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Whistleblowing resulting in my not working (garden leave)


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Hi there,

 

I'm a company director (no shares), and discovered late last year that the MD and majority shareholder were committing fraud (fraudulent invoices from ghost employees, tax evasion) for financial gain. Over teh Christmas break I grabbed all the books and now have concrete evidence.

 

I have notified the police who advised me to call the HMRC hotline - this was done back on 29/12/14 and I'm still waiting to hear back from them.

 

Returning to work on Jan 5th, I confronted the MD and shareholder, and they put me on garden leave. A letter from their solicitor the following day confirmed this pending an investigation into believed gross misconduct (this is totally fabricated).

 

The company is very small - a total of 4 employees including myself - and I'm still on garden leave, with the last solicitor's letter saying they should be ready for the disciplinary hearing in about 3 weeks.

 

Is this acceptable or should I be getting my solicitor to gee them up a bit, maybe starting an employment tribunal process?

 

This company has been running for 3 years, the previous company (same customers and service) for 20 years - I have been an employee for that long. As I'm now 46, I feel the chances of me getting back into this trade are getting less and less as time goes on.

 

Any advice is appreciated.

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Im guessing they are going to try a couple of things

 

1) Bringing the company into disrepute

2) Breaching company Confidentiality.

3) Breach of mutual trust and confidence.

 

Until you get a letter with the reasons for suspension and/disciplinary there is not much to do.

 

WHEN you do get called to a meeting, if you have access to a union rep make sure you take them (Disaplinary only unless company has an agreement)

Read ALL NOTES carefully

Ask for additions and edits if the notes to not reflect the main points said.

Only sign the notes when they reflect the main points

IF they refuse write and sign "Under Duress"

Make sure in the meeting before it is closed (And therefore added to the minutes) how you will be provided and when, a copy of the notes.

 

Also remember if not a union rep, you are entitled to be accompanied to disciplinary meetings by a colleague. Make sure you take advantage of this!

 

If you feel yourself loosing control of your emotions, demand a 5 minute adjournment. If it is refused, make sure the request and refusal is recorded in the notes.

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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

 

 

 

The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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Hi there,

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

Despite reading many, many web pages, I'm still unclear as to who a companion can be (I'm not a member of a union). Ideally, I'd like to take someone I have done small amounts of work for in the past (this is completely unrelated to my employer) - they have actually chaired disciplinary hearings and would have a very good idea of how things should be done.

 

I guess I should advise my employer who I'd like to be accompanying me as soon as I get the notification and play it from there?

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Your legal right is to- a collegue at the same organisation- a union rep (doesn;t have to be your union)Anyone else can be refused by the organisation

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 ericsbrother,

 

Only myself and the managing director - of those, only I am not involved in the fraud...

 

Shareholders hold 80, 10 and 10 per cent each (MD holds 10%) - I don't believe the other shareholder is involved, certainly doesn't know the extent of the fraud.

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UPDATE: Just checked my company email address, and it is no longer valid so it would seem I've been deleted from the company mail server...all this and I've not had the disciplinary hearing yet.

 

Does this mean I can push forward with an unfair dismissal claim?

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Then it is down to the shareholders to dismiss or otherwise. Speak to them and tell them that they are the ones who will go to gaol if fraud is proven. Companies house will certainly have a view on this but they have no investigatory powers. However, they can apply sanctions.

Certainly an unfair dismissal is on the cards becuase they cannot claim that it is a breach of confidence becuase you are obliged by law to report a crime when you know about it. That trumps any obligation to your employer. As you have a solicitor I would be instructing him/her to go for the jugular and in a public a way as possible. It might not save your job but it will adjust their attitude enormously.

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Given the length of time you have worked there, I think you should speak to an employment solicitor. It sounds like there is a high chance of this ending up in a Employment Tribunal.

 

I personally would go through the motions and attend the disciplinary hearings; making sure that my position and concerns are properly documented in the minutes. If you don't co-operate with the investigation it would look bad in an unfair dismissal case. At the same time you should probably be preparing yourself for Tribunal if you are dismissed.

 

Your position as company Director and employment as a Director are slightly different things. You can be suspended as an employee even though the shareholder has not formally passed a resolution to remove you from the company Director position yet.

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