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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46225
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have worked for 10 years in a small residential home for

Resolved Question:

I have worked for 10 years in a small residential home for adults with learning disabilities. I have just been suspended while investigations (internal) are carried out concerning small amounts of money missing from a residents purse, I have been working a lot of overtime since April and I was told that everytime money was found to be missing I was on shift which made me the obvious target, I believe a pound once or twice a week has gone missing since April 19th, naturally I am devastated at the inference although work are stressing they are not accusing, just investigating. I am a qualified social worker and know there is an undercurrent of untrained staff who have made life difficult for me in the last year. I am not convinced their investigations will be thorough or objective and fear I have been set up. Although the majority of the staff have integrity they tend not to speak up even when they feel management is wrong. I am fearful for my future, thankyou
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. can you tell me if there is CCTV on the preemies and when are you due to be called back in please

Customer:

There is no CCTV, I am told they need to speak with other staff and it is hoped they will phone me at weekend to say whether it will go to a disciplinary. They claim they have checked the residents purse in the evening and again the following morning and their are discrepancies, my argument is I am not the only one on shift,there are residents with alzeimers that wander into rooms, the resident concerned regularly looks in her purse when sitting at the table, and her bag, also, at this moment in time I don't know what time it has been checked by senior staff but there are other staff around, they alledged their was a pattern and the times money was missing other staff were on different days, one staff member particularly I work with is not to be trusted, thankyou

Ben Jones :

Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.

Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience. The first thing to note is that being placed on suspension is not an automatic assumption of guilt and does not amount to disciplinary action. It is there to be used as a precautionary measure whilst an employer investigates any allegations against the employee. Reasons for suspending could be in the case of gross misconduct, breakdown of relationship, risk to an employer's property, their clients or other employees, to preserve evidence or ensure it is not tampered with, avoid potential witnesses being pressured or intimidated, etc.


 


During the period of suspension the employer should conduct a reasonable investigation into the allegations against the employee. If the investigation gathers enough evidence to justify the taking disciplinary action that could be the next step. In that case the employee has the right to be informed in advance of the allegations against them and be given the opportunity to prepare for the hearing.


 


On the other hand, if the investigation does not find enough evidence to justify a disciplinary, the employer should terminate the suspension immediately and allow the employee to return to work as normal.


 


If the employer was going to take the matter further, then 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.


 


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.


 


Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer:

My apologies for the delay in replying, I fell asleep. I already knew the above information as a copy of procedures was given to me. My concern is it is a private home and I have witnessed falsifying of records before a CQC inspection, (I do have a witness) this same person is one of the people checking residents purse. To me, it seems appalling that an internal investigation could be the only source of enquiry, and cannot be objective. thankyou

Ben Jones :

Good morning, the issues here are separate unfortunately – what you have been accused of and what action the employer may take in relation to the apparent missing money is not directly linked to the issues that you have witnessed in terms of previous matters being investigated by the company or the falsifying of records. Just because the company may not have acted correctly in other respects does not automatically mean that you will also not be treated fairly in your investigation. The law does not allow you to challenge the internal; investigation about your allegations externally at this stage and this can only happen if a formal decision has been taken against you which results in dismissal, when you can consider the unfair dismissal route, or if you resign before that and you make a claim for constructive dismissal. In those cases the tribunal will still only be concerned with the way your specific situation was dealt with and not with how the employer has conducted its business in other circumstances that are not directly relevant to the allegations against you.


 


Hope this answers your follow up query?

Customer:

thankyou

Ben Jones :

you are welcome

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46225
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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