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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47415
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I work as a Travel Money advisor and made a mistake when I

Customer Question

I work as a Travel Money advisor and made a mistake when I gave a customer too many Euros for their Pounds. I admitted to the mistake straightaway and followed the correct protocol. The Incident Report put together by my employer in preparation of my disciplinary meeting states that I "knowingly" breached company policy.
Am I right to think that "knowingly" can only mean "deliberately"in this context. I did not breach company policy deliberately and have explained this during the disciplinary meeting. However, my manager is refusing to take away the word "knowingly" from the report. I feel it casts aspersions on my integrity. What are my options?
Many thanks
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 have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
since november 2015
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Has a decision on the outcome been made?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I received a written warning
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.
Thank you for your patience. You are correct that the word ‘knowingly’ really suggests that your actions were done deliberately. You dispute that because you maintain that your actions were an error and it was not a deliberate act. That may indeed be the case but in the end it is your word against your employer’s. There is no concrete evidence that your action were not deliberate and it is solely based on what you stated happened at the time. The employer may choose to believe that but they may also decide not to and it could be their genuine belief that your actions were deliberate. You have to keep in mind that in an employment environment the level of proof will not be as strict as in criminal law for example and they do not have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that something happened, all they would need is a genuine belief following a reasonable investigation. What you can do now is appeal the disciplinary outcome. If that fails or you are out of time, you can only really raise a formal grievance. However, be careful with how much you push this because your employment security is not very strong. You have less than 2 years’ service which means you have no protection against unfair dismissal. They can therefore dismiss you for more or less any reason so if they find you to be a nuisance as a result of this they could easily dismiss you, with no further proof and even if you are innocent. So by all means try to follow the appeals procedure which you have the right to do but if they are adamant that they will not remove it then be careful with how far you take it further than that due to the issues highlighted above. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the rights you have if they decide to mention this in a reference, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, could you please give me the advice you have in terms of the rights I have if they decide to mention this in a reference. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, whilst there is no legal obligation on employers to provide a reference for past employees, if they choose to do so they will automatically owe them a duty to take reasonable care in its preparation. This requires the employer to be accurate in the contents of the reference and ensure it is based on facts, rather than just personal opinion. Certain principles have been established through case law over the years and the main points can be summarised as follows: 1. In the case of Bartholomew v London Borough of Hackney the employer provided a reference which contained details of disciplinary proceedings which were pending at the time the employee left. The court decided that the employer had not breached its duty of care by providing such a reference as it would have a duty to provide a reference that is true, accurate and fair and does not present facts so as to give a misleading impression overall. Therefore, if the employer had not included details of the disciplinary proceedings it would have failed in its duty to the prospective employer to provide a reference that was not unfair or misleading. 2. In the later case of Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd, which will be more relevant to you, the employer provided a reference that contained details of an employee's alleged misconduct. However, they did not properly investigate these before providing the reference and the employee challenged the information in it. The court decided that an employer will be negligent in providing a reference that refers to an employee’s misconduct unless the employer had carried out an investigation and had reasonable grounds for believing that the misconduct had taken place. This can be applied to other matters forming part of a reference, not just issues of misconduct. So if it is obvious that incorrect facts have been relied on, the contents are false or misleading, there may be a potential case for negligence against the employer and this matter could be taken further by seeking compensation in the county court for any damages caused.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help. Your comments were very helpful.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are welcome, all the best