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Disciplinary action for poor spelling


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Good Morning,

 

I'm hoping that you can help me with some general advise. I've been asked by a colleague to attend a disciplinary hearing with him (scheduled for this afternoon) which has been called because he used poor spelling/grammar in emails - both internally and to customers.

 

The company have been very obstructive so far, in that they refused to rearrange the hearing (originally scheduled for last week) because they did not want me to be present with him. After pointing out their obligations under the Employment Relations Act 1999 they grudgingly agreed to rearrange for a date when I would be available - although my colleague had to escalate the matter to director level before this was done.

 

He's had no previous warnings from his line manager about his spelling/grammar and it's never been flagged as a concern before - although they previously took him to a disciplinary for not following procedure (a different issue altogether) and I successfully helped him to have the matter dropped at the hearing as they had never informed him of the procedure. It seems they are simply looking for an excuse to get rid of him.

 

He has been informed by the HR department that he faces dismissal if this complaint about his spelling/grammar is upheld, despite the first he heard about any issue being an "investigation" meeting held 2 weeks ago during which he was basically told his spelling was unacceptable and they would discipline him - not really an investigation!

 

The biggest irony is that the letter giving the time/date of the hearing is riddled with errors - 3 spelling errors and 2 grammar errors that I have picked up on. Emails exchanged with his manager and HR have also contained lots of mistakes and typo's (from them) and to me the whole case seems farcical

 

Just looking for some advise really as to how we should deal with this during the hearing - they're bound to go in all guns blazing as they did with the last hearing, perhaps more so because we pulled them up on a legal issue with refusing to rearrange the hearing.

 

Any tips greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers!.

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Hi Meteor

 

Welcome to CAG

 

The guys will advise as soon as they are available.

 

If his grammer was an issue the employers should have flagged it up and said they require an improvement within 3 months, then review it. It does sound like

victimisation.

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It is perfectly permissible to take disciplinary action against someone for poor or careless standards of communication - but a dismissal, if there are no other disciplinary warnings in effect, would be utterly impossible to justify at a triibunal. And it would be relatively laughable if the tribunal's evidence included formal communications from the employer with regard to the matter which included spelling errors and typo's! But, assuming that he is not already on a final warning - it might be best if they did sack him now. That isn't being cruel - but based on what you say is the case against him, it would be such a ludicrous position for the employer to defend that they would stand no chance. Whereas if he only got a warning, even a final warning, the next "issue" for which he is dismised would be the one that the tribunal considered (not the earlier ones) and this one might be better justified.

 

I have checked my response for spelling, grammar and typo's - any errors are my PA's fault!

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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At the risk of being facetious....

 

"typo's" ???

 

:wink:

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Good Post, 8-)

 

It is perfectly permissible to take disciplinary action against someone for poor or careless standards of communication - but a dismissal, if there are no other disciplinary warnings in effect, would be utterly impossible to justify at a triibunal. And it would be relatively laughable if the tribunal's evidence included formal communications from the employer with regard to the matter which included spelling errors and typo's! But, assuming that he is not already on a final warning - it might be best if they did sack him now. That isn't being cruel - but based on what you say is the case against him, it would be such a ludicrous position for the employer to defend that they would stand no chance. Whereas if he only got a warning, even a final warning, the next "issue" for which he is dismised would be the one that the tribunal considered (not the earlier ones) and this one might be better justified.

 

I have checked my response for spelling, grammar and typo's - any errors are my PA's fault!

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At the risk of being facetious....

 

"typo's" ???

 

:wink:

 

I have no idea where the squiggly thing came from, since I wouldn't even know where it is on the keyboard! I am blaming CAG for inserting it in secret!

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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I think it is CAG, SarEl. There's one next to 'dismissal' on the same post from you.

 

HB

 

Well spotted - and I definitely didn't put in the ® after CAG either. Obviously CAG's computer can't "spell" either. Perhaps we should dismiss it :-)

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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I have no idea where the squiggly thing came from, since I wouldn't even know where it is on the keyboard! I am blaming CAG for inserting it in secret!

 

I thought you were being picked up on the apostrophe before the 's' to be honest. I think 'typo' is generally accepted as a word in its own right, so the plural would be 'typos'... but as 'typos' is essentially a contraction of 'typographical errors' then I think you could probably argue that you were right to include the apostrophe :)

Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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I thought you were being picked up on the apostrophe before the 's' to be honest. I think 'typo' is generally accepted as a word in its own right, so the plural would be 'typos'... but as 'typos' is essentially a contraction of 'typographical errors' then I think you could probably argue that you were right to include the apostrophe :)

 

Ah well, you see... my Welsh English teacher (if you see what I mean) always told us that apostrophies are used in contractions, and she still scares the hell out of me more than 30 years later! Mrs Humphries was a scary woman if you butchered the language!

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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Yeah but it's a plural not a contraction to be honest.

The above post constitutes my personal opinion on the facts in the post compared with my personal knowledge of the applicable legislation. I make no guarantees of its legal accuracy. If you are in doubt seek advice of a legal professional specialising in the area concerned.

 

If my post has helped you please click my scales!

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Apostrophes were the last thing on my mind when I had contractions :roll:

 

(Sorry, couldn't resist )

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Yeah but it's a plural not a contraction to be honest.

 

I really apologise to the OP for continuing this, but one of my English teachers drummed into us that 'os' as an ending plural was only for musical instruments.

 

What's it a plural of, ForestChav?

 

Btw, SarEl, I bet Mrs Humphries would be scared of you now! :)

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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honeybee13: simple, one typo, two typos. Same as one apple, two apples. :)

The above post constitutes my personal opinion on the facts in the post compared with my personal knowledge of the applicable legislation. I make no guarantees of its legal accuracy. If you are in doubt seek advice of a legal professional specialising in the area concerned.

 

If my post has helped you please click my scales!

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Is it simple? What about the musical rule? I thought typo was a typographical error, am I wrong?

 

'Typo' is short for 'typographical error' but I don't think an apostrophe would be needed before the 's' as 'typo' is generally accepted as a word in it's own right.

 

Furthermore, the OED makes no comment regarding the plural of 'typo', which would indicate that it's regular, i.e. 'typos'.

 

I battle with typos all day; a typo's fate is sealed with my red pen; it's all typos' fates...

Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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By the way... I think we're a little off topic, but I'm laying my blame firmly with the mod who started it! :-)

Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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the normal course of action in this case would be the employer calling the employee into the office and stating that the standard of work is unexceptable.

 

it would be on the employer then to arange staff traning to bring the employee up to standard without any discipline proceedure

 

only after that is when more action can be taken

 

this is laughable and i would take out a grievance against the manager who instigated this

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By the way... I think we're a little off topic, but I'm laying my blame firmly with the mod who started it! :-)

 

Whoops! Sorry :oops:

 

Anyway - back on topic. This is laughable, but as already pointed out, whilst the employer is perfectly entitled to challenge the spelling and grammatical accuracy of communication to those outside the organisation in the interests of professionalism, a disciplinary at the first stage is ridiculous, however care does need to be taken that this is not part of a bigger picture.

Edited by Sidewinder
Bringing thread back to OP's point

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

 

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If I have been helpful in any way - please feel free to click on the STAR to the left!

 

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'Typo' is short for 'typographical error' but I don't think an apostrophe would be needed before the 's' as 'typo' is generally accepted as a word in it's own right.

 

 

In the interest of fairness, It should be "in its own right".

 

Please don't anyone cheeck my speeling! :)

 

As said earlier, sacking someone for bad spelling, while spelling badly yourself would be laughed out of court surely; and it's the type of thing the press might enjoy reporting on too.

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the normal course of action in this case would be the employer calling the employee into the office and stating that the standard of work is unexceptable.

 

it would be on the employer then to arange staff traning to bring the employee up to standard without any discipline proceedure

 

only after that is when more action can be taken

 

this is laughable and i would take out a grievance against the manager who instigated this

 

Whilst this is technically correct in terms of accepted good practice, as I said before, unless the disciplinary were to result in dismissal, it couldn't be challenged external to the employer, so what might be accepted practice doesn't enter into it. Tribunals can only consider the "cause" of a dismissal, not prior events that may have led up to it. So if the OP's colleague was given a warning, other than appealing (which I wouldn't hold my breath over) there is nothing they could do and the warning would be a matter of record. If they were subsequently dismissed, say, for lateness, the tribunal could only consider "was this person on a final awarning and were they actually late". It's a common strategy were an employer really wants to get rid of someone - to wrack up minor disciplinaries because they cannot be considered when it comes to the tribunal, only the final one.

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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The OP could ask for each employees E-mails over the last year, pointing out each and every grammatical error, it would clearly be a case of victimisation, I'm sure the management have many errors in theirs.

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