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Gross missconduct dissmisal after 9years unblemished service

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Hi,

 

My sister has recently been dissmissed for Gross Missconduct by her employer and we are currently pulling together her appeal documents. Below I have set out the story and circumstances as well as our approach to the appeal docs. I would really welcome any comments or thoughts on this one as we need it overturned ASAP. She is a single parent, with car and house and might loose it all if we can't get it sorted.

 

General Background

Its a residential care environment which includes strict policies on the protection of vulnerable adults. My sister started there 9 years ago as a trainee and has worked her way up the ladder to the point where she now manages teams of care providers across multiple sites. Her record is unblemished and she has had awards for 'above and beyond' the call of duty and the like. Her appraisals have nothing negative in nine years service.

 

Case specific background

Recently my sister was asked to accomordate another member of staff within her service area. My sister advised that she would recommend this particular member of staff, lets call her (A) should only work in a group setting becuase she had not been on all of the training required to work on a 1 to 1 basis with vulnerable clients. Senoir management ignored her recommendation and put (A) into a 1 to 1 role.

 

After a few months of working 1 to 1, (A) was put on 'Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA)' training. During her training when (A) was informed about the POVA whislte blowing policy, she supposedly made an alegation that another member of staff had pushed a client over.

 

My sister as (A)'s line manager was not made aware of the alleged allegation untill other members of her team advised her that (A) had told them that she had made the allegation and that it was now in the hands of the POVA trainer, who is also a member of the senoir managment, lets call her (B).

 

My sister questioned the issue during her supervision of (A) and was verbally advised that it was in the hands of (B). She then followed up with (B) a short period later (when she was having a refresh of her training) and was verbally told by (B) that an investigation had been initiated and that (B) was completing the paperwork.

 

My sister also raised it with her immediate boss © who said he would chase it up.

 

After a period of time, my sister was advised that an investigation was being undertaken during which she, (B), © and three other members of the team were interviewed. All six have since recieved letters requesting attendance at a disciplinary meetings.

 

During my sisters disciplinary meeting she asked if (B) had been questioned about the conversation they had. The committee admitted it had not put this question to (B) and have since done so. (B) was asked this question 9 days after she was informed that she may also be dissmissed pending a hearing. (B) denied the conversations with my sister. © also denied the conversation with my sister.

 

Additionaly, it would appear that the investigation has not included any evidence from the orginal instigator of the situation (A) who has been on sick for an extended period of time.

 

Our approach

 

We intend to raise the following issues:

 

The investigation was not complete or robust

My sister has accepted that she could have followed the procedure, but she did not do so because she had been advised by (A) that a more senoir member of staff (B) was undertaking it. Additionally, © was made aware and said he would check up on it.

 

We think the following are key points:

  • There has been no evidence gathered from (A) the orignal instgator of the issue. Her evidence would influence the balance of probability as to who is lying, my sister or (B).
  • The most pertinent question relating to (B)'s converstation with my sister was asked of her 9 days after she had been advised that her job was on the line. At somewhat compromised investigation we suspect.

The hearing was conducted without providing my sister with all of the relevant information

  • Statements from other parties have only been provided to my sister following the hearing.

The decision itself is unfair based on all of the circumstances

  • My sisters record appears not have had any bearing. She has in fact reported and supported other whistleblowers during her years.
  • My sisters only error was to rely on verbal discussions in a work environment which does not use e-mail. They have standards forms but not access to PC's.
  • Against my sisters recommendation, the senoir managers put (A) in a position where she did not know what to do in the event of a POVA incident. Has she done so she would have know to report it directly to my sis as her line manager.
  • New evidence. Get this. ©, the senoir manager who has now been dissmissed has now changed his mind and agreed to provide a new statement to confirm that my sister did raise the issue with him.
  • New evidence. Another employee has come forward to make a statement that they were in the room when my sis discussed the issues with (B), who is denying it.

I could go on, but I would really apprieciate your thoughts on this before Monday as that's when her appeal has to be in.

 

Thanks

 

Marmcc

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So did B not do the paperwork and follow up A's complaint about a staff member pushing someone over and is that why they're blaming your sister? What is your sister getting done for? They should have asked A straight away if she told B about the POVA incident and if B said she was dealing with it.She knows the truth so it's obvious.They have failed in their investigation. Or did B do the paperwork about the POVA complaint but the bosses are saying it was your sister's job and B's saying that they didn't have a conversation about B doing it and that is why your sister's getting done? If she's getting done because she allowed B to deal with the complaint then she should say that as B was a senior manager she felt that B was in control of the situation and she had every reason to believe that B was competent and qualified.She did consult with C who was her superior and she trusted that as a boss c would follow the situation up.

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When C makes his new statement plus the other employee that was in the room it will prove that your sister was told by B that that she was doing the paperwork;but is she getting done for the fact that she let B do it? If it's not for the fact that she let B do it then she'll be ok once those two speak up. If it's because the POVA incident wasn't followed up at all then it's B's fault plus C's for being too lazy to check what was going on and telling your sister.

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Thanks for your comments. They have made me think about the specifics of the reporting policy. i.e. does it say specifically that all staff aware of it an incident should report on it, or simply that it should be reported to a senoir member of staff. I think this will be important if they are claiming my sis failed to followed procedure.

 

Regards

 

MarMacc

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Hi,

 

We are now in the process of setting up a date for the Appeal hearing. I think the evidence is strongly in our favour.

 

I have been told that the other people involved have all had their appeals and been sacked. So, regardless of our evidence we are expecting the same treatment.

 

In the appeal hearing of other members of staff, the investigating officer and chair of the orignal disciplinary hearing were also present. These were heard by an Trustee who was not involved in the original investigation.

 

It would seem wrong to me that the investigator and chair are in attendance for this hearing, essentially we will be questioning the decision they made.

 

Does anyone have a perspective on this? Should we object to them being there or let it go and use it against them at ET ?

 

Regards

 

Marmacc

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I'd let it go.

 

Do you have a copy of the employer's whistleblowing policy?

I just did a quick google of 'pova reporting incident' and the first care home company I found specified in their handbook that an incident should be reported to 'Management' but did not specify a line manager or any other type of manager.

You might want to see if your sister's Company also make such information available online. Otherwise request a copy to be received before the appeal hearing.

 

As far as your sister knew this matter was being dealt with by 2 other managers. So, if her employers whistleblowing policy does not state that incidents must be reported to the line manager (and she acquires the new witness statements) it should make it harder for them to uphold her dismissal. Failing that it may be useful at a Tribunal.

 

I suggest that, as well as having a list of issues to raise at the appeal hearing, your sister should prepare a complete statement of her case to hand in at the end of the hearing. (2 copies and get one of the panel to sign her copy to acknowledge receipt.)

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Thanks.

 

I have a Whislte blowing Pilcy which states 'in the first instance to report it to a named Trustee'.

 

I also have a flow chart which is put up on all staff notice boards, this says if someone discloses an issue to 'you', you should write down the details and pass it on to a manger. The two policies are essentially contradictory.

 

In my view, if the mere fact that my sister is aware of the issue, (even when she has good reason to believe its being dealt with) means that she also has to report it, they would end up with duplicate reporting! My sister has been involved in 18 POVA cases (as witness and supporting colleague) and has never known such duplicate reporting.

 

The Trusts policy states the no new evidence can be accepted on the day, so we are intending to submitt a 7 page letter with 30pages of 'higlighted' evidence to support our position. We are intending to submitt this before the hearing, but we are requesting that it is held in confidence given it raises issues of competence of thoes who conducted the original investigation and hearing. (believe it or not my sister wants to go back to work there and so is consious about souring relationships!).

 

Regards

 

Marmacc

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Hi All,

 

A SUCCESS!

 

Just to let anyone who is interested know:

 

We submitted a 35 page appeal document, based around 14 seperate points which we considered revlevant. A date was set, then they cancelled.

 

A new date was set and my sister attended a hearing, with the original chair and lead investigator. Apparently the lead investigate started repeating question from the orginal investigation and was actively steering the discussions . . . . that was until my little sis advised him that this was her appeal against the decision which they had made and was not an opportunity to go over old ground. She requested that they go through the points raised in our submission . . ..

 

After point number 2 (both new evidence points which essentially proved that a senoir manager had lied) the chair asked for an ajournment. When my sis returned she was told that the two points of evidence of sufficient to completely exhonerate her and could she return to work.

 

My sister advised she would still like to consider the other 12 points but they said they had not read them and now had no need to read them. The remaing 12 points all highlighted their organisational failings and the failings of the investigator and procedures etc. Anyway, my sister raised concerns and had them minuted that she now become a target due to issues we raised and they have promised a 'clean slate'.

 

She starts back tommorow, but I suspect it won't be long before I am asking for help regarding bullying and grievances !

 

Thanks

 

Marmacc

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