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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Got pulled whilst on mobile phone by unmarked police

Customer Question

Got pulled for driving whilst on mobile phone by unmarked police car in Sept 14.A man not in uniform also got out police car with a camera and appeared to be filming.I received a ticket and jokingly said is this going to be on tv and police said might be.In Feb 15 it was shown on tv in programme called police interceptors.This resulted in a disciplinary meeting on a Wed and I put on record what happened and was put on suspension on full pay and taken home leaving company van at works.I was phoned on the Friday to see if I could get to depot to collect van and work.I said no and was picked up on the Monday by another employee to collect van and worked.I had the formal meeting the Tuesday afternoon and worked the morning.It was decided at this meeting I had brought the company into disrepute as company name was clearly seen on programme.This resulted in instant dismissal being classed as gross misconduct.I have over 8 years with company and no previous warnings only ever given them 100%.I have an appeal on 25 March could you give me some guidance.I feel I would not want to ever go back to them.what about tribunal do you feel I might clear my name.Have not got another job yet and am struggling moneywise.Would appreciate an answer as have done this with 3 other law companies and never received a reply.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Would value your thoughts on how to present myself at appeal as I feel my dismissal was unjust due to camera editing for tv,was not informed officially could be on tv.Thought dismissal too harsh as work record good.How do I stand if goes to ACAS or tribunal.I think I have been treated badly by company.Do you think company over reacted

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Is your question just about the employment issue?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Ok.
I will pass you onto an employment lawyer then.
I think he is off right now but I'm sure he will be back soon.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Was the company's name/logo visible in the footage?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes and easily seen as shown in slow motion a couple of times also on my polo shirt.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
If you were to go to a tribunal then to won it would be a matter of showing that they had no fair reason to dismiss or they had not followed a fair procedure.
What you did is potential misconduct, which is a common reason for taking disciplinary action and it is also a potentially fair reason for dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996. It could be a single act of serious misconduct or a series of less serious acts over a period of time.
In order to justify that dismissal on grounds of misconduct was fair, the law requires that the employer:
• Conducts a reasonable investigation;
• Follows a fair disciplinary procedure;
• Has reasonable grounds for believing the employee was guilty; and
• Show that dismissal was a decision that a reasonable employer would have taken in the circumstances.
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 dismiss. When deciding on whether dismissal is appropriate, the employer should consider the nature and seriousness of the offence and the employee's length of service and disciplinary record. They also need to act with a degree of consistency if other employees have previously been disciplined over similar issues. Unless the offence was one of gross misconduct, ACAS recommends that the employee should be issued with a written warning.
In your case you did place the company into disrepute because your actions gave them a bad name – they were associated with breaking the law due to your speeding and whether there was TV editing or not, the fact of the matter is that you were seeding in a company vehicle and this was seen by thousands of people who would have associated the company’s name with this and their reputation would have been negatively affected. So a dismissal could occur even in these circumstances.
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 or evidence that the above requirements have not been satisfied, an appeal can be submitted to the employer straight after the disciplinary outcome is communicated. If the appeal is rejected a claim for unfair dismissal can be made in the employment tribunal. The time limit to claim is 3 months from the date of dismissal and the claimant needs to have at least 2 years' continuous service with that employer.
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I was not speeding but on the phone while driving actually to my office.I did mention this in first question.Should I have been made aware could be on tv?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi, speeding or on the phone - it is still an offence regardless. As you are in a public place there is no general right to privacy so if you had any concerns at the time you should have asked for privacy measures to be taken, if at all possible, such as blurring out of your face or the logo. An interesting article that should explain your position in this respect can be found here:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/dec/16/police-questioning-tv-privacy
If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45306
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Surely then police should make you aware of why you are being filmed and that it is for a police programme then I could request company name be blurred.For all I know camera man could be filming for training video or such as he was not in any type of uniform

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
It is not the responsibility of the police to advise you of that - the police are not the ones doing the filming and it is not their responsibility, they are only there to do their job of enforcing the laws in terms of driving offences. This is really down to the TV crew and whilst you can take the matter up with them, getting any compensation would be quite difficult and you cannot force anyone to give you your job back even if they did anything wrong.

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