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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49812
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I work for XXXXX pharmacy

Customer Question

I work for XXXXXX pharmacy at the new outpatients at the RVI hospital in newcastle ....I have been there for 9 months .... the department size and enormity of the prescriptions we receive vs the staff and computers available have been vastly underestimated. ..this has lead many dispensing errors and health problems due to health and safety and occupational health concerns that have been repeatedly side tracked ... I have now been suspended for errors and an investigation is underway ... I have recieved no veball warning no written warning .... knowing I have had health problems related to the working environment eg plantar fasciasof the feet from prolonged standing, sciatica , shoulder problems having had a fall in the dept over the many boxes, orders and bags of rubbish and cardboard left lying around I am being disiplined for my absence rate also ... my contract states the year begins 1st of april but they are looking at my sicness over the past year ... stomach bugs are required to follow a 48hr symptom free spell before retuning to work by NHS policy ... this has pushed my sickness for the year over the 3 episodes or 8 days policy but it doesn't if it is taken fron 1st april .... the manager has constantly been on me for my wage which is higher than some other techs as I was recruited from outside lloyds before hand and I was an Accredited Checking Tech, which is the highest career level I could obtain, but I am not working there as an AT C I am a Technician and she keeps mentioning my errors ... which have not reached the patient but are classed as near misses because I am or was an ACT I should be better at my job .... hospital pharmacy is a completely different entity to community and ACT is a completely different job to technician can I fight this ?? I am currently on suspension with no clue to when this will be sorted out or where I stand ... what are my options ?? Thankyou ... XXXXXX XXXXXX tel: XXXXXXXXX

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. When you mention the contract states the year starts on 1 April - what is this specifically referring to, the year for what exactly?

JACUSTOMER-vgifd4e2- :

Sickness year commences on 1st April annually according to my contract

Ben Jones :

The first thing to bear in mind 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.

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.

The issue, if the employer is considering dismissal, is that if you have been continuously employed at your place of work for less than 2 years then your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as their decision is not based on discriminatory grounds (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, a disability, sexual orientation, etc.) or because you were trying to assert any of your statutory rights (e.g. requesting maternity/paternity leave, etc.). I

If the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions then you would not be able to challenge it and your only protection would be if you were not paid your contractual notice period, because unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct, you would be entitled to receive your contractual notice period. If you did not have a written contract in place you would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. Your employer would either have to allow you to work that notice period and pay you as normal, or they will have to pay you in lieu of notice.

If you were not paid your notice period when you were due one, that would amount to wrongful dismissal (which is different to unfair dismissal) and you could make a claim in an employment tribunal to recover the pay for the notice period that you should have been given. There is a 3-month time limit from the date of dismissal to submit the claim.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you