How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48196
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
29905560
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

At work a colleague was spreading malicious allegations referring

Customer Question

At work a colleague was spreading malicious allegations referring to me and placed some literature on a staffroom table which was intimidating and libellous. Ilater heard that she had looked through personal belongings.I was really annoyed at this as I had very personal documentation that I didn't want her to see. I confronted her and she and I had a bit of an argument.The owner was called and we were spoken to about it.
I felt really frustrated as she is a very influential character I felt I needed to make a stance.I told her that I had taken some legal advice and that as the piece of literature was published in the workplace and been read by several people and that it was easy to identify who she was talking about that this then would be construed as possible defamation of character.I asked my manager if she would oversee a meeting where I asked for a retraction I also asked the woman in question if I could record anything said she said yes so did my manager. I then asked her to sign a retraction that my manager found on-line which she did.I also asked for a written apology in 7 days or I would raise a formal grievance.I showed her some documents relating to defamation of character.
I thought I had reached a solution until I returned to work.The owner asked to speak to me and told me the woman had complained about me threatening to sue her.I told him this wasn't true and explained what had happened.He said he wasn't happy with me taking legal advice and as he seen it demeaning him by not contacting him first.As my manager was present I felt comfortable that the truth would be told so I defended my actions going by what I knew to be true. I was very-surprised About how angry he was and I told him that I was the victim and didn't think I had done anything wrong.I was devastated when after 10 years service with no issues he informed me I was being suspended.I said that I didn't understand what was going on as all I had done was try to defend myself.He told me to get my things and go.After a few days a letter came to my house saying the allegations made against me were that I threatened to sue that I said that if they contacted him I would get them sacked and that they would be getting further action if they told anyone. I felt physically sick and realised this was all being turned on me.I don't know why my manager is lying but I think she is worried about nod doing her job right I'm gutted because my defence was placed on the truth now I am being lied about and feel I have no defence.I honestly did not say several of the really mitigating things they are saying about me.Also the woman in question is friends with the owners daughter.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello what are your specific queries in relation to this?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I feel that I have no chance of defending myself and cant get my head round what to do .My manager telling the truth was my defence but seems in my absence she has turned against me.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I feel ganged up on and have to go to a disciplinary meeting.I know why the person has lied but why my manager .what can I DO to protect myself.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. First of all you should not be penalised for seeking legal advice on these issues – it is your right to do so and there is nothing in law which says you must have gone to the employer first. You do have the option of using your employer to try and resolve this but it is just that – an option and not a requirement. So going ‘behind his back’ to seek legal advice is entirely your right and you have done nothing wrong by doing so. Even if you had threatened to sue this person, that is also not a breach of anything. If you have a potential claim against someone, then there is nothing wrong or unlawful about telling them that you are considering legal action. It may be wrong if you falsely threatened someone just to try and intimidate them or to bully them but if you had a genuine complaint then you have every right to protect your rights and even mention legal action if necessary. I would say that in this case you appear to be the victim of bullying. Whilst it is clear that the employer has been given untrue information, you should consider making your own formal complaint about this and raise the issues with the employer. The good news is that you have more than 2 years’ service which means you are protected against unfair dismissal and if they wanted to dismiss you they must show there was a fair reason for doing so and also follow a fair procedure. If they did not follow this and the dismissal was potentially unfair then you have rights to challenge the matter further if needed. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the procedure the employer must follow and also what you can do if this was to end up in dismissal, 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 and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Ben they have also lied saying that I threatened them if they told the owner.This is ridiculous as its a small firm and I knew the manager would tell him.I think the manager who is not very experienced was worried he would blame her for allowing it to happen.He also said I had no right to ask her to sign a retraction.He also accused me of saying I would get them fired. Ifeel sick as I am a much respected member of staff and now my name has been tarnished and I am truly innocent.My boss wasn't interested in the fact she had put the defamatory letter in the staff room demanding money or she would take action.He also didn't care that she had searched peoples belongings without their knowledge.I felt confident thinking I was defending the truth but now I'm having to defend lies.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
it is an unfortunate position to be in, especially when it is clear that you are the victim but it is not uncommon to be on the receiving end of false allegations. In terms of what is expected of the employer, 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 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 1 year ago.
Thanks Ben I now have to try and prove I didn't' say the lies.Can I ask for signed statements from them as they may be reluctant to lie and sign them?It has really upset me as my manager knows I recently was diagnosed with cancer and she still done this to me.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You can but they cannot be forced to issue such, but nothing to lose by trying
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Finally Ben he has listed me asking for a written apology and asking her to sign a retraction as reasons for suspension.Where do I stand here?You have been amazing and I will continue to use you.Margaret
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
These are not really valid reasons for suspension. Whilst a suspension is not an indication of guilt, it must not be applied lightly and suspending someone unfairly could be a breach of trust an confidence. This can prompt you to resign and claim constructive dismissal, although I would hold fire and see if they go as far as dismissal because claiming unfair dismissal is generally easier than constructive dismissal
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My boss is now telling me not to contact him.He said it would be tied up for Tuesday I now am isolated and haven't been well.Another thought has came into my head he on a previous occasions forced us all to change witness statements to cover his back. I'm worried hes making people do that.His friend took notes but didn't allow me to see them. M y manager has made very ageist remarks about another colleague which I objected to as I am older than the person she was saying was past it.What if this is their real reason I also know he likes young people as there are only two of us who are older.Is he entitled to drag this on as I am desperate to challenge him.I feel i'm being forced out of my job but I have done nothing wrong and will fight it to the end.When does he have to let me know what,s happening.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry I mean at the original meeting he said it would be tied up for Tuesday.This is when I realised I was not going to be listened to if he already knew the outcome at that point.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
When a disciplinary matter is undergoing the employer should not unreasonably delay things or any disciplinary hearing, so whilst that does not set specific deadlines, it does mean that they should not unnecessarily drag this out. Sadly not all employers adhere to this so it is very much in their hands, unless you consider submitting a formal grievance to try and speed things up
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How much notice of any hearing does he have to give me?Also I am not standing for his intimidation and have decided to stand up to him he is very intimidating and will play on the fact that I am ill as he will see this as a weakness but I have decided to whistleblow about him forcing us to change statements when a parent threatened to sue him about how an injury was handled.We all wrote true reflections then he bullied us into changing our statements. Some people were in tears at his actions. I'm scared but I feel he,s got away with it for two long.I have been a much respected member of staff for 10 years but now he has decided to turn on me to protect his daughters friend.Can he discipline me for this?.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
again there is nothing in law which says how much notice you must be given, it needs to be reasonable notice so at least a couple of days is generally acceptable. Legally it would be difficult for you to be disciplined for this but it does not mean it cannot happen - it just enables you to challenge this further depending on what the outcome is
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Even if he doesn't discipline me I intend to report him as he is very dishonest and he knows I don't like it.I ve applied for another job can he give me a bad reference for reporting him to the care inspectorate.?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
a reference should be factually correct so he should only state accurate and true things, he should be able to back anything up with evidence. If not it could be a negligent reference
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben I have now received signed statements saying I threatened the manager and other members of staff I'm devastated at how they've turned against me what should I do?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, thanks for getting back to me. Unfortunately your question has expired as you must post any follow up queries within 7 days of the date of the original question. If you need any further help on this subject please post it as a new question on our site - you may start it with 'for Ben Jones' so that I get it and deal with it as fast as I can. Many thanks