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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49842
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been suspended in work due to an incident in which

Customer Question

Hi I have been suspended in work due to an incident in which one of the girls I was with picked up a bag thinking it was my bag and got in a taxi to go out which I got in with her to go on a night out after a work conference. When we got on the train one of our managers called to ask if anyone had a black bag. I asked and everyone said just there own bag. I then came off the phone and the girl I was with said where's your black bag. I said I don't have a black bag only my brown bag. She then said well where is that black bag I lifted thinking it was yours I said iv no idea. We then just didn't discuss it any further. The next day after our night out and upon checking out of the hotel a manager approached ome of the girls then later on me and another girl were taken away. We were advised we had been suspended. I am so scared as just happened to be with someone who accidently picked up a bag that went missing. Apparently though the bag was returned at some point in the night but with contents missing and that is why this imvestigation is taken place. We had all been drinking and weren't thinking anything but looking back on a sober day I would of put 2 and 2 together that the bag the manager called about was infact the bag one of the girls picked up. At the time though I just dismissed the bag she spoke of as being someone's within the group. After having a meeting with work and hr I have came to realise after piecing it all together that the girl thought it was my bag ses got in taxi then got out taxi without picking that bag up left the taxi I have had my bag on my knee so only taken that and got out and then it has been left in the taxi. She has thought iv picked my bag up but obviously it wasnt my bag and I was only paying attention to my own bag that I had sitting on my knee.
Can someone please help me here. I just happened to be in a taxi with someone who picked up the wrong bag. I didn't know anything of her picking up a wrong bag until my manager called and then I stupidly didn't put two and two together to realise the said bag was infact the one she accidently picked up but I thought because she no longer had it on her that it must of been someones within the group we were with. I never thought for a minute that someone had left there bag lying and then it had been picked up by mistake. I had been drinking we all had been so my judgement was clouded.
I am so scared because I am suspended and I am scared to lose my job. I never took anything out of this bag I'm assuming she left it in the taxi and possibly the taxi driver has taken from it and then possibly returned it or another passenger has got in taxi and taken from it then declared a bag in the taxi. Who knows but I know it wasn't me. How can work prove it wasn't me though? Can they sack me? Please if you can help with any of this I would really appreciate it.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have been woth the company 9 years. I have just read something that states I should of been interviewed first before I was suspended. Is this true? I was suspended then interviewed

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
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. Any period of suspension should be as short as possible and reviewed on a regular basis. A knee-jerk decision to suspend, without considering whether this is actually necessary, or if it could be avoided, could result in the employer acting in breach of the implied term of trust and confidence. This could prompt the employee to complain to the employer, such as by raising a grievance.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. There is no requirement for you to be interviewed before suspension though. In fact it is the other way around – you get suspended because there is a reason to investigate you and then the investigation begins, including interviewing you to see if there is any evidence to take the matter further. In terms of the employer taking this further, alleged 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.I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thankyou so much for your reply. Can I just ask. I was interviewed by a manager and an hr person. The hr person wrote the notes down on paper detailing when I spoke and also the questions asked by the manager. I then left. They provided a taxi. Should they have been in touch with me to find out if I was ok as a duty of care or should they have got me to sign any documents ie the notes they took before I left?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
There is no need for them to have been In touch afterwards their duty would not extend that far, it would not be normal practice. Also there is no need to sign any documents before you leave they could provide a transcript afterwards and ask you if you agree to it. Hope this clarifies things a bit more?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thankyou it does. I am just so worried. It is obvious that I didn't know anything of this bag as the other girl obviously thought a bag she picked up was mine. Does this in your opinion stand good for me because it wasn't me that picked the bag up? I'm just trying to rack my brain if I can be found to be anything to do with the missing items. All I was part of was getting into a taxi with someone who picked up something thinking it was mine

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
you do have a defence but the great uncertainty is what the employer's investigation would show and what they actually believe happened so that is impossible to predict as you can appreciate. You would have to go through the investigatory process and also any potential disciplinary before you know your chances. You need to see the evidence and the conclusion of the investigation first
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Okay so if my work tie everything up and decide I obviously wasn't to know of anyone picking up a bag because I was the one they thought who's bag it was would they just call me and tell me the suspension is lifted or will they have to still pencil a meeting in and do it all that way. When I was suspended and an interview done I was told that was informal. It didn't feel very informal though. I also don't know who I can take In with me. Should I take someone? I'm not a union member so don't know who I can take with me

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello again, if they decide to lift the suspension then this can be done without a meeting, they can just call you or write to you to advise you of this. When they said the meeting was informal they would have meant it was not a formal hearing like a disciplinary but an informal investigatory meeting. As to taking someone in with you, legally you are not allowed to take anyone at an investigatory meeting – this right only applies to formal disciplinary hearings so unless this leads to a disciplinary you would not be entitled to have anyone accompany you, unless the employer allows it. If you were allowed to have someone with you then it would usually be a union representative or a work colleague.
If your original query has been answered I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave your rating for the advice so far. I can still assist with follow up questions if needed, thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether you need further help or if I can close the question? Thank you