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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I have been accused of racially abusing a Jewson employee at

Customer Question

I have been accused of racially abusing a Jewson employee at a delivery yard in London I didn't do or say what has been stated by the 2 witnesses and the alleged abused member of staff put in his statement that I verbally abused and never clarified what I had said. I have now been suspended for 4 weeks and put my notice in to resign as olso work as a foster Carer with my wife and if found guilty this could have a profound effect on my registration as a foster carer. Th e investigation is on going and will not be concluded before my notice expires. there has been no correlation between statements no has been asked to clarify where and at what time they were when this incident took place. this is despite my manager going to London and failing to see the victim or one of the witnesses. Is it worth investigating this alleged incident further.
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Customer: Incident Jewsons/CTD yard, Highgate, North London 30/06/2016On entering the yard at Jewson/CTD Highgate I was directed to the top yard where unloading would take place. As is usual articulated vehicles are required to do a screw turn at the top of the yard in order to turn around ready to leave the yard. On this particular day there were many pallets restricting the space available and turning the vehicle around was quite difficult.
During the manoeuvre and at the position indicated on Google Earth view, a member of staff operating a fork lift truck started to shout and gesticulate in a language unknown to me. He was verbally aggressive in his manner and this conversation was conducted through the passenger door window with my engine running and his forklift truck running which made any conversation difficult. I had no idea what he was saying or trying to communicate to me. I told him that I didn’t understand him and could he please speak in English. He carried on being verbally aggressive and I got the impression that whatever he was saying was probably verbal abuse. I then said to him that if he wanted to swear at me then he should f**king do it in English.
He then drove off to the bottom of the yard and I continued to turn my vehicle around. When I had almost come full circle I became aware of a pile of blocks that had been knocked over during my manoeuvre, which could have been what this member of staff was trying to communicate to me by being verbally abusive and speaking in a language that I did not understand.
I finally got my vehicle into position and looked down the yard and could see this member of staff talking to 3 other members of yard staff. He was pointing at my truck and the blocks.
He then came up towards my truck and took photos of my vehicle and the knocked over blocks.
I got out of my truck and started to open my curtains and soon this member of staff approached me in a fork lift truck and asked me how many pallets. He then asked me what I was going to do about the blocks; I told him nothing after the way he had just spoken to me.
He then drove off and started to unload another vehicle in bottom yard.
At this point I thought it best to speak to the site manager and get some assistance. I spoke with the Assistant Manager and related my experience to him and emphasised that I was not happy about being verbally abused by one of his staff. He then came with me out into the yard had a look at the blocks didn’t appear to be that concerned about them and stated that they were very short staffed and it was difficult managing the yard. He then said he would get someone to unload me. He came back after a few minutes with the member of staff who had verbally abused me who then proceeded to unload me and sign the delivery notes. At no time was I made aware that there was a problem so I thanked the assistant manager for his help closed the curtains on my trailer and left the yard.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

How long have you worked there?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
I have worked there for 7yrs 6mths
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

Hi there. Thank you for your request for a phone call. I am unable to talk at the moment but if you provide the information requested, I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not respond to this message after you have provided the information as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
I have worked there for 7 years 6 months
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

Many thanks for your patience. The issue here is that 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.

So just because you were suspended does not mean that the employer has done anything wrong. They would have been required to investigate this further before they decided on whether to take any action against you. Their investigation could have revealed that tour side of the story was correct and that this was a misunderstanding with no racial abuse intended on your part. They may have reached the decision to suspend based on the complaint they received but that does not mean it would be the only thing they would have based their future decisions on.

Now that you have resigned you have a couple of options. You could consider whether you wish to retract that and let the employer continue their investigation, hoping that once they have taken statements from everyone involved they would see there was no real case to answer and that they would drop the allegations, or at least that this would not result in dismissal. Also you can appeal whatever outcome the procedure results in. Or you could let the resignation stand and leave the employer. You cannot force them to investigate this further once your employment with them has terminated though so that would generally be the end of the matter. Your only option then is that consider a constructive dismissal claim against them by arguing you were forced to leave as a result of what happened. You will have 3 months within which to make the claim.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on constructive dismissal and how it can apply to you here, 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 is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

Hello I have accepted your phone call request but also notice you have not yet had the chance to see my response above. Please get back to me once you have done so and then I can schedule a follow up call with you to discuss any further queries you may have. Thank you

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Hello Ben, I received some good news late yesterday. The investigation into the incident that caused my suspension has been concluded and has been able to establish that correct procedure in collecting statements and other evidence such as CCTV footage was not followed by the branch manager. It was also evident that collusion between the victim and the other 2 witnesses had taken place and they themselves are now under investigation. My suspension has been withdrawn and I have withdrawn my notice so i'm returning to work on Monday. Thank you for your help,Roger
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

Hi Roger that's great news and I am not surprised that it ended this way as clearly there was no discrimination on your part. Glad it is all resolved and all the best