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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50160
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have been suspended from work pending a disciplinary

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I have been suspended from work pending a disciplinary meeting, one of my colleges are slandering my reputation and Saying accusations my line manager of incorrect things to which I am wanting to fight, can I defend myself with a solicitor?
Many thanks Victoria

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Please provide some background information on your situation. Please can you also tell me how long you have worked there for? Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have worked there for 9 years and have always maintained a high work relationship with my client, I have been suspended for not following procedure, although I have always fully justified why i didn't to my boss, which was excepts me until now, now suspended a collegue is soiling my reputation telling lies to my boss. Which isn't helping my situation

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Many thanks for your patience. 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.

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.

At this stage you cannot take any legal action against the employer because that can only happen once your employment terminates, whether by dismissal or resignation.

If you were to take any action against the colleague then that would be under the law of defamation. You can do this if needed but this can be quite complex and unlikely to be the right thing to do here.

So you are best advised to see where the employer takes this first – if they discipline then you can formally defend yourself and appeal the outcome. If they do not and they drop the matter – then that should be the end of it and in turn you can raise a formal grievance against the colleague to complain about their actions.

Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the lae of defamation if you are interested in it. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response, I feel at this stage it's my word against another's, and my reputation is what I'm most worried about. Also would the company help if I returned to work when managing this person?
If my disciplinary goes wrong how do I fight it to save my job?Many thanks

If the employer cannot immediately tell who is wrong and who is not, then they should tread carefully when deciding on how to help you return to work, so that they are not seen to punish the other person in the process, or vice versa. So maybe they can try and change things around a bit to ensure you do not have any direct contact but without actually treating either of you detrimentally in the process.

In the disciplinary you will be able to provide whatever defences you believe are relevant to counter the allegations, including calling witnesses. You can appeal the outcome as well and a new independent manager will consider that. But as far as a decision by the employer is concerned to be able to justify that as being fair they would need to ensure they follow a fair procedure.

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 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.

As mentioned, 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.

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