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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 61145
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I need some employment law advise. Assistant: Was this

Customer Question

Good afternoon, my name is ***** ***** I need some employment law advise.
Assistant: Was this discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: no
Assistant: Does the workplace operate with employees, freelancers, consultants, contractors or with unionised employees?
Customer: yes the have all
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: We resigned from a job, after nineteen years, and the are saying that they want to suspend us to investigate prior to resignation date
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. Firstly, I need to ask some initial questions to determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

You say 'we' - is there someone else involved apart from you?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Yes both my husband and I worked for the company for 17-18 years. We resigned a month ago even though we only had to give them four weeks notice we gave them eight, they asked us to again extend to January. We became concerned that they were spreading negative things about us around the organisation so we resigned effective immediately, two minutes before we sent the last resignation letter, they sent a text saying they want to suspend us for an investigation. Today they have spoken to all staff and sent a letter saying we have resigned because they were going to suspend us.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Thanks and what do you specifically want to know about this, please?

 

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
I am unsure whether than can tell staff this, without sending a letter to us, is notice sent to them with immediate effect acceptable. Are. They not breaking confidentiality?
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
If we call you, have you got available time
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Are you still there
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

Sorry, not available for calls today so you can ignore that. To be honest, hey would be allowed to say this to the workforce, as long as they do not go into specifics about the reasons for suspension and any of the allegations or investigations they may have be conducting. Now that you have left, there is little you can do to challenge them over that as it would have been a case of an internal complaint directly with the employer.

 

However, they cannot do anything further against you, so they cannot discipline you after you have left or make any decisions such as dismissing you once your employment has already terminated through resignation.

 

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Can they say that there suspension text, was sent two minutes before they received our resignation email.
And in regards to the information shared with staff, they informed the staff that they are accusing us of fraud, and turning the company on its belly, this was said to the team of ten in a meeting.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

They can comment on when the suspension text was sent. As to the reasons for the suspension, it really depends on whether they had genuine concerns about this. In all honesty, the only way to potentially challenge them is to argue it was defamatory but these are very complex and expensive claims so somewhat unrealistic just for this

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you, I was concerned that they would want to ignore our resignation even though they have informed staff, and that they would want to say that their suspension text is what really counts.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Hi Ben are you saying that they can’t ignore our resignation, even though they have posted suspension letter. Am I able to apply for a job without the grounds for leaving be suspension
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

It is up to you when you leave even if that is with immediate effect. Al they can do is try to pursue you for breach of contract for not honouring the notice period, but that is questionable and rarely happens anyway. Your argument would be that you resigned with immediate effect due to being constructively dismissed (i.e. being forced to leave due to their unreasonable behaviour)

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you Ben, my last question for know is that I have heard that they are saying to staff that we have committed fraudulent claims, they have stated that under their management investigation, they will advise us as to whether they want to take any further action under their disciplinary processes. as we have resigned does any of this matter.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

They cannot discipline you once you have left so it will not impact you in any way

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Hi Ben can they give us a bad reference, or refer to the fact that we resigned on the 30th September but was suspended two minutes before we resigned with immediate effect.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 days ago.

There is nothing stopping them from doing it but depends on what they say, it can potentially be challenged. For example, in the case of Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd the employer provided a reference that contained details of an employee's alleged misconduct. However, they did not properly investigate these before providing the reference and the employee challenged the information in it. The court decided that an employer will be negligent in providing a reference that refers to an employee’s misconduct unless the employer had carried out a reasonable investigation and had grounds for believing that the misconduct had taken place. Conversely, had they referred to the alleged misconduct but stated it had not been investigated, it would have been acceptable as that would have been a fair and accurate description.

 

 

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Hi Ben
Thank you for your advice yesterday, my new problem is that even though we have resigned, they are contacting many people and stating that we were on notice to be suspended and then we resigned. They have informed all staff to not talk to us, by any means until there investigation is complete. Is there anything we can do about this? Should we write to them even though they have said we should not contact them. They have cleared our offices and asked that someone collects the items on Monday, including dropping back to them our lap tops phones etc. Based on the fact they have cleared the office, can I assume they have accepted resignation. Also we were thinking of sending a letter like this what do you think.
Karen
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
On Fri, 8 Nov 2019 at 10:23, Karen Gravesande-Hill <[email protected]> wrote:


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Karen Gravesande-Hill <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2019 at 10:11
Subject: Fwd: letter to Jamma
To: Karen Gravesande-Hill <[email protected]>




---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: daniella bissember <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2019 at 09:37
Subject: letter to Jamma
To: [email protected] <[email protected]>


Dear all,

It has been brought to my attention that defamatory unfounded allegations have been made by yourselves in respect of myself and Hugh around the reasons for our leaving Jamma Umoja after eighteen years of service.

Hugh and I made the decision to resign, due to being constructively dismissed, however it has come to our attention that we are being falsely accused of fraudulent behaviour.

Employment law states that employers are permitted to tell the workforce that we have resigned or been suspended, as long as they do not go into the reasons for suspension, any of the allegations or investigations they have been conducting. To our understanding, you have been in breach of the above, as we have evidence that you have communicated false accusations to the staff team, even advising some beforehand of your intention to suspend us, and the reasons why.

In the case of Cox V Sun Alliance Life Ltd the employer provided a reference that contained details of an employee’s alleged misconduct. However, they did not properly investigate these before providing the reference and the employee challenged the information in it. The court decided that an employer would be negligent in providing a reference that refers to an employee’s misconduct unless the employer has carried out a reasonable investigation. Conversely, had they of referred to misconduct but stated it had not been investigated, it would have been acceptable as that would have been a fair and accurate description. We have evidence that suggests that you have advised several staff members of our alleged misconduct, without this being properly investigated, which is defamation of character.

It is for this reason that we have sought legal advice. This letter serves as a written warning to refrain from making uncorroborated statements regarding our conduct while employed by yourselves, as this was never properly investigated by yourselves, nor is it founded. We have reason to believe that the false claims made by yourselves have been raised for an ulterior motive, and we intend to take this matter further.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

As far as you are concerned, you should proceed on the basis that you have resigned with immediate effect and are no longer employed by them. On that basis, you are no longer bound by their rules and procedures and if they ask you not to contact colleagues, then they no longer have the power to force you to do anything like that.

 

As to the letter I would probably remove the paragraph which I gave you (with the case law) as that is only relevant to references, not communications internally to other staff

 

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Good morning Ben thank you again, I was wondering whether you had any case law we could put in that is more relevant, re communication with staff
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
{
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Hi Ben this a copy of the letters sent to all my staff, are they right to say all this, even though I resigned. It appears that they are suggesting other. We had also been replaced as this news was also shared on the same day.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

I cannot give more concrete case law as that would involve legal research which takes quite some time and won’t be covered under our services. The contents of the letter you could argue that they may amount to defamation but to be honest it is unrealistic you can make a claim about them, it is way too complex and expensive and you should just use it as grounds to approach the employer to challenge them over what they said.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Can you please advise on the attached email trail.
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
1
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 days ago.

Please be specific about the queries you have about these?

Customer: replied 2 days ago.
Hi Ben, I am checking whether our responses are appropriate. As they are trying to say that our resignation is up for interpretation.
Customer: replied 2 days ago.
Hi Ben please read the last email first followed the first email Which is our reponse. Can they say that about our resignation?
By
Dear Fran,

I don’t believe these matters are one for interpretation but should be based on matter of fact.

Can you please clarify, is the contact number on the Jamma Umoja’s website changeable?

I have no recollection at all regarding those allegations of any such incident on the 15th October 2019. I hope you investigated this before making a decision knowing it’ll have personal repercussions, are you able to provide any such evidence to back up such allegations as we are of the view this is completely is not true.

I do not appreciate being given such details regarding staff members activity whilst not working with Jamma Umoja especially if these or any staff member will face investigation regarding such claims, however as service director for the last 18 years I am yet to see Anthony King use Kat’s computer in the presence of the parties you mentioned above; so I’d advise fact checking and correlating information as this is quite serious allegations.

Many thanks

Karen Gravesande-Hill

Sent from my iPhone

On 12 Nov 2019, at 16:50, Fran Bulsara <[email protected]> wrote:


Dear Hugh
That is your interpretation but not ours regarding your resignation.

It was you that asked for staff not to contact you, so that is why I asked.

Karen’s number was suspended because it was the emergency number on Jamma umoja’s website as well as on your own Karugh website which was on Kats desktop worked on by you, Karen, Anthony King and Evadne on the 15th October 2019.
We had no choice but to suspend this number for obvious reasons.
Yours Sincerely
Fran Bulsara
HR Director
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 day ago.

If the statements are incorrect then no, they should not be saying them, but that takes us back to square one – what will you do about it, apart from just challenge them, because claiming is going to be somewhat unrealistic

Customer: replied 2 day ago.
My concern is whether they put that on a reference.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 day ago.

They can do but it won't be a fair reference so you can challenge it if needed, but it is best to just advise them not to put it in the first place