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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46792
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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2 weeks ago i was given a task of work to do. iwas nearing

Resolved Question:

2 weeks ago i was given a task of work to do. iwas nearing the end of the task when i was 'stuck'. i then asked one of my co-workers how to deal with it. she then came over and while she was telling me how to deal with it another co-worker interrupted with the most aggressive manner towards the one who was helping me. i didn't interrupt. the one who was helping me just said 'leave it until monday' to this i agreed and she went back to her desk. in the meantime the other person started to be aggresive towards me. i then shouted back at her and told her not to talk to me in that manner and just to forget that i had asked any questions. at this point the 'boss' came up the stairs and asked what all the shouting was about and i said that it was me and my co-worker to which he answered that it was me that he heard. i then responded and said that if anyone was shouting and being aggresive to me then i would do the same back. my co-worker then responded to this remark by me and the boss said to her 'that's enough' to which she still continued to argue back. he then told us to go down to his office. to this i answered no. (as it was my co-worker who was arguing with him and not me). he then asked me twice more and added that i was subject to 'disciplinary action' if i refused . he said this in front of the whole of the section, i did refuse. he went down the stairs with the other person. i then received a 'phone call from the human resources person to go down and see her. she advised that if i don't go to the manager's office this is called insubordination on my part. on this advice i did go into his office and he sent the other worker upstairs. he said he was angry and that he was the boss and when he said for me to go to his office i should have gone. he then added that he would refrain in giving me a verbal warning if i would go back upstairs and apologize to him in front all my co-workers and then apologize to them as well for shouting. to this i refused to do as explained to him that the events leading up to me shouting was justified and that i would only apologize to him. then i added that he was just to give me a 'verbal warning' and i would take the matter to the union. he then got up and asked me to go up the stairs with him and he would not asked me to apologize to him in front of my co-workers to aplologize to them.

could you please let me know where i stand on this matter

regards

jennifer mccartney
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? I will respond in the morning if that is ok?
Customer:

i have worked there 18 years. yes it's ok to respond in the morning - round about 11am

Customer:

good morning ben

Customer:

hi ben

Ben Jones :

OK, thank you, XXXXX XXXXX this with me - I will look into this for you, get my response ready and get back to you on here. No need to wait around and you will get an email when I have responded, thank you


Customer:

ok

Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience and sorry for the slight delay, we missed each other this morning. Whilst I understand that you were inadvertently involved in this unfortunate situation, your boss would only be able to go on what he witnesses and if he saw you shouting without having seen the lead up to this, then he could easily assume that you were initially involved and that you have something to answer for. Even if you were innocent, you should have gone to see him in his office to clear things up and to explain what actually had happened. You should not have seen this as a penalty in any way and it would have just been a chat to clear the air. Of course all of this is easily said with the benefit of hindsight and now you must deal with the situation as it stands.


 


From a legal point of view a verbal warning is not an official warning as such and should not go on your record or be counted against you in any way. It is an unofficial warning where you are warned about your conduct or other issues in the workplace and the employer simply expects you to use it to ensure there are no repeats of what has happened. If there were further issues then they could have proceeded with a formal disciplinary where you are asked to attend a formal hearing and could be issued with a written warning, final warning or even be dismissed. However, this never went that far and the most important thing to ensure is that the verbal warning does not form part of your disciplinary/personnel file because if it did the employer should have taken you through a formal disciplinary procedure. This would have involved an investigation, a disciplinary hearing and the chance to appeal. However, for an unofficial verbal warning this is not needed, as long as it does not become an official part of your record.


 


You cannot be forced to apologise in front of others for what you did so the employer cannot issue a warning for that, but they can issue one for your conduct as it appeared at the time and the fact you refused to cooperate with them in this respect and explain what actually happened.


 


In terms of what you can do next, check to see if you will be allowed to appeal. If necessary, you can also consider raising a grievance, which is a formal complaint raised with the employer. After that, we are getting into more risky territory as you are next looking at resigning and claiming constructive dismissal but in the circumstances that would be a disproportionate step to take so try to resolve it without having to go that far.

Customer:

hi ben

Customer:

just read your reply and i think some things are not quite as simple as i have made out. when the boss came up the stairs he did ask what was all the shouting about. to which i replied in the question to you. he also said keep it down - no mention of going down to his office at that point. it was only when my co-worker continued to argue with him - he doesn't like confrontation in front of the section - i must admit who does? by the time he said 'come down to my office' i was in the middle of the rest of my workload. i didn't really know what was happening and was wondering why i had to go to his office as well. this is why i said no because i was not arguing with him. i just kept on thinking that this is an injustice. please note that this worker has been arrogant and aggressive to all the section and has been in the boss's office quite a lot. the boss always says that he will deal with it . it looks as though he hasn't. she has been with the firm for 12 years and i trained her. does this in anyway make a difference to your first answer?

Ben Jones :

Not really, in the circumstances this would be a somewhat trivial issue, because regardless of what happened, it would be a reasonable instruction to go and see your boss in their office. This was not a formal disciplinary so you could not have argued that there was no formal notice, or lack of a formal procedure.

Customer:

ok ben thank you

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome

Customer:

i will rate you now

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46792
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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