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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49868
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have recently been reduced in rank in the fire service

Customer Question

I have recently been reduced in rank in the fire service following an anonymous complaint about my use of service vehicles. This complaint was dealt with and concluded.
However, following an alleged follow-up telephone call, from the original complainant to say that they had not received a reply to their anonymous complaint, the original complaint was re-opened, going against their own complaints policy.
The evidence that was used was from vehicle GPS tracking devices. This meant that the vehicle could have been driven by anyone, as their was no other evidence of me driving them, only my admittance at my Factfinding Investigation that I had driven service vehicles without permission.
The decision to demote me was upheld at my appeal.
Is there anyway I can challenge this decision, as I stand to lose approximately £25,000 in salary until the time I retire in 2023 and £25,000 in my pension.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

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

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long have you worked there for and is there anything in your contract which says you can be demoted?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
23 Years 5 months, with no previous disciplinary issues.
Yes, it is one of the sanctions under the disciplinary code for gross misconduct, which is what they charged me with.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. So the first thing to note is that the employer is contractually able to demote you if necessary so there is no argument that they have acted in breach of contract here. This usually happens if the employer had no right to demote and they do so anyway, which amounts to a breach of contract.

Your first point of appeal is that they have one against their own complaints policy and reopened an already closed complaint. It is nevertheless important to check if the provision of new evidence allows them to reopen them as they could try and argue that here.

As to the evidence they relied on, whilst the GPS data may not have necessarily pinpointed the use of the vehicles to you, it is not necessary for them to have 100% concrete evidence linking it to you to make a decision.

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.

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 appeal fails then your only viable option is to resign and claim constructive dismissal instead.

Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the constructive dismissal option and how it can apply here. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, do you need any further assistance or are you happy with the above response? Look forward to hearing from you.