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Advice needed, stage 3 hearing


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Hello,

I hopw someone can help with some advice.

I am on a stage 3 hearing in January. Gross misconduct in relation to workplace systems use.(emails and internet ussage).

 

I was suspended pending an investigation on my internet useage at work. Long story short, I was using the internet for personal use and they deemed it excessive. (they do allow perosnal use at work).

 

I need to know where I stand on a legal basis on the following:-

 

  • I was suspended at a meeting I was told was just for a 'catch up'. I wasn't told what the meeting was for or that I could have a representative there.
  • I was not given a copy of the policy I had breached or the discipline regs and had to ask for them at the meeting.
  • My emails over the past year have been recovered. They are ALL internal with another 2 members of staff, private and do not bring the organisation into disrepute with any outside bodies.
  • My internet useage I admit was for personal use, however their policy does not state what is excessive or specifically disallowed.

I have been with the employer for 12 years without ANY problems before so believe this should have been dealt with on a lower level at first and informed of any investigation.

It has become apparent that an investigation was being carried out BEFORE I was informed.

Is this allowed?

 

Any help or advice would be greatly apprecated.

 

Thank you.

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Hello,

I hopw someone can help with some advice.

I am on a stage 3 hearing in January. Gross misconduct in relation to workplace systems use.(emails and internet ussage).

 

I was suspended pending an investigation on my internet useage at work. Long story short, I was using the internet for personal use and they deemed it excessive. (they do allow perosnal use at work).

 

I need to know where I stand on a legal basis on the following:-

 

  • I was suspended at a meeting I was told was just for a 'catch up'. I wasn't told what the meeting was for or that I could have a representative there.
  • I was not given a copy of the policy I had breached or the discipline regs and had to ask for them at the meeting.
  • My emails over the past year have been recovered. They are ALL internal with another 2 members of staff, private and do not bring the organisation into disrepute with any outside bodies.
  • My internet useage I admit was for personal use, however their policy does not state what is excessive or specifically disallowed.

I have been with the employer for 12 years without ANY problems before so believe this should have been dealt with on a lower level at first and informed of any investigation.

It has become apparent that an investigation was being carried out BEFORE I was informed.

Is this allowed?

 

Any help or advice would be greatly apprecated.

 

Thank you.

 

So far, from the limited information you have supplied, I can't see that your employers have done anything wrong. Could they have done them better? Almost certainly, but I can't see anything illegal.

 

When you say that you've been suspended, is that to alternate duties or stay at home on full pay? It seems that your employers are taking the view that this is gross misconduct. Now that you have a copy of theiir policies, what does their IT policy specifically say about personal use? Is there anything 'untoward' in your use? Have you been running any kind of outside business activities?

 

One thing to remember about any emails, is that there are no 'private' conversations.

 

If you can provide a bit more background to this, it would be useful.

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these meetings if the end of the other 2 meetings were not to come to a disciplinary desision ie verbal written or dismissal then these meetings are preliminary investigations which does not require legal reps etc

 

i think they have suspended you while they investigate. a suspension itself isnt classed as a disciplin/slapped wrist.

 

if no untoward activities were done using their IT no competitor chats no flaming your company publicly etc then they have to show that IT was excessive to compromise work efficiency/performance for there to be a case for gross misconduct. as tje general rule is gross misconduct is illegal activities or activities which cause unfair costs to employer

 

still read contract and check IT usage to see if you were only allowed personal use during lunch and they found you using it throughout day. but this can be still defended using performance results to downgrade from gross misconduct to a verbal

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Hello,

Suspended on full pay at home,

they are calling it gross misconduct,

policy states that personal use is allowed but monitoring will take place. No mention of when or why this monitoring will take place.

I was running an outside business however I can prove this had no bearing on my performance or productivity.

 

The thing with the emails is that they were all between me and one other individual at a time, they were private and personal. My comparison is that if we had stood in the office and spoke then no one would be any the wiser.

Also the Information commissioners office states clearly that monitoring must be for a specifc reason and that employees should be informed when.

 

Porn was found on my hard drive, but on at least one incidence I can show I wasn't in the office. I'm working on the other incidents.

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Hello,

Suspended on full pay at home,

they are calling it gross misconduct,

policy states that personal use is allowed but monitoring will take place. No mention of when or why this monitoring will take place.

I was running an outside business however I can prove this had no bearing on my performance or productivity.

 

The thing with the emails is that they were all between me and one other individual at a time, they were private and personal. My comparison is that if we had stood in the office and spoke then no one would be any the wiser.

Also the Information commissioners office states clearly that monitoring must be for a specifc reason and that employees should be informed when.

 

Porn was found on my hard drive, but on at least one incidence I can show I wasn't in the office. I'm working on the other incidents.

 

Well I have to say that on the face of it, things aren't looking too good. Without knowing what the nature of your email conversations are, I think in light of the porn being found on your computer, these are probably the least of your worries, although you need to remember that email conversations like any other conversation at work can never be considered private and confidential (especially if there's anything that could be considered 'untoward').

 

With regards to the porn, you need to remember that employment law is not the same as criminal law. That's to say that there is a different burden of proof. In criminal law, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.

 

In employment law the burden of proof is different. It all comes down to reasonable belief. What this means is that all an employer is 'burdened' to prove is that they have conducted a reasonable investigation and that they have reasonable grounds to believe that the 'offence' occurred as a result of that investigation.

 

The test then is whether the dismissal falls within a band of reasonable responses from a reasonable employer. For example no reasonable employer would dismiss an employee for a first offence of coming back 10 minutes late from a dinner break. However, a reasonable employer would generally dismiss if they had grounds to believe an employee was stealing.

 

You get the point, the key word is 'reasonable'.

 

So, in relation to the porn found on your computer, don't taken it as a given that if you can disprove one piece of porn that all the other charges will go away. All your employer needs to demonstrate is that they have a reasonable belief that you viewed/downloaded the rest of the inappropriate material.

 

The way forward for you would be to work on the rest of the allegations. One caveat to this is that if there is any chance that you have downloaded some inappropriate material, it may be worth fessing up now rather than later. Either way, you need good quality advice from someone who is in full possession of the facts. You are not going to get that on the internet. If you haven't already, get your union involved. Ensure that you have the best rep available (which may not necessarily be the local one). If you are not in a union, see if they will take your case on (some will). If a union isn't recognised in your workplace then you need decent legal advice.

 

Get good solid advice & start preparing. One of the possibilities could be dismissal and it could happen soon.

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if this is your 3rd disciplinary then it is REASONABLE for the employer to believe that after the first 2 slapped wrists you havnt learned your lesson

 

its ok to have 2 jobs even if one is lets say being a consultant and the second being a architect where one job doesnt compete for the same customers

but the fundimental point is that while in job 1 your paid to concentrate on that job being allowed to use internet for non work activites is a gratuitous thing

 

you have to show that you were not abusing their gratitude

 

you making money out of their gracious internet access by you contacting job 2 customers to keep loyalty or seek payment is not good for you

your using THEIR ip address so any internet information becomes liable back to them so the privacy argument does not bare water

 

if you want to have private chats with job 2 customers do it at home

 

this is what will probably be said in the hearing and its valid to say so i hope you keep it in mind

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