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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45378
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been accused of harassment at work, is this a

Customer Question

I have been accused of sexual harassment at work, is this a company matter of police matter
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
What is said to have happened?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Unsure, although it has been suggested in my 1st company hr meeting. At this meeting, I did acknowledge having a relationship with her, sometimes at work. I have since been suspended and requested to attend a disciplinary hearing on Thursday, the letter states I have been accused of sexual harassment
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The letter says they will forward my statement and her's although I haven't received anything yet
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
This sounds more like an employment matter. I will pass this onto an employment lawyer.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I said, it started with banter and although morally wrong, it was between two consenting adults. As I had admitted it happened at work, basically to be open and honest, I apologised to my interviewers
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
My company's letter states the SH allegation and have classed this as gross misconduct if proved
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** my colleague has asked me to assist with your query as it is more my area of law. How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The lady is a sub contract cleaner, who I asked to be employed, I don't sign her timesheet and or agree her work hours. Generally she reports to someone else on a daily basis, although occasionally I get involved, like the other day, when she found evidence of mice. It was always only to be a short term contract, as it's a building site, I predicted an end date with some 8wks notice, to which we had delays, so when asked if she would stay on a lttle longer, her immediate reply was NO, so we put alternative measures in place. Coincidentally she was off ill (alledged breakdown) for her final week, she appeared on the Monday, so I got her to speak to her employers, to check her employment status. Anyway, that seemed ok, but I said, as we are downsizing our site cabins, then we would be looking to halve your daily hours. That's when all these allegations were made
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
22years with an exemplary career
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hello Ben
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.
This can be both an internal employment matter and also an external criminal one. However, more often than not, the police do not get involved in such disputes, unless it is a more serious issue. In the circumstances I would expect this to be just dealt with internally. Sexual harassment in work can be a misconduct matter, up to and including dismissal, but it would depend on a number of factors as to whether it ends up in that. In the circumstances you are already at the stage of being asked to attend a formal disciplinary hearing so to ensure that any decision taken is fair and in accordance with law they must ensure that a fair procedure is followed. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the finer details of the requirements on the employer to ensure this matter is dealt with fairly, 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, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45378
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 8 months ago.
Thank you. Misconduct is a common reason for taking disciplinary action against an employee. It could be due either to a single serious act of misconduct or a series of less serious acts over a period of time. In order to justify that disciplinary action on grounds of misconduct was fair, the law requires that the employer:· Conducts a reasonable investigation;· Follows a fair disciplinary procedure; and· Shows they had reasonable grounds to believe the employee was guilty. 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 formally sanction them. When deciding on the appropriate penalty, the employer should consider the nature and seriousness of the offence and the employee's disciplinary record. Unless the offence was one of gross misconduct, ACAS recommends that the employee should be issued with a written warning. In the circumstances you have mitigating factors, such as your length of service, clean record (I hope), and the fact this was between two consenting adults, so not you just forcing yourself on her. 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 about any of the above and there is belief or evidence that the employer has not satisfied these requirements, an appeal can be submitted to the employer immediately after the disciplinary outcome. If the disciplinary results in dismissal then a claim for unfair dismissal can be made in the employment tribunal. There are two requirements to claim: the employee must have at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer and the claim must be made within 3 months of the date of dismissal.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
For Ben Jones
As my company have cited Gross misconduct & the HR Director is heading the disciplinary hearing, is it more likely to be dismissal? Also, if I resign beforehand, should the company accept my resignation and would this avoid being on my record. As the company don't have to fully prove HR, and by my own omission of "it happened at work". Prove SH not HR
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.
Just been called away on a personal matter I will reply later today thank you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
For Ben Jones
As our sexual relationship happened inside and outside of the workplace, that's probably enough to sway their decision, and I've admitted to that
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 8 months ago.
Hi, thank for your patience. It is very difficult to say whether this will end up in dismissal or not. Just because they have cited GM and the head of HR is heading this does not make one outcome more likely than another. They should not go in with their mind made up - they need to keep an open mind and see what you have to say before they come to a decision. If you wanted to resign, then technically you must work through your notice period. Doing so means that they could still go ahead with the disciplinary and potentially dismiss before the notice period is over so you would still be dismissed officially. However, it is entirely possible that they could allow you to resign and waive the requirement to work notice and treat this as a resignation - it is up to the employer. You have nothing to lose by approaching them and discussing this option

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