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Dismissed for apparent "Gross misconduct", need some help PLEASE!!!!!


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I am a gas engineer by trade, I have recently been dismissed from work for an apparent act of gross misconduct by leaving a supposed gas leak. The long and short of it is, that a National Grid engineer attended a property after I had carried out some gas work (8 hours later). I have been in touch with National Grid and the engineer's van was on site for a total of 6 minutes (18:01-18:07).

 

In these 6 minutes the engineer had supposedly got his tools out, traced and repaired the gas leak, carried out all safety checks, and left the relevant paperwork?? For those of you not in the know, a gas tightness test (to check for gas leaks) alone takes 4 minutes, that leaves 2 minutes for the engineer to complete all the rest of the work/checks.

 

I know for sure that I carried out all the relevant safety checks, and there was no leak present when I left the property. The work I carried out was in a small pantry just off the kitchen, with a closing door. My guess is that the customer had entered that pantry, there was still a lingering smell of gas from the earlier work carried out, so panicked and contacted National Grid.

 

There is no physical evidence that there was even a gas leak on site, and no paperwork left by the National Grid engineer confirming this, just an email saying that a leak was repaired. As far as I am concerned the National Grid engineer could have told the customer he had repaired a leak, just to put her mind at ease.

 

I was sacked for gross misconduct on the grounds of probability, saying that I "probably" didn't carry out the correct safety checks, when I know for sure that I did. There is not one bit of evidence, apart from that email saying that a leak had been repaired, it is just my word against theirs. I have my first child on the way in 2 weeks, and would not risk my job for the sake of carrying out a 30 second check with gas leak detector spray.

 

I also do not think that the dismissal was fair, in relation to previous cases of gas leaks with other employees. There are two engineers still working for the company who in the past year have left open ended gas pipes (major leaks) yet they have been given final warnings. I was under the impression that all disciplinaries should be dealt with in an equal manner? Yet I have been dismissed on the grounds of "probability", without any physical evidence.

 

I have an appeal hearing on Friday, and help/information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Edited by Andyorch
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Hi, I am not familiar with the rules within the gas industry, but understand that safety is obviously paramount but I cant see disciplinary procedures being any different from other occupations in regards to the law.

Have a look at this link for any pointers that could be helpful.

 

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2177

 

Make sure you have all your info and points that you want to raise written down and dont feel intimidated.

Make sure you exercise your right to be accompanied by a colleague or better still your workplace rep or union official.

You didn'nt say wether you had any previous warnings for other issues that may have prompted them into a dissmisal rather than suspension pending your hearing?

Anyway good luck.

If I have been helpful please tickle my scales or better still contribute to CAG.

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Hi craiga20uk

 

Could you please give us some further information to be able to assist you.

 

1. How long have you been employed with the company?

2. Before the Disciplinary hearing were your rights of being accompanied by either a Work Colleague or Union Rep explained to you?

3. What was your dismissal date?

4. After the Disciplinary has your right to Appeal been explained to you and the time limit?

5. Are you in a Union?

 

Please have a look at the ACAS link in the post#5

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Hi craiga20uk

 

Could you please give us some further information to be able to assist you.

 

1. How long have you been employed with the company?

2. Before the Disciplinary hearing were your rights of being accompanied by either a Work Colleague or Union Rep explained to you?

3. What was your dismissal date?

4. After the Disciplinary has your right to Appeal been explained to you and the time limit?

5. Are you in a Union?

 

Please have a look at the ACAS link in the post#5

 

I have been employed by the company since November 2012. I am pretty sure that they followed the correct procedures in going about the disciplinary, I just cannot see how they have come to the desicion that it was classed as gross misconduct.

I have had no other disciplinary problems whilst working for the company, no verbal warnings, nothing.

I just cannot get my head around how they have come to their desicion, any why they would take the word of a third party engineer, over mine. Especially when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever, no readings, no details of where the actual supposed leak was, no paperwork left on site to back the findings up.

And as previously mentioned, there are two engineers still working for the company who left open ended gas pipes, which is far worse than what I am being accused of, yet they've still got their jobs??

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I understand you are upset but can you please answer all the questions stu asked, they are important and he is trying to help you!

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 understand you are upset but can you please answer all the questions stu asked, they are important and he is trying to help you!

 

I was dismissed on Thursday 21st January, and yes, I am member of the gmb union. Like I said previously, I think the company followed the actual correct procedure, and gave me opportunity to be accompanied by the union rep.

Man other thing that I am not happy about is that at the appeal hearing will be the manager to decided to dismiss me for gross misconduct, I thought an appeal should be heard by someone who is impartial?

I think all the other questions have been answered.

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Man other thing that I am not happy about is that at the appeal hearing will be the manager to decided to dismiss me for gross misconduct, I thought an appeal should be heard by someone who is impartial?

I think all the other questions have been answered.

 

 

 

When you say the manager will be present, do you mean chairing the appeal hearing or just being part of it? He should be attending to give the reasons why the decision to dismiss was taken.

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so, what does your union rep say?

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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In my experience appeals are usually chaired by a different or more senior manager.

Dissmisal for gross misconduct without prior warnings or disciplines, is the ultimate punishment and should be reserved for the most serious of offences.

You say in your first post that you were dissmissed on the grounds of "probability"

Decisions of this severity should be based wholly on "Actuallity" rather than probability. If the appeal decision is upheld I would suggest your employers are leaving themselves open to you taking the matter further.

If I have been helpful please tickle my scales or better still contribute to CAG.

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In my experience appeals are usually chaired by a different or more senior manager.

Dissmisal for gross misconduct without prior warnings or disciplines, is the ultimate punishment and should be reserved for the most serious of offences.

You say in your first post that you were dissmissed on the grounds of "probability"

Decisions of this severity should be based wholly on "Actuallity" rather than probability. If the appeal decision is upheld I would suggest your employers are leaving themselves open to you taking the matter further.

 

That's what I intend to do, I know in my heart of hearts that I done all the relevant safety checks to ensure that the property in question was left in a safe manner. I have had no other disciplinary issues or run ins with any management whilst working for the company.

My main issue is that I know there are engineers still working there, who without question left major gas leaks at customers properties, yet they only receive a final warning? There doesn't seem to be any consistency with their disciplinary outcomes.

Me and my partner are due to have our first child in 2 weeks time, and I wouldn't risk my job and baby's livelihood by not carrying out the correct safety checks.

I also work on a call out rota, which is worth an extra £500 a week to me, money that I shouldn't have missed out on.

I can't explain how frustrated I an with the whole thing, if I had done wrong then I would have gladly held my hands up and walked away, but I know I have done all that I should have.

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I know its hard but try and forget, at least for now anyway, about other ppl.

Your priotity is getting your facts in chronological order, and put your appeal forward in a clear and concise manner.

Certainly towards the end of the appeal explain your reasons for doing so in your final submissions, cerrtainly dont mention or threaten to take the matter further.

But be positive enough to let the see that you wont be letting the matter rest.

 

Quite frankly your workplace or union rep should I hope be giving you all tne assurances and support you need, if you are unhappy with his handling contact your branch and ask to speak the branch secretary, he may give you extra support or contact a regional advisor on your behalf.

 

I agree with you, based on your explanation you should not be in this situation, particularly with an addition onits way.

Edited by boswell
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If I have been helpful please tickle my scales or better still contribute to CAG.

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I k ow its hard but try and forget, at least for now anyway, about other ppl. Your priotity is getting your facts in chronological order, and put your appeal forward in a clear and concise manner.

Certainly towards the end of the appeal explain your reasons for doing so in your final submissions, cerrtainly dont mention or threaten to take the matter further.

But be positive enough to let the see that you wont be letting the matter rest.

Quite frankly your workplace or union rep should I hope be giving you all tne assurances and support you need, if you are unhappy with his handling contact your branch and ask to speak the branch secretary, he may give you extra support or contact a regional advisor on your behalf.

I agree with you, based on your explanation you should not be in this situation, particularly with an addition onits way.

 

To be honest with you, I have had hardly any contact with the union rep, and not received any support from him. I was told that the regional rep could attend the appeal with me, but not until late next week, I cannot afford to wait that long. At the moment I don't know where my next wage is coming from, which is certainly not an ideal situation with a baby on the way.

I feel like I have been treated like a criminal, when I know I have done nothing wrong. Throughout the whole process it has felt like I was guilty until proven innocent, and received no support whatsoever from management at the company.

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Shame your rep didnt at least attempt to get the decision suspended pending the outcome of your appeal, not always successful, but has worked in the past for situations like yours and others facing hardship.

 

Does your union not operate a hardship/support fund to help ppl during these situations.

 

Its ok for me to suggest it but I am not in the middle like you. I would try and postpone till next week when your regional guy is availale, they dont like losing a case, believe me.

 

 

 

If you explain to the company that a regional advisor is conducting your appeal, they will be stocking up an Andrex

 

If they refuse they will be further strenghening your hand for grounds for Unfair Dismissal.

 

Of course the decision is yours based on your situation and finances.

If I have been helpful please tickle my scales or better still contribute to CAG.

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Wait for your area organiser. They will know which questions to ask and will put your case in the best way.

I know how hard it is, been there.

While you are waiting look for jobs and apply you need to be planning for the worst outcome while hoping for the best.

Trust the union. Paid officials know their stuff.

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You cannot afford *not* to have your rep there. Wait!

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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You cannot afford *not* to have your rep there. Wait!

 

My concern is, that waiting another week for an area rep, is another week without me earning money. I've got a family to think about now.

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And your family would no doubt like you in a skilled job for the long run. You'll go with your own choice obviously, but going solo didn't seem to work well in the original hearing.

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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Hi Craig. I fear you may not be receiving the full facts re your predicament. You were employed in Nov '12 ... correct ? Thus, unless you have been subject to discriminatory treatment (no evidence thereof to date) then you have no right to claim unfair dismissal until you've been employed for 2 years - ie Nov 2014. Your appeal will most likely not be upheld. Employers rarely back down. The other engineers who you allege caused a major leak may have worked in the firm for a sufficient term in order to be afforded rights to claim unfair dismissal. Thus, your employer may have backed off sacking them.

 

Justice may not be on your side. Many dismissals are based on one persons word against another etc. If you were dismissed w/o notice then you may be able to claim wrongful dismissal and reclaim your contract notice or statutory notice ( a meagre one week !). A solicitor would be of little help as they may not be able to profit from helping you. Do you have legal expenses insurance cover with your home/ contents policy .. that may help you. Union reps can be useless, but they be your best hope. Sorry to be negative, but best you may be able to hope for is a compromise agreement whereby you at least can get a decent reference to get another job.

 

Above is only an opinion. I may be wrong !

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The rules state,

At east one year's continuous service for employees in employment before 6th April 2012

Two years for employees starting employment on or after 6th April 2012

 

There is no length of service requirement in relation to automatically unfair grounds.

If I have been helpful please tickle my scales or better still contribute to CAG.

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Possibly, might get it on the grounds of representation.

I would never have let that happen in the first place had I been there. And with all respects to rhe OP, we are really only hearing his side, but either way I am convinced there were other options that could have replaced dismissal.

If I have been helpful please tickle my scales or better still contribute to CAG.

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Again I agree, but employers know their rights and AUF is a long, long shot. Without UF protection the OP may be more a victim of the system. Anyhow, the OP appears to have lost interest as not seen any feedback re current situation.

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I agree with you BB on all counts.

 

As I said in previous post ID on the first count is severe in the extreme for a first offence without prev history.

If I have been helpful please tickle my scales or better still contribute to CAG.

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