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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Today I have been suspended from work regarding my conduct

Resolved Question:

Today I have been suspended from work regarding my conduct at work. I am a gas engineer with a company that has several contracts with social housing / councils. The council has CCTV footage to my employer showing me urinating within the confines of one of the council properties. I have admitted to it prior to Seeing the CCTV footage. How ever my employer has made it clear that I should expect the woarst case senario of being sacked for gross miss conduct but this part was not put in writing. Also it was explained to me that I should consider resigning to avoid getting a bad record, also not put in writing. A notice of suspension was issued to me. My employer is in this process of handing back the contract as they were not successful in their bid to retain the contract. All existing employees such as myself are to be TUPE to new employers as from 1st April . I just need some advice as to what are my rights in this situation?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Customer: 6 years
Customer: Hello
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Hi, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. What is happening here is that the employer is planning on taking disciplinary action against you on grounds of misconduct, potentially for bringing the company into disrepute because you had urinated on a client’s premises.

As far as the law stands, misconduct 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:
• Conducts a reasonable investigation;
• Follows a fair disciplinary procedure;
• Has reasonable grounds for believing the employee was guilty; and
• Show that dismissal was a decision that a reasonable employer would have taken in the circumstances.

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 dismiss. When deciding on whether dismissal is appropriate, the employer should consider the nature and seriousness of the offence and the employee's length of service and disciplinary record. They also need to act with a degree of consistency if other employees have previously been disciplined over similar issues. 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 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. 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 and feel free to bookmark my profile for future help:


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