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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 51227
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Can I ask a question. My employer saved the company employee

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Hello there can I ask a question. My employer saved the company employee salaries in a common drive under the accounts managers name and I have stumbled across it when doing a search. I saved the copy to show an associate director in the company so it could be removed. I did also show someone else. I am being quested in some detail by the same accounts manager in quite an aggressive manner and he is stating I maybe disciplined. He is questioning everyone and it was his mistake that it was saved on a common drive. What are my rights here as apparently he is also the HR department? For clarity the sheets have not been removed from the premises or emailed from the premises they were saved to show my line manager the problem. But I did sadly tell another employee that it was there

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

How long have you worked there for?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Just under 3 years

When you say you told another employee, did you just tell them of the existence of the file, or did you open it and show its contents? Do you know if the other employee has accessed the file?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I told them about the existence of the file and saved a copy to show my line manager to report that it should be removed
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
The other employee had accessed the file

And this other employee - what was their position, would they have had the authority to access this file otherwise?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
The file was saved on a common drive and this drive was accessible by everyone in the company
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Nobody has the authority including me to see that except the directors and the accounts manager

Ok, thanks. Clearly, the person mostly in the wrong here is the manager who saved the file in the wrong place. Copying the file to show management to identify this initial breach should not have resulted in any formal action against you as all you were doing is taking steps to ensure that the matter is dealt with and the error is corrected.

However, you also told someone else about this and by doing so it enabled them to access the file when in normal circumstances they may not have been able to do so. Saying that, one mitigating factor is that the file was in a public folder anyway so they could have stumbled across it at some point, but you just facilitated that and ensured it happened, rather than leaving it to chance.

Therefore, there is a potential allegation of misconduct against you, but there are mitigating factors and it should only result in a warning at most, rather than anything more serious such as dismissal.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
A quick question does the managers involvement in the questioning of people - the one whom saved the file incorrectly - add any factors to this?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
That’s whom is officially questioning people for the company

There is obviously a conflict of interest there if he is involved in the investigation and there is a potential he may look to shift the blame on to you to avoid taking any himself. Therefore, ideally someone else should be conducting this rather than him, especially if it is a large enough company where there are other suitable personnel to do so.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you very much - last question if I get disciplined do I have a case to fight or challenge it on the basis of this and the other factors mentioned?

You do, but it also depends on the outcome. If you are issued with a warning, all you van do is submit an internal appeal and the final decision still rests with the employer. On the other hand, if you are dismissed you can consider an unfair dismissal claim in the employment tribunal and then an independent third party will deal with it.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for your time

you are welcome and all the best

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hello how do I ask another question on the same topic?

What is the question please?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi they sadly are proceeding with gross dismissal on the basis that they say I copied the files and as during the investigation I asked whom was HR from the owners of the company as I feel the process is not impartial. How do I proceed?

Have they confirmed you will be dismissed?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
They are in the process of formal dismissal and will tell me the decision today. I have been told by Vyvyan the HR manager I cannot speak to anyone else about the case
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I suppose the concern I have is I have no choice but to talk to vyvyan

Officially, yes you should only talk to the dedicated contact person within the company. If they proceed with a dismissal then the first you should do is appeal it internally using the appeals procedure you will be told about. After that, your only option is to consider an unfair dismissal claim in the employment tribunal.

Before a person can make a claim in the employment tribunal, they would be required to participate in mandatory early conciliation through the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

The purpose of this process is to allow ACAS to mediate between the claimant and respondent to agree on an out of court settlement in order to avoid the need for legal action in tribunal. The respondent does not have to engage in these discussions, or if they do and the talks are unsuccessful, the claimant will be issued with a certificate allowing them to make a claim.

However, if a settlement is reached, the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. Other terms can also be agreed as part of the settlement, such as an agreed reference.

To initiate the conciliation procedure ACAS can be contacted online by filling in the following form (https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage), or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####

If the conciliation process was not successful and you then wanted to make a formal claim in tribunal, you can do so here:

https://www.employmenttribunals.service.gov.uk/apply

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for the help how do I pay for the addition on this question?

don't worry about it, I will include it in the original fee as it was just a quick follow up

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you very much I really appreciate your help

No problem at all, best of luck