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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50138
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have been summarily dismissed at work for gross misconduct

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i have been summarily dismissed at work for gross misconduct
Assistant: Thank you. Can you provide any more details to help us find you the right Expert?
Customer: I work for royal mail and on the day in question, I am a reserve. I did a duty that I had never done before, I could not find a block of flats which was not signposted etc. The place where i thought it would be i could not open the door and i heard a daog, so i left that place with the intention of returning at end of my duty. I then had to go to family emergency in which I was absent for about 20 minutes and retuen back to duty. Me and partner had our duty arrangement. My partner had dropped me off and he phoned management to tell them he is left on his own with a misunderstanding that I eould not return when I did. Manager is calling me al liar and not trust me, therefore i have been dismissed with clean record and no warnings

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

How long have you been working there for?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
two years and 6 months

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, this hapenned on 21 july, and when i got my dismissal on 29 september, i was told that all this time i was on precautionary suspension which i did not know. I was working as normal but only in office and not outside office. There policy says that manager has to give to you in writing that you are on precautionary suspension. I did not receive anything. Plus when i was invited for fact finding and formal interview the manager never made me sign to attend although i did attend

Thanks for your patience. Whether you were on precautionary suspension or told about it does not make any difference to the fairness of your dismissal. The same applies to you not signing anything to say that you attended a fact finding meeting – this is not a legal requirement and again makes no difference to the fairness of the dismissal.

As far as the law is concerned, misconduct is a common reason for taking disciplinary action and it is also a potentially fair reason for dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996. It could be a single act of serious misconduct or a series of less serious acts over a period of time.

In order to justify that dismissal on grounds of misconduct was fair, the law requires that the employer:

· Conducts a reasonable investigation;

· Follows a fair disciplinary procedure;

· Has reasonable grounds for believing the employee was guilty; and

· Show that dismissal was a decision that a reasonable employer would have taken in the circumstances.

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 dismiss. When deciding on whether dismissal is appropriate, the employer should consider the nature and seriousness of the offence and the employee's length of service and disciplinary record. They also need to act with a degree of consistency if other employees have previously been disciplined over similar issues. 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.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have on challenging the dismissal and what steps you need to take, 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

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just to go further into what happenned. I got gross misconduct for will for delay of mail. I did a duty i never had done before. i had a small block of flats to do. employer gave me no maps so i looked on google maps and i went to the place where map showed me. when i went there, there was garages and i asked is this the place. they said yes but i could not see any flats. he said the flats you see above could be it but not sure as it could also be of another road. the place where i was there was a staircase going up to the flats, so i went up but top was blocked with a wall. so i went out again on main road and saw a door with buttons out side and it was not signposted to say what it is. I pressed a few buzzers and there was no answer. I pushed the door but the door did not open and same time I heard a dog which was at close range but did not physically see it. I decided to leave it for the time being and continue carrying on with my duty. The mail for the flats were back in the van with the intention re attempt to deliver at end of shift.
Later I got a call from wife as my son was ill, he was in severe pain for teeth and had no remedy at home. wife went to town to get remedy, she was waiting at bus stop and four buses went past as she had double buggy. so i told my partner the problem and he said if i do one extra road of mail, he would drop me of. this is what i did, he dropped me of and i told him that i would be taking second key to van for when i return. he said ok. with in 2 minutes i got a call from supervisor to say where are you? there was a mis understanding and i thought he meant my last delivery location which i gave, he then said ok. five minutes later he called me again to say i am not at the address i gave, i said i know i am not there and i am in town dropping my wife home and will be returning back on delivery. When i returned back on delivery the supervisor was there with my partner and instructed me to go back to office. when supervisor was there, he investigated why i had not delivered mail to flats also and he saw the door was open.
The manager physically went there himself a couple times to find the door does open as door lock is broken. he also go two witness statements from residence that door always opens and is broken.
my argument is how can they punish me when i was still on duty and fully intended to return to the flats towards end of duty? Also it was my partner who called up management to say he wanted extra money for overtime as he was left alone, so basically it was a set up in my opinion. To my knowledge my partner finished on time as well.last week i got five written statements from residence to say that the door can get stuck sometimes, and sometimrs not. one lady said she orders pizza but driver cant get in he rings her instead, therefore she has to cancel order.
When i got dismissed, manager said they cannot trust me, and i lied to manager of my whereabouts when i did not. i was stressed as i had to get to my family, and i misunderstood of what he meant.
in his decision he said he considered giving me lower penalty but he felt dismissal was appropriate. I also have clean record with no warnings.
Please help me.

Thanks. In the circumstances I would say that dismissal may have been a harsh decision, considering your record was clean and this was the first incident of such nature. So you could consider taking this further if needed, as mentioned I can discuss the nest steps required

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
hi, thanks for reply, so how do i proceed, under what grounds, and what is the probability of success?

if you could please leave your rating for the response so far then I can continue with my follow up advice, thanks

Thank you. First of all it is not possible to give you prospects of success – this is only possible if you have a full case analysis conducted which you would need to do by seeing a solicitor in person. We cannot do this just by reading several paragraphs online unfortunately.

In terms of taking this further, if you are still within time to appeal directly to the employer then you should do so. The basis of appeal would be that the outcome was too harsh and not what a reasonable employer would have done in the circumstances. You should have been issued with a warning, not just been dismissed like this.

If the appeal is rejected your only option is to make a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal within 3 months of the dismissal date.

A new feature in the employment tribunal’s claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal.

If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement.

The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here:

In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you for the information. also in my dismissal letter manager wrote he could not give me less penalty despite my plea, he said i will continue to do this again and again.
everyone around me says it is very harsh decision. They kept me working indoors for two months as well.
I also went off sick due to stress and anxiety and had councelling during this time.
I also feel alot of times I was bullied and harrassed leading up to what happenned, i also had my car vandalised in car park which costed me 2500 to repair, the manager said he would do something but nothing happenned.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
also, on my training i was never trained on how to endorse mail if you have to bring mail back to office. I still do it but not in the way company would like to me to. I suppose I use an older way practice. My point is they need to train me in order for me to do it properly.
also upon my contract, i was never given a staff rule book, so i generaly would not know what is conduct etc

I am not sure how he can say you will keep doing this when this was the first occasion it had happened. They should have issued a warning and only if it actually continued happening, only then should they have considered a dismissal. The training point is also relevant so use all of these to challenge the dismissal. I am going offline now so if needed will respond in the morning, many thanks