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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44381
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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A friend works for an oil company delivering to houses while

Customer Question

A friend works for an oil company delivering to houses while delivering to a house he split oil on the flowers in the garden. he got stuff to clean it but when he arrived back to clean it up the man told him to piss off ill call someone that knows what they are doing.
the man then called the fire brigade, the town council and the oil company.
when my friend arrived at work they dismissed him called him a liability.
I am very upset and angry with the treatment he got. is this fair and where does he stand now??
thanks you
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please let me know how long your friend worked for the company

JACUSTOMER-abd1n23s- :

less then 2 years

Ben Jones :

Apologies for the slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues earlier. When did the dismissal occur?

JACUSTOMER-abd1n23s- : Just yesterday he is a hard working man with years of experience
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
It appears that the dismissal was for misconduct, which is a common reason for taking disciplinary action and it is also a potentially fair reason for dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996. It could be a single act of serious misconduct or a series of less serious acts over a period of time.

In order to justify that dismissal on grounds of misconduct was fair, the law requires that the employer:
• Carries out a reasonable investigation;
• Follows a fair disciplinary procedure;
• Has reasonable grounds for believing the employee was guilty; and
• Show that dismissal was a reasonable decision that a reasonable employer would have taken in the circumstances.

I will deal with these requirements in more detail:

1. Investigation - what is a reasonable investigation depends on the case and what resources are available to the employer. However, an employer is only expected to go as far as is reasonably practicable in the circumstances and they would not be expected to conduct a forensically detailed investigation.

2. Disciplinary hearing - if the investigation produces evidence that misconduct may have occurred then the employee should be invited to attend a formal disciplinary hearing. They must be given prior notice of the hearing, including details of the allegations and any evidence to be used against them. They have the statutory right to be accompanied at the hearing but only by a trade union representative or a colleague. At the disciplinary hearing the employee must be given the opportunity to defend the allegations.

3. Decision - if, as a result of the investigation and the disciplinary hearing, the employer holds a genuine belief that the employee was guilty, they can go ahead and dismiss. When deciding on whether to dismiss, the employer should consider the employee's length of service and disciplinary record. Therefore, longer service and a clean disciplinary record should result in the employer giving more thought into deciding what action to take.

4. Penalty - unless the offence in question amounts to gross misconduct (i.e. something so serious to justify instant dismissal), the ACAS Code of Practice recommends that the employee should be issued with a warning first. If any further misconduct occurs in the future, only then should dismissal be considered.

In summary, an employer is not expected to prove that the alleged misconduct had definitely occurred. A dismissal can be fair if the employer can meet the above requirements.

If there are any doubts or evidence that the above requirements have not been satisfied, an appeal can be submitted to the employer straight after the disciplinary outcome is communicated. If the appeal is rejected a claim for unfair dismissal can be made in the employment tribunal. The time limit to claim is 3 months from the date of dismissal and the claimant needs to have at least 2 years' continuous service with that employer.

I hope this has answered your query and would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating. Your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you

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