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Disciplinary Hearing Headache

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I'm having some problems at work. I'm employed by a large (500 seats) services company where I work on various projects for external clients.


Back in August I was the focus of a disciplinary hearing in which I was blamed for a whole bunch of mistakes, some of which I admitted that I'd made, others that had been made by other people in our department. I argued my case but still got a written warning because I admitted that I'd made 'some mistakes'.


In the run up to the disciplinary hearing I had a meeting with my manager to discuss the mistakes before the hearing, he didn't tell me this was leading to a hearing but in hindsight I can see that this was an investigation.




On December 12th I overslept because of some family problems and called the client to let them know and then dealt with a major issue they were having with another company – whilst I was dealing with this issue my line manager called to moan at me for not calling him first. An hour or so later he calls again and says the matter is going to HR.


I was told that I'll likely either be dismissed or demoted over this in a disciplinary hearing on the 17th December, but they've adjourned things until 5th January, because they ‘didn’t want to do anything before the holidays’. They said they don't think I'm capable of working in a customer-facing role.


I am concerned that firstly I was made a scapegoat in the first hearing, although I didn't appeal at the time it has now come back to bite me.


I'm also unsure if my company has been 'procedurally unfair' because they didn't seem to conduct a proper investigation on 12th December. My line manager spoke to me at 7:45am on that morning as I said, and then emailed HR at 9:23am. I got the email from HR at 12:17pm - my line manager made no effort to find out whether there were any mitigating circumstances or to ask me further questions between speaking to me at 7:45am and emailing HR at 9:15am. My line manager didn't say that I'd been dealing with an issue for the client in the evidence he submitted, even though i know he definitely heard me on this because he asked for clarification on what I said whilst we were speaking on the phone. So his evidence was slightly biased too.


My other concern is that in both hearings the HR manager and my line manager left the room after hearing my side of the story, which implies they’re discussing what action to take.


I’m putting the facts together now so I can appeal and raise a grievance.


I know employers aren’t obligated to investigate issues, but is it right that they can take this level of action based on one person’s evidence, not do an investigation, and then involve the person who submitted the iffy evidence in whatever decision they might reach? The last point is one I’m struggling to find an answer on.


Any help would be really appreciated.

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How long have you been employed by your present company?


Have you checked your Contract of Employment?


What is the Company policy if you are going to be late for work (as you were working on client project and late do you have to inform company then client).


Please have a good look over the ACAS Website as very useful informathin their: www.acas.org.uk/


Now as you have already had a disciplinary I assume that they gave you a copy of the Disciplinary Procedure (and not whats in a company staff/employee handbook as this will be a shortened version) and that they explained that you had the right to be accompanied by either a work colleague or union rep.


I am also concerned by your comment that they told you that you would either be dismissed or demoted as this is already pre judging the outcome. (was this mentioned verbally and any witnesses or better in writinng which I doubt but must ask).


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no appeal = you accepted the warning


warning + going AWOL is not great... you don't need to raise a greivance, that'll just make you look difficult. You need to state your case at the hearing, concisely, and demonstrate how you have taken steps to ensure ti will not happen again.

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The company are under an obligaiton to investigate as part of the disciplinary process. However, there is a lengthy period of time between the incident and the disciplinary hearing, so plenty of time to investigate it. They ordinarily would need to investigate before moving to a disciplinary hearing - however in this case, you were AWOL, so it's clar grounds for disciplinary action. Mitigation is something you will be given the chance to discuss at the hearing, they don't need to listen to this beforehand. So so far, it's not procedurally unfair.


You need to find out who is doing the investigation and who is holding the disciplinary hearing. If your line manager investigated and presented his findings to HR, then logically they would need to talk together about those findings.


All the person holding the hearing has to do is make a decision in the balance of probabilities as to your guilt. You were late by your own admission, so you need to focus on mitigation. It's also too late to appeal the first warning, so I'd suggest working on the mitigating circumstances to try to keep your job.


Also - unless they have the contractual right to do so, demotion is usually unlawful. However, if its put to you as an alternative to dismissal, that's a practical decision as to which you'd ather take!

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