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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50180
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I'm looking to speak to someone about employment law (Scots

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Hi I'm looking to speak to someone about employment law (Scots law)
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Can you please explain your situation in a bit more detail?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi there, thanks for your reply. I work for Police Scotland and 2.5 years ago I had a situation where I purchased a pair of boots from a shop and took them back a week later as they were faulty. The shop assistant could feel the fault inside the boot and said he would send them back to the manufacturer. I asked to try on a new pair of boots and left the faulty boots with the receipt and took the new boots.I returned to work and told my colleagues about what happened and 4 hours later my colleague was looking in the Police systems and shouted me and said there is a report on about you, several of my colleagues also had a nosey on the Police systems.Long story short I was charged with a theft and reported to the PF for a breach of data protection because I looked at the report about me (I didn't know this was a breach) the PF threw it out and now today I was invited for a disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct and something about beyond possibilities but I didn't understand it so he adjourned the meeting.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The shop worker reported me to the Police for theft by shoplifting. My manager in work became aware about the situation and got advise from the Inspector and the end result was I voluntarily went to the Police station to try and sort out the situation.
Thank you and what specific queries do you have about this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If I can be dismissed for gross misconduct?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
2.5 years later
When did this come to the attention of the employer and what is the alleged gross misconduct here?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
2.5 years ago, breaching data protection by looking at the report about myself
Any idea why it has taken them all this time to discipline?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Waiting on an outcome for the PF, it took them 2 years to decide an outcome
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But they have waited a further 6 months until they contacted me about a hearing
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Do they have a time limit?
When an employer has to take disciplinary action against an employee they have a duty to adhere to the ACAS Code of Conduct. It states that if it is considered to discipline an employee “The meeting should be held without unreasonable delay”. Of course this would depend on the circumstances of the case and for example some complex investigations will take time but 2.5 years is going to be pushing it. Therefore, if they proceed and dismiss as a result of this you will have a potential case for unfair dismissal due to procedural failings. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the rights you have in the evet of dismissal, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Should they not have done this at the time of the initial incident?
Yes indeed. If there are any doubts or evidence that the mentioned 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, which you have
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the info. Am I breaching data protection by looking at a report about me? I think this is where they want to try and get me for want of a better word because I did not commit a theft.
It can be a potential breach if you did not have the authority to look for the personal data, even if yours. It could also be misconduct if you breached internal procedures but the key is still the delay in taking formal action
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
several colleagues also accessed the report.
I have never had data protection act trainingWould that mean they would have to be considering fairness and equal disciplinary action against everyone who breached data protection (arguably my colleagues more severely than me) and also, would my severe lack of any training on data protection go in my favour?
Yes, lack of training will be relevant - if you did not know you were breaching something then it would be more difficult for the employer to penalise you, but I expect there would have been a well publicised policy in relation to access of personal records. Also if others were guilty of the same offence they should be dealt with in the same way, the employer should avoid treating one person as a scapegoat or to set an example to others
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I had a single slide 12 years ago when I was in training but I do not recall what it said. I have had no further training since then.
ok this is all mitigating information which you can use in you defence - it will not automatically avoid a dismissal but at least it is something you can use to help your case should you decide to take it further
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Great thanks for your help, that's all the information I need now :)
You are welcome, all the best
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks you for all your help.
No problem
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It's relaxed me tonight, I was uptight and worried about the whole thing earlier.
Good to know - enjoy the weekend!