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Suspended from Work - Advice


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Guys,

 

Does anyon have any advice they can lay on me?

 

Quick background story can be found here

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/parking-traffic-offences/233317-clamped-park-direct-ltd.html

 

To sum it up my wife spoke to a reporter from our local paper and told him what happend. This has now been published, however my wife has been suspended from work pending an investigation.

 

The reasons given that she talked to the paper. This is apparently a breach of contract. Now I understand, it may be if she talked about company business. However she has not. She only talked about the clamping, and obviously mentioned the company that she works for.

 

Now, am I right in thinking that they can't dismiss her for talking to the press? Also is there any other advice that I can give her.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

K

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Length of service is very importnant - what is it? If under one year generally cant claim unfair dismissal unless asserting a statutory right. Cant think what that would be if it is under a year - there is a remote possibility of PIDA (whistleblowing) but I doubt it.

 

This may be regarded as bringing employer into disripute as the employer now has a lot of bad press I guess.

Edited by Offkey81
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So can caim unfair dismissal If dismissal occurs, but that is a long probably a bit away at the moment as there should be an investigation (burchill vs BHS). Following this they should call to a disciplinary to put her side across before any action is taken.

 

The employer has a band of reasonableness that they must be within - e.g they are not judged on what the ideal employer would do. This makes employment law a bit hit and miss at times and I presume contributes to the lack of no win no fee solicitors in employment law (as well as the costs issue of course).

 

The best thing to do at mo would be to prepare for any hearing as you cannot legislate for what the emplyer may do..... from my experience I would hope this would not lead to a dismissal but it is possiblity - it depends on the facts and how the story was portrayed - I have seen people sacked fairly for doing less.

 

Try not to worry though, and prepare, prepare prepare, get facts from them - e.g breach of what (this should be held in any forthcoming disciplinary letter but I would ask now for clarity anyway).

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any chance you could post the newspaper report?

 

Did it quote your wife saying anything derogatory about her employer?

 

Is there anything in her contract that addresses a situation such as this?

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Here is the extract.

 

I have changed the sensitive information, i dont want this thread searchable for obvious reasons.

 

************* employees have been clamped for parking in their own company’s car park.

One worker was stunned to be told she would have to pay £232 to release her vehicle from the firm’s ********** car park and was driven by the clamper to a cash machine so she could pay up.

She was told by the clamper that she was the fourth *********** employee that day to be caught.

A company spokesman said the worker should have displayed a parking permit but was investigating why the company’s security team was not told about the clamping.

The 28-year-old employee, who has been working for ********** for three years, said she thought the action was over the top.

She said: “I usually park at the nearby gym and walk across but this day I was late and it was raining. There is much more space in the car park now because of the redundancies.

“I know that I should have a permit but I didn’t expect to be clamped. I think this is over the top.”

On phoning the clamping company the distressed employee was told she would have to hand over £232 to get her car released.

She said: “I tried to pay with my credit card but it wasn’t accepted so I was driven to ******* to use the cashpoint.

“It’s ridiculous – there must be an easier way to handle this. You don’t expect to be clamped outside your own work.

“We are all moving to ******** soon where parking is a major problem.”

A ********* spokeswoman said: “We take the health and safety of our employees very seriously and will be investigating why our security team were not informed of the clamping. It is regularly communicated to employees that unless that have a valid parking permit, they risk being clamped by the car park management.”

The management company at ******** declined to talk to the *****.

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I would be concerned, there are critisisms implying mismanagment by the employer (not just clampers) and that it may get worse (4 employees effected - the move making matters worse - "ridiculous" - "over the top" - "not expected outside work"). There is an argument that some info may be confidential (redundancies - as effect outward image of company e.g are they going under - the move is also mentiioned ). There is the fact that is she allowed to park in the gym car park, if not, she admitting to regular wrong doing and that she was late on the day. It has also lead to the employer having to waste one of its officers time preparing and providing the statement. There is the argument that this is the wrong forum - greivance not going to papers. There is the potential of breach of mutual trust and confidence clause implied into every contract and that could result in gross misconduct charge. You can also be fairly dismissed for "some other substantial reason".

 

I would be extremely concerned by this I have seen people get fired for a lot less - messages on facebook (that can only be veiwed by freinds not thousands of people thatr may use the buissness - and thus reputation is damaged).

 

There is one positive - she states she knew she needed a pass - admitting it was her error - but the rest of that sentence goes downhill and to use as a defence may not be beneficial. Was she misquoted? could you claim this - would the paper back you up - I doubt it.

 

An employer does not even need hard evidence to dismiss, they just need an honest beleif from a fair investigation.

 

Was this statement given in heat of the moment or at a later date after the incident, does she have any warnings, has anybody gone to the paper about them before and not been dismissed, was she especially angry as she could not pick up kids/disabled relative. Depending on the awnsers to these - push the positives and forget any that have negative anwnsers. Maybe throw yourself on their mercy (may not work) or state that the quotes of ridiculous were references to the clampers - but as I said, all they need is an honest beleif they were not.

 

If asked by an employer this question (with the limited facts available) I would say it was up to them but a FAIR dismissal would be a real possibility in the circumstances.

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But you know the employer better than I do and they may be leniant about these things - however - ancillary to this is the fact that if redundancies have just been carried out, they may wish to use this opportunity to reduce the work force without a redundancy payment (even though it would not be large by any means).

 

Good luck - I hope they are understanding

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