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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50210
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I am a Royal Mail postperson who was involved in a accident

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hi, i am a Royal Mail postperson who was involved in a accident in a van at work. I parked the vehicle on a slope, applied the handbrake and followed the other guidelines. For some reason the van rolled away, down a bank into a patch of common land damaging a greenhouse. The van only sustained scratches. Due to Royal Mails own rules as I watched the advisory video and signed a form stating such I may well be facing dismissal if the vehicle report comes back with no faults being found. What is the legal position on this, can I be legally dismissed for what is at worst an accident?
how long have you worked there?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
15 years
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
in that time I have never had any disciplinary issues or warnings issued
Hello, my name is ***** ***** my colleague has asked me to assist with your query as it is more my area of law. Has the report come back?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Not yet. Incident occurred nearly a month ago and report is due in the next few days. My query is more on the legal position if it comes back as no faults bring found with the vehicle. Can I legally be dismissed without any disciplinary warnings ?
Hello, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. Whether this ends up in a dismissal will very much depend on what the employer’s investigation finds and what they genuinely believe happened. It is certainly not as simple as saying you watched a video and signed for it, therefore such an incident must result in dismissal. In order to dismiss the employer must satisfy itself that you had either acted intentionally or with gross negligence. You did after all follow the required procedures and this was an accident or a technical fault so hopefully the investigation should conclude the same thing. If they cannot find fault with the vehicle and there is nothing else to suggest that this was something outside of your control, then they can consider disciplining as long as they can justify that this was a blatant disregard of procedures. This may not be easy for them to do and they must also take into account your length of service, disciplinary record and previous related incidents. If you have a clean record and no similar issues behind you, then with 15 years’ service they should really be looking at a written warning rather than dismissal and only dismiss in the event of a repeat incident. That does not mean you cannot be dismissed but if it does end up in dismissal, then you will have the option to challenge it if necessary.This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the full procedure the employer should follow to ensure the action they take is fair, 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
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50210
Experience: Qualified Solicitor
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Thank you. 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:{C}· Conducts a reasonable investigation;{C}· Follows a fair disciplinary procedure; and{C}· 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.