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Misuse of company equipment, breaching policies

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Hi guys,

 

Bit of background:

 

I'm just shy of two years with my employer, I always prioritise my work and in the beginning, when the workload was really high, I would often stay back for hours and come in at the weekend to help out without being asked and without being paid. I have a strong work ethic.

 

The issue:

 

My manager, whom I've raised a grievance against for various reasons, reported me to HR for carrying out non-work related activity whilst at work which is true.

 

Why did I do it if I have a strong work ethic?

 

Various people on the team including myself have brought to our manager's attention that there are many hours every day with no work to do. He hasn't escalated this to anyone and he has allowed everyone on the team to browse the internet, complete coursework and sit on Facebook etc. for many months. I refuse to sit and do nothing for hours every day so I choose to educate myself by completing coursework.

 

What's happened?

 

I had an investigation which I know is going to progress to a disciplinary based on the questions and the fact that I once (or twice) printed something off using work's printers. This probably cost the company 10p and considering the additional hours of work I've put in I would say that they could let that slide but they won't of course. Every time I gave a reasonable explanation for my actions, the investigator explained it away and asked me leading questions to force me to look bad such as 'do you think it is reasonable of an employer who is paying you to expect you to talk with your team as part of a team bonding exercise rather than use company equipment (PC) to complete coursework'. This question is ridiculous and I tried to point this out in the most diplomatic way possible; if my employer is happy to pay me to sit and gossip for hours, or sit and stare into space for hours then why would it matter if I sit and do coursework?

 

I feel as though I am being punished for choosing to educate myself rather than sit and chat...which we're actually not allowed to do because our manager tells us off for it regularly (i.e. after a couple of minutes, never mind hours!)

 

The advice I need is this:

 

If an employee tells their line manager and one of the owners of the company that they do not have any work to do for lengthy periods of time every day (proving they want to work!), can the employer punish me for browsing the web etc. especially when everyone else on the team does it and the manager has known for months?

 

This company has standard policies about web usage but our manager has set the precedent by allowing it for so long.

 

The example they gave of 'sit and chat' is ridiculous because that would be worse and here's why:

 

The investigator had been given (false) information that on a particular shift I had not dealt with a user effectively as a result of doing my coursework. This was inaccurate, I had actually put more effort into trying to get it resolved than any of my colleagues would have, it just happens that I missed what the issue was. There was only one other colleague working that day and we'd had a falling out. Clearly he has lied about me. Yet, this same colleague kept leaving his desk to go and chat with people and actually packed up all of his things 40 minutes before the end of his shift and went to have a gossip with some staff. I completed more than twice the amount of work that he did on that shift. By being away from his desk, he wasn't available to take calls and wasn't available to deal with any issues yet I was because I was staring at my screen writing up an essay.

 

So, who was the more productive employee that day?

 

What employer would really prefer an employee to sit and chat, over educating themselves?

 

I'm shortly speaking to Citizens Advice as I cannot believe that there is any legal justification for refusing to give someone work to do for so many hours but then complain when they read...or type an essay. Especially when the alternative that they suggest is actually worse.

 

I'd also like to point out that when my manager was told about others doing similar things, he did nothing about it. Doesn't my employer have a responsibility to treat me equally and fairly?

 

If anyone has any comments or suggestions, I'd appreciate them.

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What was the outcome of your hearing, or are you now doing 'coursework' at home?:???:

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Hi,

 

Having worked as a union rep I am fairly confident about defending employees' rights including my own. Any issues and I typically post a thread on a forum such as this one and speak with a legal advisor in addition to using my own knowledge.

 

My employer has access to evidence which proves my colleagues have all done the same thing (some still are which is infuriating) and I know everyone in the company does too.

 

I don't want to work here anyway and indeed always intended to leave this year (albeit at the end of July) so I've chosen to resign instead of accepting their settlement agreement.

 

The terms of the agreement were a joke and I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford to have principles so if they choose to fire me during my notice period for something my males colleagues have done and are still doing, I will sue them

 

I won't sue for money though (other than my notice pay and any costs) so if they think the time, money and humiliation for them is worth it then so be it.

 

It's a shame but I plan to take a couple of years off work and then be self employed so I'm not too concerned but I will fight for the principal of it. Always.

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No idea why you are posting if

a) you won't answer questions and

b) you already know what you are going to do


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 idea why you are posting if

a) you won't answer questions and

b) you already know what you are going to do

 

Erm, thank you for the "helpful"reply but as you'll note, it's been a long time since I posted and no-one offered any advice so obviously I've decided what I'm going to do now... I didn't know before and why wouldn't I get advice? No harm in getting as much info as possible. Not sure what question I haven't answered but thank you again for posting.

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What was the outcome of your hearing, or are you now doing 'coursework' at home?:???:

 

I see no answer to this.


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 see no answer to this.

 

Probably because you didn't read my post thoroughly enough. Have another read. There has not yet been a hearing.

 

If you don't have any advice then please stop posting on my thread, thank you.

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Probably because you didn't read my post thoroughly enough. Have another read. There has not yet been a hearing.

 

If you don't have any advice then please stop posting on my thread, thank you.

 

Things may well have moved on in the intervening weeks, and what are you doing about coursework now?

 

And I can't see any questions from you seeing advice; you're just telling us what you have already decided?


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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