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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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I wrote a comment on a Get Well card following a Muslim locum

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I wrote a comment on a Get Well card following a Muslim locum taking me to one side and expressing concern about the sick colleagues work load. 'Look after yourself You are something else our Muslim locums look at your list and cross themselves' It was not intended to be offensive to Muslim colleagues but hyperbole about just how awful the caseload was. I bought the card wrote the comment on it and invited others to sign (9 did) then the manager confiscated the card and I was suspended for gross misconduct. No one complained or was offended but the manager claims they could have been so I am being accused of racial, sexual or other harassment and bringing the practice into disrepute. I had previously raised concerns over patient safety, clinician's workload and the level of stress with some colleagues burnt out. Firstly does the organisation own the card and have the right to confiscate it and can I potentially harass Muslim colleagues by using the word Muslim as the pivotal word in hyperbole based on the reality of a Muslim doc raising concerns with me about this poor guys workload
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

5 years

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Er I haven't had my answer and when I repeat the question like some bizarre genie you just rattle up another sum of money for me to pay. How much do I have to pay to find out when my original question will be answered?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied, which is why I have been unable to reply as of yet. Also there is no need to pay anything else, I can see your replies and we can continue discussing your situation on here.
I am surprised that the employer has taken this matter so seriously and that you have been suspended for such a long time. Just because you have used the word Muslim does not mean you are racist or guilty of harassment. Of course it would depend on the circumstances of how it was used and the context but in this case you were simply conveying a fact which had occurred earlier and did not make any derogatory remarks when you used that term. So to accuse you of gross misconduct in the circumstances is rather unreasonable.
There could well be ulterior motives for the employer’s actions – it could be that they are just using this as a reason to deal with you in relation to the concerns you had previously raised. This is not unheard of and it can happen. If you had made qualifying protected disclosures (i.e. blown the whistle) then any detrimental treatment as a result of that would be unfair and unlawful. So they cannot just use another reason to discipline you or sack you and even though there could be circumstances where that can be justifiable, if you had genuinely been guilty of misconduct, I would say they are taking things too far in this case.
As to dealing with this you really have a couple of options – you may continue dealing with this and see where the employer takes it, appealing any outcome and claiming unfair dismissal and detrimental treatment for protected disclosures if you are dismissed. Instead you could resign now and claim constructive dismissal but that is generally a harder claim to prove so would not suggest it unless you really believed you could not continue working there.
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.

Thank you Ben, Can I clarify the point made about the card not being from the organisation and one personally purchased. Is there any mileage to be made from that argument either at the disciplinary or later?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi I am afraid that is a non-issue, it is irrelevant where the card was from, what matters is what was in it and the fact it was done in a work environment, i.e. given to a colleague. Therefore who bought it, whose property it may legally be etc is really not relevant. It would have made no difference to the situaiton whether it was bought by you, your employer or anyone else for that matter. Hope this clarifies things a bit more for you?
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46184
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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