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Advice request re: disciplinary hearing


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Hi All,

I apologise in advance if this is a little long winded!!!

 

I would be most grateful for any advice on the predicament I find myself in work. I have worked in the retail store for a football league club for a little over two years since being made redundant in 2009. My working background of over 20 years has been in NHS middle management.

 

On the 7th December I was called into the Commercial Directors office, where the club's HR advisor was also in attendance. I was informed that my Line Manager had made a series of allegations of bullying in the workplace and that I was central to these allegations. They gave a number of general claims but no specifics. I commented at the meeting that until I had sight of these allegations I would not be able to respond but could only to refute all the allegations made against me. On questioning they said that the allegations related to a number of claims made over the last 8 months. I was shocked as I have never bullied anyone in my life!!! They also asked me about an incident where my line managers mobile phone had two names altered in the address book - in May 2011 - I admitted to my part in this and stated that it was meant as joke (which I admitted was in bad taste but that there was no malice intended) but I apologised profusely to my line manager the following day. I stated that I thought that the apology and the fact that it didnt go any further at the time meant my line manager had accepted my apology. Following the meeting i was suspended on full pay whilst an investigation was held.

 

 

On the 20th December I received a letter giving an outline of the allegations which were;

  • Acted in a maner preceived byn my manager to undermine and intimidate her
  • I indirectly threatened my manager
  • I lied to my manager regarding odering of friendly matchday programmes
  • changed my working hours on the staff rota
  • altered shift rota template

I was also to be charged with gross misconduct regards the altering of her mobile phone. The letter said that my line managers statement in support of her grievance (this was not included)

 

I responded requesting the documentation and that i refute all the allegations made against me. With regards to the Gross misconduct charge I stated that a claim of GM could not be sustained some seven and a half months after the event.

 

I have had a hearing 10th jan cancelled due to illness of the HR Advisor, I have given the club alternative dates. I do have union representation.

In an off the record conversation with the HR Advisor he said that i could take the informal option of resigning or to take the formal route of a disciplinary meeting. I stated that this was not an option as i would be seeking to clear my name.

 

I can counter all the allegations made against me and am resonably comfortable with defending myself against these (with union representation)

 

I feel as though the have not heard or have tried to hear my side of the story, nor have they I believe conducted an ivestigation surrounding this (as they have claimed) The thing that bothers me is that they are intent on the GM charge, do you think that they can bring this charge against me nearly 8 months after the event? I feel as though they are using this as a stick to beat me with as it would be far easier for them if I did resign.

 

Any advice would be gratefully received as I only have limited time to discuss with my union rep.

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The thing that bothers me is that they are intent on the GM charge, do you think that they can bring this charge against me nearly 8 months after the event?

 

No, shouldn't think so. The matter was known about at the time of the phone incident.

 

An employer can bring forward allegations at a much later stage than an "incident" - but only if they have only just found out about it. So say someone steals £200 and the employer finds out a year later, they can bring a case. But if they know about the theft and do nothing at the time - then they can't. Disciplinaries have to be timely - bringing a case that you already know about later on isn't acceptable. It is not a new cause for concern and is only being used to bolster the current case.

 

(this advice was given to me a while back by an employment lawyer who used to post on here)

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Did they know about it though? It sounds to me like the Line Manager only just told the senior management about the mobile phone as part of her more recent grievance claim.

 

DNJ, I'm not trying to say that you're guilty of anything - just trying to establish the facts.

"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller

 

"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett

 

If I've been helpful, please click my star. :oops:

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Did they know about it though? It sounds to me like the Line Manager only just told the senior management about the mobile phone as part of her more recent grievance claim.

 

 

DNJ, I'm not trying to say that you're guilty of anything - just trying to establish the facts.

Hi laughing girl,

I am unsure whether management did know about this before they received my line managers grievance. This is one of the questions i will ask at the hearing and if she didnt report it, then the reasons why didnt she do it. Regards

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I am sure it doesnt make any difference if management knew about it until now or not, the matter in question is that the line manager knew and had raised the issue and received an appology fot this, and that was if i am correct some 7 months ago, which if i am correct again, leaves it out of date and not right that they should bring it into question now.

 

30stm is correct, they are only using to bolster a very weak case against you.

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Hi

Sorry to hear your story. My story is somewhat similar; however, I am much further down the disciplinary trail. I raised a complaint about something at work and a few days later an accusation! Which was related to an event which happend six months prior, everyone was aware, and no action even considered. It has been a very long and stressful road and there are many pitfalls you must be aware of.

Firstly:

The union have very little power. If your employer wants rid of you, whether you are innocent or not, you are going! Sorry its blunt, but the truth! What you can do is this - Read avidly you disciplinary policy, have they breached the policy? If so how? DO NOT make them aware! Your union will make them aware,then all your employer has to do is put the policy correction in place and youare still going! However, you will be going with your employer having followed all procedures. This is not good! The more breaches in procedure by your employer the better foryou if you are dismissed or resign claiming Constructive Dismissal, if you went to Tribunal.

Read the Acas code for Disciplinary procedures.

Did your employer inform you of the allegation prior to launching a formal investigation? If no, this is likely to be a breach!

You say the employer brought something up that was 7 months old. According to Acas they say that all inquiries must be as soon as possible before memories fade, which is key. However, if they claim they were unaware this is not a useful defence. What you would need to do is find evidence to show they were aware but chose to do nothing. If they did do something, a discipline sanction against you, then they will claim persistent breaches by you.

Do not resign until all avenues have been explored - Mediation, Hearing,Appeal, etc.

Remember if you are disciplined or sacked you have no right to a Tribunal even if you are not guilty and the accusations are false. You must gain evidence, or witnesses, to show what they have done has no basis or grounds on the balance of probability.

Does the accuser have any witnesses? Do you have any, to show otherwise?

Do you have house insurance to cover legal issues? If so great, its much better than any union!

My final piece of advice is buy a Dictaphone and record everything. It sounds ridiculous but I expect your employer will say one thing and write another. What they write is binding, what they is not. They will say things to make you feel at ease or confuse you. If you have a recording of this it will save a lot of stress.

 

All the very best

BobTooU

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