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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
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I am facing a possible disciplinary hearing on the grounds

Resolved Question:

I am facing a possible disciplinary hearing on the grounds that i called a service user at the day-centre where i work an 'Arsehole'.
The service user was upsetting another service user, & the words actually used by me was to whisper in the the service user's ear to 'Stop acting like an arsehole'.
In a legal context, do these two statements mean the same thing?.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer,

From an employment law point of view calling someone an arsehole and saying stop acting like an arsehole would probably not make much difference. If the employer has a clear policy on acceptable language that may be used in the workplace both statement could result in disciplinary action being taken.

You should make the point that you were not directly calling him an arsehole and that you were trying to point out that his conduct was not appropraite, albeit not using the most polite language. I would suggest that you apologise and appeal to the employers leniency.

In addition whether it is appropriate for the employer to discipline you for this might depend on the culture of your workplace. If bad language is common place and others have done similar and not been disciplined then it might not be appropriate for you to be disciplined.

I would be grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating. I will be happy to answer your follow on questions.
Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6305
Experience: Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
Jenny and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  joannem1965 replied 3 years ago.
Hi there in addition to the above your employer's also going to be considering what damage your actions may've done to the business reputation - you did after all use inappropriate language with a service user and not a colleague and that could've affected the employers reputation. Was the service user vulnerable? That could also be relevant. When it comes to the possible outcome of the disciplinary you've got to take into account your length of service - have you less than a year? If you do the employer's able to dismiss you relatively easily even for this incident - you won't be able to appeal the dismissal in this case. Over a year - you're able to challenge it, most likely by claiming the outcome was disproportionate to the offence. Good luck and let me know if you need more advice.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Is this grounds for dismissal?. The service user is 66yrs old with a physical dissibility, suffers from depression, so would probably be classed as vulnerable. He has stated he does not want an apology, reason unknown.


I have worked at the day-centre for nearly 5yrs, with no previous complaints.

Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
Yes potentially this could be classed as gross misconduct and you could be dismissed. Whether it is reasonable for the employer to treat it as gross misconduct will depend on the employers policy on this and whether this sort of conduct has been condoned on the past, as I suggested in my original answer I would appeal to your employers leniency apologise to them and say you will not do it again.

Please rember to give my answer positive feedback. I will be happy to answer your follow on questions.
Expert:  joannem1965 replied 3 years ago.
Hi there what's your disciplinary record been like so far have you got any warnings or reprimands in this job?
Expert:  Jenny replied 3 years ago.
I'm afraid that your previous disciplinary record would not make a difference to whether it would amount to gross misconduct or not.

If you have an unblemished record then you could argue this in mitigation but in a care environment using bad language towards clients is likely to be an issue which would give the employer the right to dismiss.

As I have stated before the best you can do is apologise for your actions and say you will not do it again.

I would be grateful if you would give positve feedback I will be happy to answer your follow on questions.

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