that you state that there is no evidence that this has brought the company into disrepute and the lack of a policy was not your fault given your time in your job. You can apologise for doing this and state that you felt under pressure and would not do anything like it again. You should state that if it were not for the stolen item (which you are not guilty of) you do not believe you would being disciplined for gross misconduct. Ultimately if you are dismissed then you should appeal against the decision on the basis that it is outside the range of reasonable responses for the employer. If you bring the matter to Tribunal they will have to decide whether it is adequate grounds for a reasonable employer to terminate based on the evidence. If you have any further questions please do ask. IF I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
HI,thank you for your help, can I ask if the time between the incident and the disciplinary is too long considering they have said I have committed gross misconduct? Also can you confirm if I should not have had a formal investigation before hand about what I did only and not an informal one a month before about mostly the theft?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How do I find out if it is a valid reason?
Expert:  taratill replied 1 year ago.
Hi yes procedurally you can argue that it is unfair that they have taken this long and if they felt that it meant that you had committed an act of gross misconduct you should at least have been suspended and not allowed to continue in your job. You should have been formally investigated as to the reason for the falsification of the document. If the focus was on the theft you can argue that it is procedurally unfair on the basis that there has not been a investigation into the matter. Unfortunately the only way you can find out is by taking the matter to the Tribunal who will decide on the basis of the evidence presented to it. On the basis of what you have told me I think that it is quite possible that the Tribunal would find in your favour. I cannot guarantee this though as I am not in possession of all of the evidence that the employer would present.
Expert:  taratill replied 1 year ago.
Hello is there anything further you would like to know about this as I note you have not yet rated my answer?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thank you, ***** ***** the changed document as evidence and the minutes from the informal meeting. That is all I have been given and the report of the theft made by security. You have helped, thank you
Expert:  taratill replied 1 year ago.
Hi glad to have helped. I do hope you can sort it out. Please do remember to rate my answer before leaving the site and do come back to me in the future if you need to.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear *****ny,I'm sorry I haven't written to rate you yet. I have been pre occupied in preparing for my disciplinary meeting which I had yesterday.It has been adjourned and I wasn't suspended but am off today anyway.I mentioned when asked how I think the investigation about the whole theft was handled. I could only comment on the time it took with the therapist and how long it took to give me the disciplinary proceedings from when I was questions. I also stated that I wasn't formally investigated. The person heading the disciplinary said “well what are the minutes we have then.” Yes I signed the written minutes but was still told it was informal. Could this be classed as formal?
Also I asked how I could have jeopardised a police investigation because as far as I'm aware hotel procedures are not looked at, just evidence. He said to me that you are aware the investigator was a policeman.
He also said to me you are aware that I could have been guilty of purgery. I replied that if I had not owned up and it went to court but I did own up. Can I de disciplined for potentially committing a gross misconduct? Ye I can see that I was wrong and that if I had not owned up it could have had far worse repercussions but at the end of the day I did. I feel I should only be disciplined for the act I actually did do which was fabricating a procedure.
I also still feel that they are using the words from a report made by the man originally investigation. I have read that he should could to no conclusions or report of the incident and that was for the disciplinary people to do. Is this allowed?
I am happy to take full responsibility for my actions but feel this being dealt with in an incorrect manner.
They didn't ask if I had anything further to d=say but did ask If I had any questions and then I left the meeting with the minute taker who I also work with who said they dismissed the meeting without asking me to sign the minutes. I am still waiting for them to be sent to me.
They were also asking if I think it was right for the therapist to come into work on the day, what has that got to do with what they are disciplining me on?Thank you for your help in advance.Natalie
Expert:  taratill replied 1 year ago.
Hi Natalie, If you were not told you were being formally investigated you can argue there was no formal investigation.
The rest of the answer remains the same as before. They should not scapegoat you as a result of the theft. They should stick to the points of the case which is the fabrication of the policy.
I would be grateful if you would now rate my answer as I am not otherwise credited for the time I am spending helping you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok but can they discipline for potential acts? Just to be clear you are saying that they can only do it on the fabrication, not on what could have been?
Expert:  taratill replied 1 year ago.
I'm saying they can't scapegoat you. You can be dismissed if you could potentially have brought the business into disrepute. However this is not the case on the basis of what you say. The argument that you could have committed an act of perjury is not the same as you could have done something publically to bring the employer to disrepute. Ultimately I cannot, as I said earlier tell you how an Employment Tribunal will view things as I do not have access to the evidence. Your argument should be that you are sorry you did this but you felt you had no alternative under the circumstance. Please remember to rate my answer. I will be happy to answer follow on questions once the answer is rated. Many thanks.
taratill, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6305
Experience: 15 years experience of advising on employment law matters
taratill and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks

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