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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6466
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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As an employee of Interserve who has the contract

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As an employee of Interserve who has the contract for hospitality and catering for the RNLI in Poole Dorset. I am head housekeeper at the above establishment. On the 14th April on my day off I went out for lunch and unfortunately I had too much wine and I landed up intoxicated. My marriage is going through a bad time so I didn't want to go home and face the wrath of my husband. I decided to book in somewhere and spend the night to sleep it off. The RNLI college where I work also operates as an hotel so I landed up there to book a room for the night. I was refused accommodation, they phoned a cab for me and I was taken round to another hotel in Poole where I booked in. When I went back to work I was suspended from duty and I am awaiting a disciplinary hearing. I must stress I was not on duty and as this is a legitimate hotel I thought, although it was a bit silly of me, I had done significantly wrong. What I would like to know does this constitute gross misconduct. I have never had a company policy handbook and there is no written rules of behaviour in my place of employment.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Have you been sent an investigation letter? If so what exactly does it say?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. I have been informed that I will be sent one.

How long have you worked for the employer for?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

10 years but the contract was taken over by Interserve October 2014.

Ok thank you.
The fact that you have not got a contract which or policy which sets out what would amount to gross misconduct does not, of itself, prevent the employer as treating this as gross misconduct.
It is possible they may argue that this amounts to bringing the company into misrepute if there were customers around at the time or there are other possible grounds depending on the allegations.
Until you know the allegation against you it is difficult to say if it is reasonable to treat it as gross misconduct.
Once there is an allegaiton of gross misconduct the employer must have reasonable belief that you have committed it and must consider evidence in mitigation which could be that you have impeccable service history or that others have done similar and not been dismissed as a result.
If you have any further questions about this please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I feel I could have researched this myself not an in depth answer you would expect from a expert on employment law. Disappointed. £56 spent for nothing.

I can give you further information, what exactly would you like to know. I can go into as much detail as you would like.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can not afford you.

you have already paid a deposit, I am not charging you more. I am willing to help you if you let me know what you would like to know.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I was not in uniform so clients would not know who I am. I was off duty and it operates as an hotel. There is no criteria that says that you can NOT use the facility as a paying guest. They cater for weddings etc and drunken people are part of aftermath.

Hi I agree with you that you should be able to use it as a paying guest. I think the issue for the employer is that you were inebriated when you checked in. Do you know if other customers were present at the time? Do you know if you were recognised by customers as being a member of staff? Was there any sort of bad language or other altercation?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I believe that there were no guests present. I do not recall an altercation or bad language being used.

Have you been invited to an investigation meeting? What have they said the process will be now?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I went into work on Sat 18th April 2015 and was suspended from duty. I then was told I would be informed by post of date and time of investigation meeting. I expect it Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.

Ok the first thing you need to do is to attend the investigation and find out exactly what is being alleged. At the moment you do not know if the issue is you trying to check in or if the issue is the fact you were drunk or something else.
If your employer is aware of relationship problems then you should argue in mitigation that you should be offered help and support not be disciplined for a 'one off ' event. This is particularly the case if there were no customers present so it cannot be argued you brought the employer into disrepute.
From a legal point of view the tribunal look at whether it is 'with the reasonable range of responses' for an employer to dismiss on the grounds that are put forward by the employer. The tribunal is not likely to interfere with an employers decision to dismiss unless it is considered to be perverse.
My advice to you is to apologise and ask for a second chance and say you were not aware that there was any policy that you could not stay over at the hotel when you were off duty and say that now you are aware you will no longer do it. I would also say that they are aware of your relationship difficulties and owe you a duty of trust and confidence and a duty to care for your health and safety so it would not be reasonable for them to dismiss you in the circumstances.
I do wish you all the best with this. If you have any questions now then do ask. Please do take the time to rate my answer and do come back to me after the investigation hearing when you have more information if you have any further questions.
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