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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46798
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am going through a suspension due to abusive language i used

Resolved Question:

I am going through a suspension due to abusive language i used on three emails i sent at approx 1am on a work night.

They have called me in for a investigation meeting as they want my side of proceeding.

I have been told this isnt a disciplinary hearing but to get the facts from me. I have been told i can bring along a colleague or trade union rep.

What are my options in this meeting? What could potentially happen?
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. How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

I have worked there for 6 years

Customer:

I have never done anything like this before and it is totally out of character

Customer:

I sent three 3 emails one of which was directed at my boss and wasnt abusive but questioned some how he spent his time

Customer:

two further were directed at colleagues of mine which used abusive language about my said boss. they took offence to this.

Ben Jones :

An investigatory is just that - it allows the employer to ask you questions about what happened and gather evidence which they can then use to decide what, if any, further action to take. It does not mean you are guilty of anything yet and they also cannot take any formal action against you. What usually happens is that they will hold this meeting with you and conduct whatever other investigations they may have to, then they would consider all the evidence and decide whether this is something that they need to formally discipline you over, or they would take no further action.

Customer:

Is something like this a sackable offence

Customer:

I was very drunk when i sent it and i apoligised straight away in the morning when i realised the awful misatke i'd made

Ben Jones :

using abusive language could be a serious issue but it would depend on other factors as well - what prompted it, whether your record to date is clean, how long you have been there for and so on. Obviously being drunk is not an excuse but can be used as a mitigating factor

Customer:

I do actually have a good working relationship with all three ppl but it was a very ill judged set of emails.

Customer:

I've worked there for 6 years but 2.5 years i did have a poor performance rating for the prior year but i rectified this.

Customer:

Since then i have been very proactive and tried to take on more work.

Ben Jones :

if you show remorse, apologise and point them to your long clean record, together with the circumstances surrounding the emails you sent, such as your state of mind and being under the influence, then all of these are factors they should take into account. The poor performance rating should not affect you now, especially as it is not a misconduct issue, rather a performance one

Customer:

Qu:
I have the investigation meeting on Monday, should i talk about how much pressure i've been under recently.
Along with the items you said above I also will be moving flats this wkd, I have a wedding to orgainse for next year and two new direct employees who have started under me in the last three weeks.

Ben Jones :

this is all probably more relevant to a disciplinary hearing where you have to defend yourself, rather than an investigatory meeting where you will be asked to answer questions by the employer

Customer:

but should i not mention that i have been under a lot of pressure and this may have lead me to be in that state of mind as well as the alcohol?

Ben Jones :

yes you can do, there is no harm in mentioning any of that

Customer:

In you eyes which way to you think would go?

Ben Jones :

if my name was Mystic Meg I would gladly give you a prediction but sadly I have no idea, it depends on the employer really, what they find, how they believe they should deal with this and so on

Customer:

I do work closely with all three indvidiuals and we havent had any issues before

Customer:

but then if i have offended them so much, it really may be that which sways the compay's decision

Ben Jones :

it is not just about that, this is just part of the issue

Customer:

as you said i need to show the remorse and apoligise

Customer:

it really was poor judgement on my part and i need to make them aware that its not something that is the norm for me.

Ben Jones :

yes that is always advisable

Customer:

Another thing:

Customer:

I have been also looking for other work, this role i'm in is for maternity cover andi dont wish to return to my old role

Customer:

Would it be advisable if it looks like this situation is going down the path of disciplinary for me to hand in my notice?

Ben Jones :

that is a personal decision but you would still be expected to work through your notice period and in the meantime the employer could still take disciplinary action against you if necessary

Customer:

right ok, but if i do that before they bring up a case of gross misconduct (which is whatthe HR Director told this could be) and a case of instant dismissal would me handing in notice mean i have a month notice

Customer:

and superceed what they are trying to do?

Ben Jones :

well whatever is in your contract you would have to serve, if that is a month then that is what it is. However, in that month you can still be dismissed for gross miscinduct if it comes to it

Customer:

right got you

Customer:

so it really doesnt make a difference

Customer:

I think my last qu

Customer:

is it worth me taking a colleague or union rep?

Ben Jones :

you have nothing to lose, it is always good for support or if they can takes notes on your behalf

Customer:

someone impartial

Ben Jones :

it can only be a colleague or trade union rep

Customer:

yep ok

Customer:

alright thank you today, not sure if youve really got me what i was looking for but i feel i did want a mystic meg.

Customer:

you have clarified a lot, and its much appreciated

Ben Jones :

:) you are most welcome, hope it goes well

Customer:

thanks

Ben Jones :

.

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46798
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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