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Hi.

I was suspended today for using abusive/derogatory comments on social media site. Comments that may have been offensive, violent language. And that I have allegedly breach the communication policy.

 

There are various screen shots of these comments which were taken from my profile when it was temporarily made public.

 

My profile is anonymous, does not name me. Nor do I mention the company I work for or name my colleagues.

Someone has trawled through my account - as far as 10 months - and taken screen shots.

I had blocked everyone from work and it appears from the screen shots that someone I work with has used an alias email account to befriend me and then take these screen shots.

 

There are approx 50 "comments" going back as far as March. A lot of these are part of conversations and as a stand alone comment are harmless and none offensive. Put together they don't look good.

 

I've never been in any kind of trouble before and I'm really concerned. How do I approach the investigatory meeting I'm required to attend in the morning? I'm scared of saying something wrong that may make things worse.

 

I'm currently under a lot of stress at home, as well as with the office politics (that are referred to in the screen shots), I don't know how to handle this as well.

 

I'm posting this on my phone so hope it makes sense.

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You don't have to name your employer directly for them to use these comments against you ... Obviously people on your friends list will know where you work and that's enough these days to cause companies to accuse you of bringing them into disrepute etc. In future don't ever reference your workplace at all, especially in a derogatory fashion. Maybe a sincere apology may prevent you from losing your job, and a promise of never again

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Have you been given a copy of your company disciplinary procedure?

 

Are you able to take anyone into the meeting with you?

 

Has gross misconduct been mentioned?


 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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You don't have to name your employer directly for them to use these comments against you ... Obviously people on your friends list will know where you work and that's enough these days to cause companies to accuse you of bringing them into disrepute etc. In future don't ever reference your workplace at all, especially in a derogatory fashion. Maybe a sincere apology may prevent you from losing your job, and a promise of never again

 

Hi,

 

Thanks for your reply. This wasn't Facebook. The people I interact with are not "real life" friends. My account was as anonymous (or so I thought). I have never named the company etc or colleagues.

 

I'm worried about going in and apologising and that being seen as an admission of guilt and getting sacked for it. If that makes sense?

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Have you been given a copy of your company disciplinary procedure?

 

Are you able to take anyone into the meeting with you?

 

Has gross misconduct been mentioned?

 

Hi,

 

It just says I may have breached the comms policy (which could mean gross misconduct) though they did stress that this was just investigatory meeting. I asked if I could take someone with me as I'm a bit scared and I was told I could but its not needed at this point.

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How do you think they have identified you - and themselves if your profile is anonymous?


 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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Google acas code of conduct and have a look at the guidance for disciplinary and grievance.


 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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Any additional advice or opinions etc would be very greatly appreciated. I can't sleep at the moment, haven't eaten today and I suspect I'll be up at the crack of dawn too!

 

I'm not sure what format the meeting will take place in or how I stand with crying on HRs shoulder at the end - maybe just airing my own concerns with how my profile was accessed. I do feel like I was spied on and someone took the time to go as far back as they could.

 

I'm rambling. Sorry.

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How do you think they have identified you - and themselves if your profile is anonymous?

 

I think the person has found me via another social networking site (photo sharing site - nothing of any concern on this particular profile) - which can be accessed via FB - This is also private but has a similar name to the one I have used on the site I'm currently under investigation over.

 

Very silly of me to have similar usernames.

But because I had blocked all work colleagues and didn't plan to say anything that may be deemed out of line (I just want some anonymity and a place to escape) I didn't think it would matter.

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Hi

 

You also need to write (always get proof of posting) and request copies of the following:

 

1. Disciplinary Policy and Procedure.

2. Communications Policy and Procedure.

 

At the investigation meeting you will only be allowed to be accompanied if the Employer allows this within their Policy as its not law as it only an investigation.

 

Before Disciplinary:

 

* You should be informed that you have the right to be accompanied by either a work colleague or union representative.

* You should be given copies of the evidence to be used at the disciplinary and a copy of the disciplinary procedure.

* Before the disciplinary you can request copies of any further policies, procedures, document and any witnesses you may require to attend.

* If the notice for the disciplinary is very short notice i.e. 24/48hrs you can request by contacting the Chair of the disciplinary panel for an extension due to the short notice.

* Anything to do with the disciplinary should always be directed to the Chair of the disciplinary panel.

* Importantly keep a good paper trail if you post anything always get proof of posting.

 

This is the link to the ACAS Website: www.acas.org.uk/

 

and these PDFs may be of use:

Edited by stu007
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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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How long have you worked for the company?

 

Although the profile/comments were anon, could anyone have identified themselves through the information given in the comments? How unusual is the user name that you used on the photo sharing site and the one you're being investigated over?


"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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Thanks stu. Couldn't post links from my phone.


 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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Thanks Stu, reading now.

 

Hi Laughing Girl. I'm not sure about the name thing. I do know that that's how they will have found me. And they used an alias to access my profile, as you can clearly see the email address on the screen shots.

 

I've since searched for that person/account and they subscribed to my account the weekend before the Monday the screen shots were taken.

 

Hope I'm making sense!

 

I've worked for the company for 18 month. I've been very commited, been successful at various reshuffles as a result of redundancy etc. and I recently gained a promotion.

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I think you have 2 options

 

1. Come clean, grovelling apology

2. Lie and say it is nothing to do with you.

 

Only you know how likely you are to get away with 2) and how obvious it will be you from events and timings.

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Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Thanks Emmzzi.

 

Barely slept.

 

I don't think I can deny it. I feel sick to my stomach.

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Honesty is generally easier to live with.

 

So - union rep at all?

 

Read the comms policy inside out so yu are clear which bits you have breached?

 

When is your meeting?


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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No union rep.

 

The meeting is at 9.30.

I don't really understand the comms policy to be honest, even though, compared to some, its very basic.

 

It does explain Internet usage only between 12-1 but that could be interpreted as on company Internet from the wording. And it does go on go say the online banking, shopping etc is allowed.

 

They haven't been the strictest of companies and I think perhaps I (and my coleagues) have taken advantage of that.

 

I didn't, until yesterday, understand the bringing the company into disrepute line either. I feel so stupid and naive saying that now. I'm a grown adult in a good job and I should know this. I think because my profile was meant to be anonymous, I let things get out of hand and didn't think of the consequences of anyone seeing what I had wrote, and then laying them all out together.

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Lots of apology and seeing the light then, I think. They'll be asking stuff like, have you seen the policy? Do you click a button when you sign on or anything to say you have read it? And, is the social media account yours, who can see it, etc.

 

This is just the investigaory interview, yes? So you will also have a disciplinary at which to further state your case.


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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I'm scared to admit its mine, though I don't want to deny it. I'm worried that if I admit it, then it's game over. Though I have now deleted it.

 

I wasn't really aware of the policies until recently when I was involved in a meeting to review the policies. Though to be honest, within 3 hours we had reviewed 26 seperate policies and the MD himself stated that from the wording of the comms policy all staff would be in breach.

 

I've never signed anything to say I've read and understood any policy. There was no real induction to the company when I joined and I've had a lot of different managers and been put through a lot of change. No excuse! But I'm being totally honest when I say I didn't realise the impact something like this would have and also, because I had blocked everyone from work and anyone associated, I did not think someone would actively seek me out to find incriminating evidence. But I suppose I only have myself to blame.

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That's not a bad attitude to have - lack of awareness of policy and MDs comments may help! As will swearing never to do it again, account usually being flocked, only open to your relatives, etc


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Thanks Emmzzi. You've helped calm my panic a bit. And breatheee

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que sera - all you can do it make a good presentation of yourself. show remorse, and let it run its course. Don't fret over what you cannot control :)

 

Let us know how it goes?

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Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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How did it go annon?


 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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Hi everyone,

 

I attended the investigatory meeting last week and it was horrible. I cried for the full hour. I was asked about the posts I'd made:

Do I think these are appropriate in relation to the company - my answer was that I have never named the company, colleagues and nor is my name visible.

Do I admit that this was my account - I stated I had an account that I have since deleted and I also stated that I had blocked everyone from work and I would provide a list of the names of people I had blocked, so that they could see I was aware of those that are also on the same social media site.

 

I said I was horrified that this had happened and been brought to my employer's attention and that this was never my intention - to embarrass or offend them or anyone I work with. I said I understood they (the comments posted) look terrible laid out in the way that they are presented, but that this was a private account, often tongue in cheek - an alter ego almost. Some of the comments related to some office politics and bitching between 2 colleagues - though these comments weren't offensive, they just referenced how awkward it was. I said that I had been stressing about this and that because these 2 people were also my friends, I felt i didn't have anyone else to speak to about this and that's why I had made the comments on the site.

 

At times I felt I was being pushed to admit or say certain things and said that and was reassured that that was not the case.

 

I stated that I had been to see HR about the use of social media in the same week that the screen shots were taken because I did not understand the policy and wanted clarification. I mentioned that I was advised that as long as I did not mention the company direct, have my own name or colleagues on there then it would be okay.

 

I also asked who the person was who took the screenshots as you could clearly see the email address of the person who had joined the site and then my profile. On the same screenshot you could see our company system in another tab. The name of the person in the email has no link with the company so this just reaffirms to me that someone made an alias account just to spy. I asked who "forename.surname" was as this person doesn't work for our company yet the screenshots were clearly taken on a company laptop by someone working within the company.

 

Part of the evidence I was given had a statement that said I had posted pictures of company diary system - this was the corner of outlook express, which I stated is used by many people, at work and personally. They also said that I posted names of staff on a company system but I could see no evidence of this so I asked for clarification of this.

 

That was a week ago today. I expected to hear sometime last week but I did not. I emailed HR on Thursday to say I would prefer to have the outcome of the meeting sent by post rather than email because it was stressing me out checking my emails all of the time. I also mentioned that I was stressed out and anxious. The only contact I have had since is to tell me that if I go on the sick I will need to provide a fit note. When I rang HR to advise that this was not the case they were very curt and the call was short. I feel very abandoned and I'm not sure how I could ever return after this. Not that I think I'll be given the chance.

I know that colleagues have been gossiping - as they do - and I'm also aware that a HR org are visiting my place of work today. I'm expecting the worst and a really don't know what to do with myself.

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