How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70217
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I would need some urgent work related advice, please! In the

Customer Question

Hello , I would need some urgent work related advice , please !
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: In the last 3 years I have worked as a Senior Care Assistant for a private company . My work records are excellent . On Friday on my rest day I was called by my Manager and I was told on the phone that I am suspended from work and I am investigated for bullying and intimidation. Next day I have received a letter telling me in writing the same thing and today I was called again and being invited for the hearing tomorrow. I am in shock, I don't know where it all comes from and I don't know my rights. May I please ask if they can bring me to a hearing without having previous access to the allegations myself ? Thank you I am located in London
JA: Have you discussed the suspension with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: The manager herself called me and she didn't give me any details. As everything happened on Friday I had no option to contact HR over the weekend.
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: Full time employee , we don't have a Union . I work for a Healthcare Company .
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: That should be all, thank you
Submitted: 7 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

Is the hearing tomorrow an investigation or a formal disciplinary? Please note this is not always an instant service so I may not be able to reply immediately. Rest assured that I am dealing with your query and will get back to you the same day. Thanks

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
The letter is headed : disciplinary procedure - confirmation of suspension.
The letter say that during the suspension they investigate it. However , i received the letter yesterday and today they called me to attend a meeting tomorrow on Monday. I have no idea what statements and where all this comes from.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience. Being placed on suspension is not an automatic assumption of guilt and does not amount to disciplinary action. Whilst it can lead to disciplinary action, it is primarily there to be used as a precautionary measure whilst an employer investigates any serious 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.

The period of suspension should be as short as possible and kept under regular review. During that period the employer should conduct a reasonable investigation into the allegations against the employee. If the investigation gathers enough evidence to justify taking disciplinary action, the employee has the right to be informed in advance of the allegations and evidence to be used against them and be given the opportunity to prepare to defend themselves at the forthcoming 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.

It appears that this meeting is an investigatory one so you will not get details of the allegations in advance and it is just a case for them to ask you questions to try and get more information about hat happened, You are not defending yourself at that meeting. It is just used for fact finding and only if they eventually decide to go to a formal disciplinary will you have to formally defend yourself.

Does this answer your query?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question? You can simply reply on here with a quick ‘Yes, thanks’ and I won’t bother you again. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Hello, not sure if you are having trouble seeing my posts? I have not heard back from you since posting my answer and just need to know if your query has been resolved. If you could please post a quick reply to confirm I would be very grateful. Thank you

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Hello, sorry for me late answer. I attended the meeting, an informal and formal one in the same session, which means I ve been informed about complaints and asked to answer, to defend myself. Everything was taken from the context and exposed in the manner as a complain. My question is: are they allowed to do that? Were they not supposed to give me time to prepare my defense? Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 days ago.

Hi there, so did they treat this as a formal disciplinary and make a decision against you, such as penalise you in some way?Hi there, so did they treat this as a formal disciplinary and make a decision against you, such as penalise you in some way?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thank you for the prompt response. I attended the meeting on Monday and they said someone will contact me with the decision. I'm still waiting. I've been treated unfair and the complaints are fabricated
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 days ago.

Thank you. It appears this may have been treated as a disciplinary but that will become clear once you know whether they are making a decision to penalise you now, or just whether they are making a decision to proceed further and take it to a disciplinary.

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, which can be incorporated into their own disciplinary policy. Altogether, it means that a fair disciplinary procedure should be conducted as follows:

1. Investigation – the employer must conduct a reasonable investigation first. This could include interviewing the employee or other witnesses who may have relevant information. What is reasonable depends entirely on the circumstances and the nature and seriousness of the allegations. The more serious or complex these are, the more detailed the investigation needs to be.

2. Disciplinary hearing - if the investigation provides sufficient evidence of misconduct, the employee can be invited to attend a formal disciplinary hearing. They must be given prior notice of the hearing, including details of the allegations and any evidence to be used against them. They have the legal right to be accompanied at the hearing by a trade union representative or a colleague.

3. Decision - following the disciplinary hearing and once the employer has had a chance to consider the employee’s response, they can make a decision on the outcome. If the employer holds a genuine belief that the employee was guilty, then they can go ahead and formally sanction them.

4. Penalty – this has to be a sanction, which a reasonable employer would have taken in the circumstances. When deciding on the appropriate penalty, the employer should consider the nature and seriousness of the offence and the employee's length of service and disciplinary record. Unless the offence was one of gross misconduct, ACAS recommends that the employee is issued with a written warning for a first offence.

If there is evidence that the employer has not followed a fair procedure as outlined above, a grievance can be submitted to the employer to formally complain about these issues. If a decision has already been taken 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 termination.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thank you!
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 days ago.

You are most welcome and all the best

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Good morning. I received a letter and copies of all the complaints against me, as I have a hearing meeting on Friday. To defend myself on my own or to ask someone to accompany me . I know the complaints are not true and the staff been pushed to write. I have the right answer for the complaints and I can incriminate them. Thank you
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
It is the chance to defend myself, incriminating the others?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 days ago.

Hello again, you can use the evidence to defend yourself, but if you wanted to incriminate others then you should really be doing this through a separate complaint, like a grievance, rather than in your own disciplinary

I trust this has addressed the last queries you had.