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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49789
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been suspended from work for a month I work in a drs

Customer Question

I have been suspended from work for a month I work in a dr's surgery and scanned 4 letters in to wrong set of notes .. But this has been over a period of time .. I did point out at the meeting that even though it was wrong I was not the only one that did it some other employees have done the same thing . But only I have been suspended so they can audit my do I stand on dismisal
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

JACUSTOMER-5q9h6r3m- : 10 years
Ben Jones :

have you been told you are to attend a disciplinary?

JACUSTOMER-5q9h6r3m- : Yes .i went last Wednesday and on the Thursday was told I would be suspended due to an audit they will have to do .. Then on the 22 of July I will be called in for a decision
Ben Jones :

what were the repercussions of your actions?

JACUSTOMER-5q9h6r3m- : The letter was found in the wrong persons notes .. They then were taken out and re scanned into the right person ..
Ben Jones :

were you told that dismissal is a potential outcome?

JACUSTOMER-5q9h6r3m- : It was indicated
Ben Jones :

ok let me get my advice ready please

Ben Jones :

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:

  • Carries out a reasonable investigation;
  • Follows a fair disciplinary procedure;
  • Has reasonable grounds for believing the employee was guilty; and
  • Show that dismissal was a reasonable decision that a reasonable employer would have taken in the circumstances.

I will deal with these requirements in more detail:

1. Investigation - what is a reasonable investigation depends on the case and what resources are available to the employer. However, an employer is only expected to go as far as is reasonably practicable in the circumstances and they would not be expected to conduct a forensically detailed investigation.

2. Disciplinary hearing - if the investigation produces evidence that misconduct may have occurred then the employee should be invited to attend a formal disciplinary hearing. They must be given prior notice of the hearing, including details of the allegations and any evidence to be used against them. They have the statutory right to be accompanied at the hearing but only by a trade union representative or a colleague. At the disciplinary hearing the employee must be given the opportunity to defend the allegations.

3. Decision - if, as a result of the investigation and the disciplinary hearing, the employer holds a genuine belief that the employee was guilty, they can go ahead and dismiss. When deciding on whether to dismiss, the employer should consider the employee's length of service and disciplinary record. Therefore, longer service and a clean disciplinary record should result in the employer giving more thought into deciding what action to take. Also it is important to consider a consistent approach b y the employer - if others have been guilty of the exact or largely similar offence but they have not been reprimanded then it is certainly something you should raise as the employer will not be adopting a consistent approach.

4. Penalty - unless the offence in question amounts to gross misconduct (i.e. something so serious to justify instant dismissal), the ACAS Code of Practice recommends that the employee should be issued with a warning first. If any further misconduct occurs in the future, only then should dismissal be considered.

In summary, an employer is not expected to prove that the alleged misconduct had definitely occurred. A dismissal can be fair if the employer can meet the above requirements.

If there are any doubts or evidence that the above requirements have not been satisfied, an appeal can be submitted to the employer straight after the disciplinary outcome is communicated. If the appeal is rejected a claim for unfair dismissal can be made in the employment tribunal. The time limit to claim is 3 months from the date of dismissal and the claimant needs to have at least 2 years' continuous service with that employer.

JACUSTOMER-5q9h6r3m- : I really knew all that as its in my contract .. Just thought I had a case as other members of staff have made the same mistake obviously they can do as they want
Ben Jones :

no not necessarily, as mentioned the employer needs to act with a degree of consistency and similar offences should be dealt in a similar way by the employer

Ben Jones :

Has your original query been answered?

Ben Jones :

I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating - your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you