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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48736
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am a crime scene investigator in N Ireland and also run a

Resolved Question:

I am a crime scene investigator in N Ireland and also run a CSI party business for kids in my spare time.
On 20th August this year the head of CSI called me to a meeting with 2 hours notice and didn't tell me what it was about or that I could have a colleague in with me.
My line manager and head of department closed the door and proceeded to show me pages from my personal business website and Facebook he had typed and indicated items which he felt I had taken from work to use for the parties.
I said I had receipts but after I wrote a letter saying I wouldn't produce receipts until I knew what they were accusing me of.
When I returned from holiday I got a e mail from Head of Dept saying sorry I felt that way about the meeting, the next morning I received a letter from HR saying I was being accused of misuse of police property for personal use.
I went to the doctor for stress and they found a lump on my neck which expanded to golf ball size and possibly stress related.
A grueling 2 week investigation proved I was innocent. HR said it was anonymous but my boss was still pointing out items to them to investigate.
Have I a case? Do I have to go back to that environment do I have a right to be transferred.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 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:

17years

Ben Jones :

What are you hoping to achieve in this situation?

Customer:

Well I suppose I would like them to see how much this has affected me and I am not sure I can go back to a workplace that is so ready to accuse me of theft from photos on a website -no inventory or stores information was looked at before this meeting

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

If you do not believe that you can return to the workplace you really have a couple of options. One, as you have mentioned, is to ask for a transfer but that is a decision only the employer can take. You cannot demand to be moved and it would depend on what other opportunities are available at the time. You have nothing to lose by asking them to be moved but they make the final decision as to whether that happens.

If you cannot be moved elsewhere and cannot return to work there you will have to consider resigning. Then the option of making a claim for constructive dismissal exists but this is a difficult claim and I am not sure you have enough to claim here. Yes, you were accused of acting inappropriately and using company property but this was not taken to a formal disciplinary, you were not issued with any penalty and this only went as far as an investigation. It is never nice to be accused of something and it will be a stressful time but this is nothing new in employment – an employer believes an employee has done something, they will then advise them that they are accused of it and begin an investigation to determine if there is any truth in this and gather evidence. During all that time the employee is innocent. If the investigation provides enough evidence to take this further you would have been taken through a formal disciplinary, but it never went that far so you were never formally accused or disciplined and as such the employer has not legally done anything wrong by just investigating this and then dropping it when no further evidence was found.

This is the legal position even if morally you may feel it was worse than it was but the legal and moral aspects of employment matters are quite different and the courts will only have to look at the legal issues, even if personally they may have had a greater effect on someone.

Also just to say you can raise a formal grievance at any time – this is an internal complaint to bring these issues to the employer’s attention and ask them to investigate – it is all done internally and not a legal process but it gives you the opportunity to have this looked at by independent people at work, someone who has not been involved in this.

Customer:

Thanks Ben

Customer:

Disappointing but I can see the legal angle Thanks

Ben Jones :

you are welcome

Customer:

Am trying to rate but says we are still in chat?

Ben Jones :

Apologies for that, there is a bug in the system which we sometimes get and it prevents you from posting your rating. Instead, you can just type your selection on here (e.g. OK, Good, Excellent) then we will process it manually later. Thank you

Customer:

no prob -Excellent

Ben Jones :

noted, many thanks and all the best

Customer:

ta

Ben Jones :

.

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