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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47388
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have just been suspended from work on suspected theft allegedly

Resolved Question:

I have just been suspended from work on suspected theft allegedly more than once I.e gross misconduct. I have not done what I'm being accused of in the slightest yet stand to loose my job. The accusations come from a couple of colleagues whose facts are wrong. They have no evidence of me pocketing the money just these people's statements. At the same time they cant prove I've done it I cant really disprove other than no I'm telling the truth. Where do stand? Please help.
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:

20 years

Ben Jones :

Have you been told you are facing a formal disciplinary?

Customer:

Yes Ben I have.

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Customer:

Thank you

Ben Jones :

Misconduct, such as the alleged theft in your case, is a common reason for taking disciplinary action against an employee. It could be due either to a single serious act of misconduct or a series of less serious acts over a period of time.


 


In order to justify that disciplinary action on grounds of misconduct was fair, the law requires that the employer:



  • Conducts a reasonable investigation;

  • Follows a fair disciplinary procedure; and

  • Shows they had reasonable grounds to believe the employee was guilty.


 


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 formally sanction them. When deciding on the appropriate penalty, the employer should consider the nature and seriousness of the offence and the employee's disciplinary record. 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. For someone with 20 years’ service, the employer must be extremely careful on taking a serious decision, such as dismissal, based only on one person’s word against another’s so in the absence of clear evidence a dismissal would likely be an unreasonable outcome.


 


If there are any doubts about any of the above and there is belief or evidence that the employer has not satisfied these requirements, an appeal can be submitted to the employer immediately after the disciplinary outcome. If the disciplinary results in dismissal then a claim for unfair dismissal can be made in the employment tribunal. There are two requirements to claim: the employee must have at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer, which you have, and the claim must be made within 3 months of the date of dismissal.

Customer:

Thank you for your detailed response where do I stand as its a case of my word against 3 others?? And I'm pretty consigned to loosing my job and more worryingly a criminal record for something I have not done how is that fair?

Ben Jones :

Well it all depends on the employer's investigation as mentioned above, all you can do is challenge the allegations and stick to your story, the employer makes the decision in the end but it can be challenged as mentioned if you believe it was not fair. You won't get a criminal record unless the police are involved and you are formally convicted

Customer:

Thanks Ben. They have said that if I am dismissed they will involve the police which is ridiculous as it is only these statements at that were presented at the investigation. It is such a worry and totally unfair

Ben Jones :

Yes I agree, unfortunately there is nothing stopping them from involving the police, but at least you know that the police operate under much stricter rules than employment law does so you know that before you are convicted or they even take this any further they would require much more evidence that what the employer could use

Customer:

Ok Ben thank you, XXXXX XXXXX your time and you have certainly helped.

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome and all the best

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