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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46196
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Ben, My name is***** looking into some advice as

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Hi Ben, My name is***** looking into some advice as I was sacked from my job yesterday due ti the suspicion of theft with no hard evidence.
Company put it down as Gross misconduct
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long did you work there for?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had been working at an engineering company for nearly 22 years. I was invited to a disciplinary meeting to discuss what had gone on, to my horror I was charged with Gross misconduct and had been accused of taking chocolate bars from our works canteen without payment. This I refuted and an investigation took place.
Witness statements were taken from staff canteen members who said that I had taken some chocolate and not paid for it. To which i replied that I had only ever taken items that I had paid for. I was never challenged by staff members, There was never any hard evidence, only what they were supposed to have seen.
After a disciplinary hearing I was sacked. Even though there was no evidence and some contradictory information in the statements.
The disciplinary committee said that they were bound by company procedure and could do nothing else.
The staff canteen facility is sub-let to another company. In the hearing notes they admitted that the canteen procedures needed looking at. Seems that I have been the Guinea pig for this scenario.
I have never been in this situation before in my 33 years of employment and need help and advice as to what to do and where to turn next.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Misconduct, such as the allegation here, 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. Theft can be viewed as gross misconduct but I am a bit concerned about the disproportionate outcome – you have 22 years’ service with a clean record, this is about a few chocolate bars, with minimal value and after some conflicting statements. So there are grounds to be concerned about the outcome. 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 and this I do not believe has happened. 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. I hope this has answered your query. I have more information for you about how to proceed to making a claim which I wish to discuss further. 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
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46196
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi Simon, as mentioned a new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal. If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here: https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.

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