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Disciplinary Action, Breaching Contract.


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Hi, could someone please give me some advice as i am a bit confused about a contract and working hours.I work part time and have signed a contract of employment stating that i work 20 hours per week .My question is when is the contract in use and when is it not? When i am doing those working hours i.e 9-2 if i "clock off" at 2 pm am i still under that contract even though i have finished my working day.When is the contract in effect only during working hours??I'm sorry but i am a bit confused ??

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The contract relates to the mutual obligations during the hours specified. If the requirement is for you to attend work between 9am and 2pm then you are under contract for those hours only. HOWEVER, certain actions which take place outside of working hours may be deemed a fundamental breach of trust (eg Gross Misconduct) even when they occur outside of working hours. Examples could be an assault against a colleague which may cause disharmony in the workplace, certain criminal activities which may affect your ability to do the job (driving, working with vulnerable people) or be likely to bring the company into disrepute.

 

A contract may refer to specific standards of behaviour in the workplace, but it may also involve certain expectations outside of work. Not wearing a uniform outside of working hours would be an obvious one for which you were only under contract whilst in the workplace, however being arrested and charged for lewd behaviour and causing adverse publicity for the company might be deemed to make it impossible for continued employment.

 

No easy answer - it depends. A little more of a clue into the circumstances might make it easier to give an opinion.

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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Hi, thanks for the swift reply. The Breach if Contract is to do with staff searches and my refusal! i was on the premises leaving via staff entrance but the search was conducted after my Clocking off!! This is were i'm confused if i am still under the terms of the contract should i not then be paid, just need some clearance on the matter before i decide what to do,Thanks..

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The employer will no doubt have a search policy which should clarify the circumstances under which you may be searched, but I know from my own experience that the small print requires me to accept a search at any times whilst on the premises. Searches can be undertaken after I have signed out of a premises but not after I have left the premises, unless there is cause to believe that I may have removed property, in which case my vehicle can also be searched.

 

In many retail premises for example, staff clock out in a different area to the exit from the building, hence it should be specified or generally accepted that a search may be undertaken whilst on the premises, not necesarily restricted to 'in working hours'. If the search policy is not specific, then you should be entitled to raise a grievance to that effect. Similarly, if you clock off at 2pm and have to catch a bus at 2.03pm then you should be able to complain that the search policy is likely to cause inconvenience. Not altogether a good idea just to refuse without knowing exactly what the policy is and precisely why you are unwilling to submit to a search though!

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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Oh Don't get me wrong i didn't refuse the search(technically) i was actually in a rush to be somewhere very important (i won't mention were on here) i produced what i had on my person that can be clearly seen but i didn't stop i explained that i was finished..It's just i was in a rush but they are claiming that i did refuse a stop and search.Really all i am guilty of is not waiting in line.I was not concealing anything (It was just my Judgement was a bit clouded on that day which i explained)But as you know when you do make a mistake everyone else has the perfect Human Being Syndrome!

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And I take it you are now being disciplined?

 

If so, then you need a copy of the company's search policy and to raise a grievance about the fact that asking to search staff in such a way as delays leaving the premises can, and in this case did, make you late for an appointment. You produced the contents of pockets etc and stressed that you were due elsewhere. That, you feel did not constitute a refusal, but the time being taken, and manner of the search you feel was unreasonable on that occasion.

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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Yes i am being Disciplined,Thank you for your helpful replies they have been a great help! I will use that as a defence as it clearly states in my Fact finding Interview that i did have to be elsewhere and i stated that my Judgement at that time was a bit clouded..

Edited by reemism
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May i ask another question, I now have been informed of the date of the Disciplinary interview which is Tuesday(After Bank Holiday Weekend considering i got the letter today Saturday!) can i contact the Manager involved and delay the proceedings in order for me to gain a copy of the Company's search policy? Also to raise the grievance about the staff search do i need to do this before the interview or during?

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Yes you can. Although the employer does not have to accept an adjournment, it would be unreasonable to refuse without a very good reason. Suggest an alternative date to allow sufficient time to form a defence, gather documents and arrange (if desired) a colleague or Union rep to accompany you.

 

As far as the grievance is concerned, you can do this prior to the meeting so long as you are able to get a copy of the policy beforehand otherwise you are unsure of the grounds for the grievance. Strictly speakiing they should then address the grievance and suspend the DH, but they may decide to try and do both at the same time!

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There were also CCTV images that were shown to me at the time of the the fact finding interview, Am i allowed to have a copy of the images that were shown during the Fact finding interview?

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Yes, although you may have to obtain these via a SAR. They may have grounds to deny the request if the images also identify other people though.

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