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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50202
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have been accused in an email to my employers by a work friend

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I have been accused in an email to my employers by a work friend that I have said something derogatory about my team leader. The words used to describe what I said are not exact. Can I do anything about this as it is her word against mine and there were no whitnesses.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Is the employer taking any action as a result?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes I have a disaplinary this Friday with my employer

How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

2.5 years with no other incidents. My employment has been clean.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am not concerned so much about the disiplinary i am more concerned over the wrong wording in the email.

If there is no actual evidence and it is your word against another’s then you will have to make the best of what is available and stand your ground, providing as much clarification as possible to show that you are the only telling the truth. If there is no evidence there is simply no evidence – you have to try and persuade the employer that your side of the story is the correct one and there is no magic way of doing that – you have to work with what you have and there is never a guarantee that the truth will prevail – it is always going to be a risk. You can also rely on the laws in relation to disciplinary proceedings and what is expected of the employer.
Misconduct is a common reason for taking disciplinary action against an employee. It could be due either to a single serious act of misconduct or a series of less serious acts over a period of time.
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.
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 formally sanction them. When deciding on the appropriate penalty, the employer should consider the nature and seriousness of the offence and the employee's disciplinary record. 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.
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 disciplinary results in dismissal then a claim for unfair dismissal can be made in the employment tribunal. There are two requirements to claim: the employee must have at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer and the claim must be made within 3 months of the date of dismissal.
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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