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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 have been suspended pending a disciplinary meeting

Resolved Question:

I have been suspended pending a disciplinary meeting for gross misconduct; specifically that:
• Client Request that I am removed from site due to untenable attendance
• Numerous Team Management issues (I don't know what these are yet)
• Poor Communication ( I don't know what this is yet either)
I am a full time permanent employee ( 6 years plus service) and work on-site at for one of my employers key clients.
I think it's worth mentioning that I had just returned to work after a 2 week leave of absence, part paid holiday part parental leave to look after my 2 year old som who is suffering from end-stage renal failure and has started dialysis.
I am not sure what my employment rights are in this instance as redeployment wouldn't be possible because my employer has no other contracts outside of London (I live in Yorkshire).
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, being placed on suspension is not an automatic assumption of guilt and does not amount to disciplinary action. It is there to be used as a precautionary measure whilst an employer investigates any allegations against the employee. Reasons for suspending could be in the case of gross misconduct, breakdown of relationship, risk to an employer's property, their clients or other employees, to preserve evidence or ensure it is not tampered with, avoid potential witnesses being pressured or intimidated, etc. During the period of suspension the employer should conduct a reasonable investigation into the allegations against the employee. If the investigation gathers enough evidence to justify the taking disciplinary action that could be the next step. In that case the employee has the right to be informed in advance of the allegations against them and be given the opportunity to prepare for the hearing.On the other hand, if the investigation does not find enough evidence to justify a disciplinary, the employer should terminate the suspension immediately and allow the employee to return to work as normal. If the employer is potentially looking at dismissal, as this is something they see as gross misconduct, then there are circumstances when an employer may feel forced to move or even dismiss an employee because of pressure from a third party. This pressure may come from a valued customer or from another third party that has a degree of influence over the employer, such as a supplier, the landlord of their premises, etc. Such a dismissal can be deemed fair because it would amount to 'some other substantial reason' (SOSR), which is one of the potentially fair reasons for dismissal allowed under the Employment Rights Act 1996.It is generally accepted that the reason behind the third party's request is irrelevant and there is no requirement on the employer to establish the truth behind the allegations. What really matters is the how important the third party's continued business is to the employer and what risks there are to that relationship if the employer does not act as per the request.For example, in the case of Dobie v Burns International Security Services, Mr Dobie was a security guard working for a contractor who supplied security staff to a Council. Friction developed between a senior Council employee and Mr Dobie, with the Council demanding his removal from their site. His employer eventually dismissed him. He made a claim against his employer, however he lost with the decision being that third party pressure to dismiss can amount to a fair reason for dismissal.Employers must still act reasonably when dismissing, in accordance with established employment principles and would need to undertake some form of investigation and hold a dismissal meeting. They should also consider whether there is any other alternative employment that can be offered to the employee instead of dismissing them because dismissal should only be seen as a last resort. However, in principle, such dismissals can be fair.I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? If your query has been dealt with please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. If you need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for checking satisfaction Ben, that's great service. There are a couple of points that I could do with some clarification on if you would be kind enough; they are things I alluded to earlier but wasn't necessarily explicit about:
I suspect the employer will terminate my employment, with the main reason being "untenable attendance". The reason they view my attendance as being this way is that I have used roughly 10 days of emergency or perennial leave over the past 12 months to care for my disabled son (2 years old) who is suffering from stage 5 kidney failure. I believe i should have some form of protection in this area, especially considering the fact that I have used all my holiday allowance to care for him where necessary, and only used parental leave when this has been exhausted. I receive higher rate disability allowance so it's a genuine disability and to use this as a reason to terminate feel entirely unjust.
The second thing is that the things listed as gross misconduct do not sound like gross misconduct to me. At best they are areas of poor performance. Does a definition of what constitute gross misconduct exist? I have been employed there for over six years without any formal measures or warnings being taken against me and suspect they are trying to clump several things together to make it seem like there is a really serious issue.Thanks BenSteve
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello Steve, whilst I understand why you have had to take the time off work, you would not get automatic protection because of it. Had you been disabled then you would have been entitled to take time off work for treatment or attending medical appointments. However, that does not cover people you care for, even if they have a disability. The law entitles you to take reasonable unpaid time off to look after dependants, however that only covers emergency situations, not something which you knew about, like going to a pre-arranged hospital appointment.
In terms of gross misconduct, there is no specific definition but it must be something serious enough to justify instant dismissal. So we are looking at things like theft, dishonesty, violence, insubordination, etc. If it is a performance issue, or just some other substantial reason, then it is not really gross misconduct and you should at least receive your notice period. Hope this clarifies?
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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