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stitch78

In a bit of bother - suspended

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Hi Folks

 

Have been reading some of the posts on here and am hoping some of you can give me some advice if you will please.

 

I, along with another colleague, lets call her "B", am currently suspended on full pay (since Thursday just gone) after being reported by one of my colleagues for a couple of comments on Facebook during a conversation I was having with "B" after a particularly difficult few weeks of work. Yes I hear the collective groans from you already, Ive seen that I'm not the only one to have suffered FB stupidity! I admit I made some comments, which on hindsight were silly and I accept a reasonable degree of punishment, however I do not feel that it is worth being dismissed for.

 

I made one comment which was referring to a manager (no names mentioned whatsoever) and another comment in which I happened to mention a couple of company names in abbreviated form that no one really would have known who I was referring to apart from "B".

 

Anyway, the comments aside, my issue is with the evidence that the investigatory meeting presented me with during the meeting. A statement has been issued from a colleague stating a brief overview of the comments made, and that myself and my "B" were being discussed on their lunch break and they were talking about "B"s moodiness in work and about her "relationship" with me both in work and on facebook in the evenings. The statement also says that the messages were brought up on someones phone to look at during their lunch and the phone was passed around several members of staff around the table for their opinions.

 

What I'm annoyed about is

a) why they were discussing me and B in that manner on their lunch break - there is no "relationship" and this has cause major problems with my fiance who is worried i'm having an affair

b) why it had to be passed around so much and discussed with people who don't even know me or know B.

 

From the statement they claim that comments about work have been going on for weeks and getting more in depth about work recently. This isn't true, yes we have sometimes said how rubbish our days have been, but there have only been the 2 comments mentioned earlier (about the manager and the company names) that have ever gone further than they should.

 

I accept my fate with regards to the comments on FB, I know how foolish it was and I will be grovelling on Thursday at my hearing and hoping that they see that I meant no malice, I'm not that kind of guy.

 

In my (partial) defence I have been having a tough time since I started this role (a secondment covering maternity leave). I have had poor training, Ive been pulled so many times for making mistakes that I don't even know I'm making because I don't know what the procedures are!? I've had minimal verbal training and then been asked to write the procedures myself! I have brought this up verbally with a manager but nothing has been done.

I have had complaints made about my work which have been made directly to my manager, instead of to me. These have been small issues that I could have rectified myself if I had been told, but instead the complainant decides to go straight to a manager.

In response, my manager has threatened to end my secondment because of this negative feedback I'm getting from others, but if no one shows me what I'm supposed to do then how can I ever improve my performance?

 

This manager who has threatened to end my secondment is in fact the recipient of that silly comment I made on FB. The colleagues who have been complaining to my manager about my mistakes are also the same who have been discussing my FB comments with their own team members. I feel like they've been nipping at me for weeks, and if I hadn't felt so belittled maybe I wouldn't have been stupid enough to make careless comments.

 

If I survive the hearing on Thursday with my job intact, there is no way I'd be able to go back onto that team, my reputation will be ruined by the fact that its all been made public to people who don't even know me. I worked so hard to get that secondment and I've worked hard whilst being there despite my lack of training.

My family life has been ruined because my fiance thinks I'm having a fling with B because of the evidence statement made, and the fact that I've had to work late some nights. I'm stressed, not sleeping, anxious, terrified of losing my family and my home.

 

I was considering putting in a written complaint about my treatment at work, but don't know whether to submit this to HR before the hearing as a separate issue or use it as a statement in my hearing.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, needless to say my FB is now deactivated!

 

Regards and thanks in advance

 

Stitch78

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I am afraid that there is a legal technical term for this - screwed. Sorry, but you have shut the barn door after the horse has bolted. The messages were in the public domain - that is how the other staff were able to sit around during their lunch breaks and gossip about you. Gossip which I regret to say, you brought on yourself. So if this is flavour of the month, you really have no cause to complain about your employer allowing it - the staff are doing what people do when they have time on teir hands (lunch breaks) and having a good old gossip about what you put "out there" for them to gossip about.

 

What you attempt as a mitigatio is your concern, but my advise would be that if you go in there blaming everybody else for what you did, you are very likely to be dismissed. If you had poor training, you should have taken this up with your manager - not the entire world on Facebook. You complain that others have gone behind your back to complain - isn't that just what you have done? If you have made mistakes, then you have made mistakes. It might have been handled better, perhaps by your colleagues, perhaps by your manager, and also perhaps by you - but they are still mistakes. Looking at this from the employers point of view, you seem to be nothing but a problem for them - and you do not want to come across in that way at a hearing by having a go at your manager for not having you trained properly, your colleagues for complaining about mistakes to your manager etc. etc. And raising all this now, after the event, is going to make it look like you are making up any old excuse to get yourself out of this.

 

My advice would be to own up to being stupid, say that you regret your actions and plead for them to do anything other than dismiss you.


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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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Mods, is it not time for a 'Employment Problems (Facebook) sub-forum?

I agree with SarEl, BTW.

I dare not, might get called a goblin.

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Mods, is it not time for a 'Employment Problems (Facebook) sub-forum?

I agree with SarEl, BTW.

I dare not, might get called a goblin.

 

Well, I did tell SarEl where you live, Pulpo :). I'd be more worried about being made into calamari in your place.

 

If there's ever a forum for FB, it could have a sticky from SarEl that starts 'You're screwed', couldn't it?

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Personally I am a kleftiko fan

 

But I agree with the sub-forum idea - perhaps we could name it after another part of the anotomy more appropriate for people who post their work problems on 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've forgotten what the Greek for octopus is.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Ha ha, i think there would be lots of takers for the facebook sub forum! Yeah i think you're right, i've only myself to blame, there's no point in trying shift the blame, looks like i'll be diggin out my grovelling pants!

 

Thanks for the advice

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Well done you for heeding the advice. I hope it works for you and please let us know how you get on. Good luck next week.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi All

 

Just a quick update from me, I had my disciplinary meeting this morning.

 

I have been handed a Final Written Warning for my part in these comments. I did dispute some of the details during my hearing, I felt the allegations had been exaggerated once I'd fully looked into all the evidence and thought carefully about what I'd said.

 

Anyway its over now, I don't think I will be appealing. I admitted in the meeting that comments were made and apologised for any wrong doing. I do wish I hadn't deleted my comments after I was advised to, as now in hindsight I feel that those could have proved that they weren't as serious as had been alleged. In addition to the warning I had my secondment terminated, I guess it wouldn't really have been possible to return to my team after all this.

 

My team mate wasn't so lucky and she received a summary dismissal. I really do feel for her.

 

I have certainly learned my lesson about facebook, I have reduced my friends to those who truly ARE friends, and needless to say there aren't many colleagues on there now! I have also learned that if there are issues with managers or the way I have been treated by other colleagues at work, then there are proper channels to air these views. Its been an experience, hopefully one I won't be repeating!

 

Regards

Stitch

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To echo what Honeybee said - well done for accepting the wrongdoing and learning from it.

 

Hopefully you can now move on at work and have it removed from your record in due course.


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Hello again and thank you for letting us know. I'm pleased for you, well done. And keep on being careful about FB, I'm sure you've done the right thing :).

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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