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notrust

suspended for gross missconduct after returning from Paternity leave.

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Hi, I've stumbled accross this website whilst trawling through so many advise sites, acas etc. This looks great with good advise.

 

I have worked in a large garage group for the same company for 13 years. Recently a new manager has been appointed and within a month I'm now suspended for gross missconduct. It's seroius messed with my emotions, causing terrible stress, and upset within my family. Hence why I'm up at this time. I have not slept for a few weeks.

 

Anyway, this is what has gone off. As stated I've worked at the same garage for 13 years. I have no previous disaplinarys or warnings. I was told by my general manager that my manager was retiring. I started training with him to hopefully progress in the company. I was unable to complete a couple of training meetings due to the dates being very close to my sons birth.

 

I was told after returning from paternity leave, the position had been filled. I had not even been given the chance to apply for the job, nor was it advertised internally. Myself and most staff just presumed it was my new job. A little bewildered with this, I brushed it off and got on with my job.

 

The new manager arrived. First off he sempt OK. A little full of himself etc, but not too bad. I was very wrong about him.

 

The general manager and previous service manager gave all staff a goodwill gesture after no pay rewards quite a bit back after various changes in dealership ownership. The gesture was that staff could repair there own cars, friends and family UNPAID work on the premises. All members of staff have took advantage of this. Even to the point one member of staff has rebuilt/restored 2 of his own classic cars! This has never been an issue and management are always on site.

 

A few weeks ago, I went into work on a Sat morning. I carried out a repair for a friend, never though nothing of it as it's always been OK. There was a manager on site, I made myself aware to him, I even repaired one of his cars for free on the day. I did not hide, nor sneak around as in my knowledge I was doing no wrong, and obviously the manager on site thought the same otherwise, he'd of sent me packing!

 

On the Weds, my apprentice came over to me and told me I was in deep crap. He informed me that another member of staff, had told him I was up for suspension for using the workshop! I said, It's allowed?? He then informed me of a meeting held, while I was away on leave, that the gesture was removed. I said, if so, why have I not been informed and why did the manager on site not know. I was somewhat unhappy that my apprentice knew before me about a possible suspension.

 

I was then called for an investigatory meeting held by my new manager. This should of been called a finger pointing meeting! He accused me of theft, abuse of trust, health and safety, all gross misconduct. I explained, if he had changed to rules, he should of told me, and that there was a manager on site. He suspended me on full pay and said, he would consider mitigating circumstances. He did this on the only day possible where both other managers were not on site...How convienient.

 

I recieved a letter I felt was suspicious and proved the meeting already had a pre determined outcome. I was suspended very late afternoon, the letter was dated on the day of suspension, but refered to the day before. Obviously pretyped. I suspect they wanted to suspend me the day before, but due to the fact I was involved in a complex job, they waited till I finished it first.

 

I feel I have been targeted by the new manager. He has excluded me from meetings, which has led to my downfall. No outcome has been made about this, there are a few other issues, but I'm concerned about this one mainly. I presume they are dragging their feet to make me sweat.

 

It's working. I've had 3 occasions where I have burst into tears, I now feel I can trust nobody. I classed the people I work with as family, most employed there are long term also. It's really hurt my feelings. I believed I had a job for life, now even if this does blow over, I'm not sure if I could go back.

 

Any advise is welcome, and sorry for the long post.

 

Many Thanks,

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Welcome to the site.I have no doubt that our posters here will point you.

Meantime I will change your thread title to better highlight your issues.


Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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Hi Notrust

 

Are you in a Union? If so I'm sure they can help, but don't 'roll' with everything they say. I think you need to keep a diary of events leading up to events times/dates etc. this will be handy if you decide to go to Tribunal later. If it was the 'norm' that employees used the company premises to conduct 'family and friend' jobs, and the new manager wanted to change that policy, everyone should have been warned before any action was taken against anyone. So I think you've

got a strong case. What you need to do is get a statement from either an existing employee or an ex-employee who hasn't got an axe to grind stating that it has always been the 'norm' to fix 'family and friend'

cars. You can 'appeal' any decision they make.

If you feel you can no longer work there, then you could consider

'Constructive Dismissal', then take the company to tribunal.

It sounds like he wants to use you as an example to stamp his authority

on the place. Would I be right in saying you get on well with everybody

in the garage.

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Hello and welcome to CAG. This sounds very tough for you and I feel for you and your family.

 

Rebel makes some good points, but I would add that Constructive Dismissal is very hard to prove. Keeping a note of everything that happens is always a good idea. If you aren't already, you could base it on what you have told us. Date order is useful.

 

I agree that you seem to have been unfairly treated. Are there cases of other colleagues who did the same as you around the same time and were not disciplined, for instance?

 

I don't know if there are any issues around your paternity leave like discrimination, will try to check that.

 

Is there an HR department at the company and could you involve them? I would also suggest ringing ACAS's confidential helpline to talk over your problems. Another option rather than going to an ET [tribunal] would be to raise a grievance against this manager and your treatment. ACAS give guidance on that too.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi everyone,

It's the worse thing that has ever happened to me. As said, I believed I had a job for life. I have contacted my old service manager that was training me to do the job, and who I've worked under for 13 years.

 

He was amazed that a big company, the people that I work for, and the other management have allowed him to do this. He told me the same, "he wants to stamp his authority, and wants to prove a point". He is willing to say, as well as other members of staff that this was the normal practise of the company. I have contacted staff from 1998 who can't believe it who will confirm it was normal to use the workshop even back then!

 

I feel that the new manager just does not want me part of the team anymore. I think he might see me as a possible threat, and wants me out.

 

I have opened a grievance. I have HR fully involved and a member of Unite. I have raised a few issues with the new manager, but the above one is the one that could ruin my life. I have an untarnished work record, a very good name for myself and don't want to be applying for a new job if it comes to the worse, telling them I was dismissed for gross misconduct. ACAS have been very helpful and confirmed a possible constructive dismissal as it appears planned action to make me fall.

 

Honestly, I don't want it to come to this, I just want my job, want to work, and want to support my family.

 

Thanks for any guidence on the above. I don't know if I will get a Disaplinary hearing as it might just go stright to dismissal. I need to know I have a case for appeal and possibly to move furthur.

 

I am very liked within the workplace, have no issues with anybody.

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I always say this on these threads but...

 

Constructive Dismissal is VERY hard to get home on. Something like 95% of CD cases fail.

 

I strongly advise against resigning and trying to claim CD. If you want success in the ET, based on what you have said you have a good claim if they get rid of you.

 

If you go down the Constructive Dismissal route this may all change.

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Hi R&J. I'd prefer for not going down any route involving an ET. If they could reinstate my trust in the company, possibly relocate the manager, I'd be happy at that. I don't want to resign, but don't want a bad mark on my employment record, or name either.

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Not informing you of the change, then disiplining you, I would say they are on very rocky ground what ever you decide to do. Constructive Dismissal - each case is different, if events are as described and you can come up with evidence, you've got a good case. And from what you say, you can come up with evidence.

 

Hi R&J. I'd prefer for not going down any route involving an ET. If they could reinstate my trust in the company, possibly relocate the manager, I'd be happy at that. I don't want to resign, but don't want a bad mark on my employment record, or name either.

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Notrust, have the company followed their own disciplinary procedures, out of interest? Assuming you have a copy handy, that is.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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They appear to have done it half right, I was not happy that my apprentice knew before me, nor the letter had obviously been pretyped and the outcome of the investigatory meeting had already been decided.

 

I was wondering if the minutes in the investigatory meeting should be available to me? Should I off signed them?

 

As said, the above to me was a finger pointing excercise. I was just guilty in his eyes.

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I was not happy that they also waited till the minute I'd completed the complex job either. I felt used in all fairness. Plus, I was marched off of site like a criminal as he said I was a threat to the company.....Wasn't a threat until I'd finished the job though!

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Many Thanks HB. I've had a quick run through it already HB. Only part where he's been in the wrong I feel is it certainly was not held with an open mind! I felt sorry for the person doing the notes, I've worked with her for 13 years. She was shaking her head and even said to him, it was common practice for us to use the workshop.

 

It's most upsetting I can't speak to my friends at work. But I'm ensuring I follow the rules to the word at the moment.

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There is a clause in their disciplinary rules saying you can't talk to your co-workers?

Or they've simply instructed you not to do so?

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Just a thought, but have you spoken to the General Manager about this?

 

A similar situation happened to one of my hubby's colleagues when he was working for a large dealership ie new Service Manager appeared and new rules came into force, and one of the mechanics got a disciplinary for doing a 'homer' on a Saturday morning too.

 

The mechanic then spoke to the DP and after a huge furore with the workforce the 'homers' we're Oked again.

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I'm not allowed to speak to him, due to his involvement in the case. He is the manager that called it, a perk of the job. Because I have named him, and told HR he has allowed it in all the time I have worked there, they will not allow contact at all.

 

It's all very suspicious to me. I honestly thought he would of nipped this in the bud at a very early stage like your example. I think they really want me out.

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There is a clause in their disciplinary rules saying you can't talk to your co-workers?

Or they've simply instructed you not to do so?

 

Good call! I can't find anything in the proceedure saying I can't speak to people?? Can they do this??

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Probably an unfair clause - what if the co-worker was a family member, how would that work.

 

What about the big boss at HQ, have you contacted him/her?

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Unless there's a specific contractual term saying you can't contact your colleagues, they can't demand that you refrain from doing so.

You're entitled to defend yourself. If it will help you to establish that what you did was an established practice, I'd contact the manager.

What are they going to do, sack you twice?

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That's a good point. I've got the grievence meeting on Friday. I'll bring it up then.

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Have come to this one fairly late and it seems that you are getting good advice here.

 

FWIW - Agree with R&J - try to stick this out. If the new manager is being dictatorial, a CD case will be doubly hard to win so best to hold fast and see what happens.

 

As far as I can see you have no case to answer as regards the use of the facilities for private jobs. Custom and Practice dictates that such use was fully permitted by the employer over a lengthy period of time and you had no knowledge of a change in this policy. There are plenty of witnesses to that and it is a matter of record that you were absent when any change was notified.

 

There seems to be adequate grounds for grievance. Led to believe that you were due for promotion, suspension over a matter that you were completely unaware was wrong, bullying by the management (name calling, prejudice of investigatory meeting). Make sure that you stress your exemplary service, severe distress at being disciplined over a matter that could easily have been resolved with a calm head and more considerate attitude - there was after all no malicious intent and had the new policy been explained to you then you would have abided by it, and the rather bizarre instruction not to speak to colleagues.

 

I am sure that you will be OK - just shout and people will be there to help whatever the outcome.

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Many thanks for all your advise there sidewinder. It's has really got me down to say the least. I have now been prescribed anti depressants to calm me down. I never thought I'd ever need to be taking these.

 

Thanks for confirming I have a good case for grievence. Hopefully this story might have a happy ending. I need one to say the least. The grievence meeting is tomorrow. Would you say it was fair to ask them to investigate the manager under the harassment policy? Bullying etc?

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If you are on ADs as a result of this, and your new manager continues to make your life a misery you could potentially have a Personal Injury claim, and a claim arising out of the Protection from Harrasment Act 1997.

 

Just thought I would cover all possible bases ;-)

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