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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47863
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been suspended on full pay by my employer with a possible

Resolved Question:

I have been suspended on full pay by my employer with a possible gross misconduct charge in the offing due to my booking excess working hours over and above those actually worked
i have workrd for the same company for 26 years an my working career spans 46 i am 62 in August and am desperaye to keep my job as i am not yet set up for retirement and of course i am desperately sorry for what has transpired in an otherwise unblemished service record with the company.
Could you please advise me how I stand as the displinary hearing is soon and the situation is driving me crazy!!!
many thanks.....PD
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. Do you admit the allegations against you?
Customer:

Sorry about the delay yes i am afraid the answer to that is yes.

Ben Jones :

Was this done deliberately or by accident?

Customer:

it was done out of a habit caused by my previous workin hours ie i continued booking the same hours after tey had been reduced so yes it was intentional but without malice as i love my job.

Ben Jones :

ok thanks let me get my response ready please

Customer:

thanks ok i am awaiting your response Ben

Ben Jones :

Misconduct, such as the allegations in this 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. You said that your union rep may not be able to make the proposed hearing date but you have the right to ask for a postponement if that is the case. Also whilst you cannot contact anyone at work, if you have someone in mind you wish to approach to act as your companion you can ask for the employer’s permission to talk to them about that or ask the employer to contact them directly on your behalf to ask them.


 


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. You are best advised to be fully remorseful about what happened, explain the reasons for your actions and hope that they are accepted.


 


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 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 and the claim must be made within 3 months of the date of dismissal.


 

Customer:

many thanks for the information can you confirm that both a union and a works colleague can be present at the hearing?

Ben Jones :

You are entitled to a single companion so it would be one or the other

Customer:

thank you once again Ben

Ben Jones :

you re most welcome, all the best

Customer:

hello ben its me again - can you advise in your experience the possible consequences if the allegations against me are proven and what impact it might have regarding pension rights etc if you are able to.

Ben Jones :

Hi do you mind rating the initial advice above first please, I can then always answer any follow up queries you may have, thank you

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