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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2847
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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I am currently off work on the sick with stress, as I have

Customer Question

I am currently off work on the sick with stress, as I have lost my Father within a week of having a stroke, had a miscarriage and lost my best friend whos funeral was yesterday after a 5 year battle with a brain tumor.
A person that I sold a top to on EBay for £1.20 and charged postage to of £2.80 complained directly about me to my employer (a large University) and I have been send a letter to say that even though I am on sick leave - I have to attend an investigation meeting under the university policy of Theft, Fraud and Corruption for abusing the University postal system. I am gutted and totally devastated and this just adds to the stress and its unbearable currently.
I had miscarried and only took a few days off as I do love my job and I am a good worker. When my friends wife called me to tell me that my best friend Jai was no longer getting his treatment as the tumours had grown I cried in work and was devastated totally. Dad then had his stroke nearly two weeks after this and never regained consciousness and died the following Saturday.
Can you please help me, can the EBay buyer contact me place of work, even though I have obviously made a mistake and put the wrong package in the wrong post. And can my employer send me this letter of saying that I am up on this charge when I am obviously devastated with the loss that I have suffered recently?
Your help and advice would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,
Julie
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Alex Hughes : My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today. I need to ask you some preliminary questions to be able to help you.
Alex Hughes : How long have you been employed? Was this use of their post a one-off incident?
Customer:

Alex hi,

Customer:

I have worked at the University for 5 years this August. And no I did get a warning which was on my record for a year, and that was four years ago - hence the fact that this was a mistake as I would have in no way abused the system as I was that embarrassed the last time it happened

Alex Hughes :

And this was a £2.40 postal packet?

Customer:

I am just really devastated a person from EBay took it upon themselves to contact my employer and for my employer to send me the letter that I am being investigated while I am currently on leave because of my grief and stress

Customer:

Yes it was £2.40 the top she won on EBay was £1.20

Alex Hughes :

I'm still at a loss to understand why ebay contact your employer. Do you know why they did that?

Customer:

Alex to be honest I am not sure what the University postal charge was on the franking as I didnt see it - I had charged the EBay buyer £2.40 as I posted other letters that day in the post office up the road, I have put the wrong package in the internal University email and take the other post (including University letters) to the post office

Customer:

The EBay buyer had emailed me, but because my Father was ill in hospital - I emailed her back and told her I had more important things to worry about and to get a life! My Dad was taken into hospital on Friday morning and died the following Saturday 14th June - so I missed her emails and then she emailed me again to say that she had contacted the University and they werent happy with me - I didnt reply as I was devastated at my Dads death and how it happend

Customer:

I did say in my first email to the EBayer that a close family member was seriously ill

Alex Hughes :

No worries. Your employer has to investigate this in a fair way and give you an opportunity to explain the situation including your personal difficulties. Any action they take must be proportionate to the allegation. I expect, given your good character to date and your personal issues, that either they will give you a verbal or written warning. I think it highly unlikely that a dismissal will follow. But there is nothing in wrong in law with Ebay contacting your employer from whom the packet was sent (they would have a defence to disclosure under s.35 Data Protection Act anyway) and there is nothing wrong with your employer wanting to investigate this (for all they know it could have happened more than once).

Customer:

Im just amazed that they could contact me while I was off work and not have waited till I was back to work rather than putting this amount of pressure on me while I am off on the sick through the terrible loss I have suffered? And I just dont understand human nature, I have no idea why someone would be so cruel as I would have refunded the postal money to her if I had been in the right frame of mind when I receive her initial email and not sitting by my Fathers bed in hospital

Customer:

No problem thanks for coming back to me

Alex Hughes :

Yes. I agree it does appear very insensitive for the amount of money involved. If you wish you can raise a grievance with your employer about that. They really should have been more sensitive and their actions of contacting you in the circumstances you've mentioned could potentially amount to harassment.

Customer:

Thank you Alex

Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2847
Experience: Partner in national law firm
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