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    • Hi, I have found this group very helpful hence I am here seeking help and advice.   I got myself into a situation where I have now more than £50k in unsecured debts (personal loans & credit cards) and things are now getting out of control as I am struggling to make payments. This is purely my own created situation and I am taking 100% responsibility for it. I am keen to get out of this situation as soon as possible hence I would appreciate any help and advice in this process. I am employed at the moment and don’t want to risk going into IVA or bankruptcy as this would risk losing my job. Being sole bread earner of my family, I cannot afford to lose my job. I have been trying to keep up with the payments so far and had few missed payments instances until 3/4 months ago but got caught up with missed payments somehow using my savings. All my debts are still with original lenders. However I know I am getting into same situation again shortly and won’t be able to get out of it again. I have started exploring Debt Management Plan (DMP) option through StepChange but haven’t submitted it yet. Based on budgeting, I have around £820 available to make payments to all lenders after taking care of all other essential expenses. This is definitely lot more affordable than what I am currently paying to different lenders. 1. Is DMP right option for me in current situation? 2. what are the negative consequences of availing DMP? 3. is there something else that I can do to get out of this situation? I’m determined to clear out all my debts but need bit of breathing space and time. Let me know please if you need any additional information. Thanks in advance for all your help and guidance. MM  
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gross misconduct, after crashing van


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worked for my company just over a year, last week i crashed my company van into the back of a vectra. The car just stopped dead, and i went into the back of it, total accident. The front of the van was a mess, due to the car infront having a tow bar. I was doing 30mph in a 50 area due to traffic About 4 weeks ago i reversed into fence and damged the back light, nothing major just the lens broken. I followed all company procedures.

 

Today i arrived home to be greeted to a letter asking me to come in for an invistigation meeting, regarding gross misconduct.

 

the allegations are:

 

1. that i have "been involved in 2 separate road traffic accidents, in a short period of time"

2. "That phone records indicate that i moments before and after i was using my company mobile"

3. the tracker for the van shows that i have been "driving my van in a dangerous manner on numerous occasion"

 

My thoughts:

 

1. fair enough, this is true.

2. I have bluetooth hands free, provided by the company on both the van and phone, so always use this to call people. It is voice activatedand the phone sits on a mount. This isnt illegal, and provided by the company. Plus the wording is odd. "before and after" of course i would be using it after, i called work to say i had crashed the van.

3. This is the 1st time i have heard about this. I knew there was a tracker, and i knew it could tell how i drove, but at no point have i been told i was driving dangerously.

 

As far as i can tell from the company polices is only point 2 can be construed as gross misconduct, as it states that using a handheld phone while driiving is gross misconduct. But i wasnt, plus i dont think they would have the means to tell if i was holding the phone or if it was mounted. And if my driving is so dangerous why am i still and have been since tuesday, driving a replacment van?

 

I expected an investigation for crashing twice in a short space of time, but gross misconduct has thrown me totally.

 

Should i go in all guns blazing at the investigation? Is there anything i should do? or say?

 

Could it be a mistalke?

 

thanks for your help.

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Should i go in all guns blazing at the investigation?

 

Are you seriously asking that question?

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

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i dont understand your question. why would you think im not serious?

 

 

Maybe because you crashed their van twice, what on earth could you have to blaze guns about?

 

With less than 2 years service you are going to be lucky to keep your job on this one. Apology is a better bet!

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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Thats why im asking the question. and now i have an answer. thank you.

 

Regarding to crashing there van twice, yes i did. But both were accidents, i didnt crash on purpose. When driving for a living crashes can and do happen. Of course i apologized when it happened, and will do again. But im totally stunned that they are going for gross misconduct, for accidents.

 

I could really do with some advice on the other questions in my post.

 

thanks

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I'd say they are going for reckless driving. Yes, accidents can be GMC.

 

The phone calls seem fair enough, although a bluetooth isn't a get of of jail free card on it, you need to not use the phone if it's distracting, hope calls are to work colleagues and not the missus, can't comment on the other one until you see tracker data but yes they can use it and if there's a lot of speeding/ heavy braking in there, I don't fancy your odds.

 

Right now it's an investigation, not a full hearing. Be honest and apologetic. Don't explain things away if there's other evidence.

 

Do NOT go in "guns blazing".

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

 

With regards the tracker data, should they not have told me about the "dangerous driving" before now? Like the last time i crashed? So i could change my way of driving, before a crash happened agian? Can they use this data, if they have never made me aware there was a problem?

 

Im not a dangerous driver btw, i dont speed, i may brake too hard, and go reasonably hard round corners but its alwasy within speed limits.

 

In an investigation, am i allowed to see all the evidence they have, at the start of the hearing? before answering any questions?

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Thanks

 

With regards the tracker data, should they not have told me about the "dangerous driving" before now? Like the last time i crashed? So i could change my way of driving, before a crash happened agian? Can they use this data, if they have never made me aware there was a problem?

 

Im not a dangerous driver btw, i dont speed, i may brake too hard, and go reasonably hard round corners but its alwasy within speed limits.

 

In an investigation, am i allowed to see all the evidence they have, at the start of the hearing? before answering any questions?

 

You can be going within the speed limit, and it still be dangerous driving.

It is a limt, not a target, nor a guarantee it is safe to drive at that speed depending on the road conditions.

 

I don't know if your driving was that of a careful / competent driver or not, so I'm not making any comment on your driving. I can say 'don't say " I was within the speed limit, so it must be fine"'.

 

Rtaher than going in guns blazing, why not ask to see the evidence concerned?.

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With regards the tracker data, should they not have told me about the "dangerous driving" before now? Like the last time i crashed? So i could change my way of driving, before a crash happened agian?

 

Do you REALLY need someone else to tell you to drive better after youve had a crash? Because im pretty sure they will look at you in sheer bewilderment if you ask them that.

 

Have you had any accidents prior to this and not with your employer?

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

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Im not a dangerous driver btw, i dont speed, i may brake too hard, and go reasonably hard round corners but its alwasy within speed limits.

 

In an investigation, am i allowed to see all the evidence they have, at the start of the hearing? before answering any questions?

 

1. I work with drivers and would call that dangerous.

2. No. Why would you need to unless you were planning the best way to lie? I mean, you can refuse to answer any questions at all, in theory, but I can't see that ending well.

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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Do you REALLY need someone else to tell you to drive better after youve had a crash? Because im pretty sure they will look at you in sheer bewilderment if you ask them that.

 

Have you had any accidents prior to this and not with your employer?

 

The 1st crash wasnt due to dangerous driving. there was a fence behind my van that was perfectly in my blind spot. While i said i drive hard, i dont consider myself a bad or dangerous driver. I have never crashed before, these 2 crashes are the 1st in the 3 years i have had my licence. Surely the company has a duty of care to me? If they knew that i was driving dangerously, and they didnt tell me, how can they try to sack me for reckless driving? Ive been given no opertunity to change or even know there was an issue.

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Sleep on it, then try and see it from the employer's perspective tomorrow.

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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Be careful, they may have more evidence - Eg complaints from the members of the public as well.

 

The accident where the car just stopped dead, sadly is your fault, you should leave a 4 second gap (not the mandatory 2)

 

If you are a member of a union, now would be a good time to talk to them.

Remember you can take a colleague in with you as a witness. This is a good idea.

Before signing any notes, make sure they capture the main points and are not misleading. Remember to sign them only if they make any corrections that are needed. If not, "Sign under duress"

 

Was all company training provided and signed off?

Is there any way the company can enhance your training or do a refresher?

Can you afford to offer to take an advanced driver training course if the company agree to keep you on?

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Hello there.

 

I'm not sure how a fence behind you can make you crash?

 

As others have said, I think you need to go in on a conciliatory note. I've never seen a disciplinary meeting here have a good outcome if someone goes in to argue. The ones who have kept their jobs have gone in to apologise and plead to keep their job. There's nothing wrong with answering their points about what went wrong though, I imagine, if you sound reasonable.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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If you are a member of a union, now would be a good time to talk to them.

Remember you can take a colleague in with you as a witness. This is a good idea.

 

 

Hi Sabre, I read it that this is just the investigation so no right to be accompanied just yet? A chat with the union in advance is an excellent idea.

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 Sabre, I read it that this is just the investigation so no right to be accompanied just yet? A chat with the union in advance is an excellent idea.

 

You are correct.

 

Most employers who have union recognition agreements have extended this right through negotiation to include investigatory meetings. You may need to check your contract/staff handbook to see if your company has.

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worked for my company just over a year, last week i crashed my company van into the back of a vectra. The car just stopped dead, and i went into the back of it, total accident

 

And therein lies your problem. Your employer - as would the police in investigating an incident - would say that as a driver giving proper observation and driving with due care and attention, would not be running into the back of another vehicle, but would maintain a safe distance within which they could stop safely.

 

Just playing devil's advocate you understand, but after two incidents (note that even the police cannot call them accidents nowadays as there is always one party at fault) it is not unreasonable for an employer to at least question why an employee has become a liability. By that I mean that a crash causes vehicles to be off the road, additional costs in hiring replacements, loss of reputation, loss of insurance excess, increased premium, maybe a personal injury claim - there is quite a long list of consequences for even a relatively minor collision.

 

Going in 'all guns blazing' will put you on a very sticky wicket. You may rely on the fact that there is nothing specific in writing relating to Gross Misconduct with regard to vehicle crashes, however I can almost guarantee that there will be a clause relating to misuse of company property, bringing the company into disrepute - or the all encompassing 'breach of mutual trust and confidence' otherwise known as Some Other Substantial Reason - a legitimate reason for dismissal and one which in your circumstances would not be difficult for the employer to demonstrate as a 'fair' reason to let you go.

 

Tracking devices are very sophisticated and can provide endless amounts of date - speed, location (and therefore breaches of speed limits) and also, depending on what type of black box is fitted, relative G-forces indicating pull-away speeds, braking force and speed through bends and around corners. If your employer is looking to use this date as evidence that your driving is in any way deficient then you really need to be confident that you are a model driver. The device in my car - whilst it does not actually include a tracker, but a constantly recording camera - records a huge amount of data.

 

I do not see the phone matter being hard to defend providing that the call prior to the incident was work-related. In providing hands-free facilities, unless the company has stipulated that this should still only be restricted to stationary use, then they have given tacit agreement to the use of the phone whilst driving (so long as this was still done safely). You might still be in trouble if the incident occurred WHILST you were on the phone as this could indicate a lack of attention.

 

As I see it, yes you need to defend your position and argue that the crashes really were unfortunate and down to as much bad luck as poor judgement, but you also need to add a huge dose of remorse and a good degree of grovelling. You might also want to investigate offering to take a safe driving assessment - at your own cost - if this helps to demonstrate that you are willing to correct what the employer might see as deficiencies in your driving style. You certainly shouldn't be arguing that the employer is wrong to be looking at whether you are an employer worth keeping on but should instead be looking to prove that you are before the question is actually asked. It will also help to stress long and loyal service/popularity with clients/an otherwise unblemished record/achievement - anything which helps to show you as an otherwise model employee.

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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Thanks for all your advise guys. contrite and apologetic i shall be.

 

The letter mentions that "supporting documents would be sent to me prior to my meeting, further documents may be produced at the meeting"

 

Surely if the have the phone records and the tracker details already, and they must do as they state that they have looked at this data, then they should have sent this evidence to me? Possibly 2 days before the meeting? Meeting is on Wednesday morning, and the only thing i have received was the letter itself.

 

Another possibly more paranoid issue, is that i haven't received a payslip, while a colleague has. Could they be preparing to not pay me, so they can sack me and use that pay, to pay off the damage, and tools that i was forced to buy from them for the job? I get paid from the 16th to the 15th of each month then paid into my account on the 28th. So if they sack me 2 days after the investigation there will only be 2 weeks worth of pay to cover the van excess and the tools, and it probably wont be enough. I think the excess is around £600, the tools £150, and a drill £500.

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Oh and somthing just popped into my head. My boss got me to sign a form just after the crash. He said it was a deductions form, so the company can take the cost of lost equipment from me. I lost £40 worth of stuff. Unfortunately this form was blank when i signed it( ridiculously stupid i know, but it was about 30 mins after i crashed a van). Im not even sure what i signed...... Im now worried they can use this to say that i agreed to pay off the damage from this pay, or they could use that signature to say that they had discussed the previous dangerous driving with me.

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They can only deduct wages with your written and signed agreement that they may do so. They certainly cannot withhold wages pending the outcome of any hearing so you should have been paid. You are entitled to due process, so if they have already planned for dismissal then this is prejudicial to your case.

 

You do need to find out exactly what it was that you signed for. You say that it was to allow deductions for 'lost' equipment - that is some distance from deductions to cover insurance excess and recovery of any loans for the purchase of equipment. Hopefully the wageslip has been delayed in the post - you will probably have to ask if it does not arrive tomorrow

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My pay day is the 28th, and the 1st possible date for the disciplinary will be the 29th. Could the thing that ive signed be used to deduct things from that pay, before the disciplinary? im assuming no

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The letter mentions that "supporting documents would be sent to me prior to my meeting, further documents may be produced at the meeting"

 

Surely if the have the phone records and the tracker details already, and they must do as they state that they have looked at this data, then they should have sent this evidence to me?.

 

No, because again, they don't want to give you time to concoct a story.

 

You have less than two years service. They can let you go for any non discriminatory reason. You have a long way to go before you manage to fake contrite convincingly.....

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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My pay day is the 28th, and the 1st possible date for the disciplinary will be the 29th. Could the thing that ive signed be used to deduct things from that pay, before the disciplinary? im assuming no

 

Only if the employer wants to be accused of pre-determining the outcome of the disciplinary before hearing your defence! If we are only at an investigation stage at this point, then the employer will need to decide whether further action is required or not. In the event that they feel a disciplinary is warranted then they will need to convene a meeting at which you are entitled to have a witness present. This will need to be a few days later in order for you to prepare your case, so they would most likely be withholding pay for even longer than 29th

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update time:

 

Had the investigation, this was delayed by 2 days.

 

Lots of questions regarding "bad driving", as expected they had a telematics report detailing harsh cornering and hard breaking. Supposedly im the worst in the company. One of the items was taking a roundabout at 16mph, not sure how this can be classed as bad driving, but hey ho. It would have been nice to have been told, that it was so bad, before i crashed my van however. When i mentioned this, my manager tried to say he had told me, when he had "a word with me", basically he said one day "calm down your driving". I dont really think this is detailed enough "a word" to be used agaisnt me, and i said as much.

 

Questions regarding phone usage. I explained about using bluetooth, and handsfree calling.

 

And that was basically it. I then went off on holiday for a 9 days, expecting a letter when i returned. But, no letter awaited me. I assumed the whole matter had been dropped, as 9 days is plenty time to decide and send a letter re disciplinary action. I went in on my 1st day back and asked about why it had been dropped, and my manager was stunned that a letter hadnt been sent. Clearly they forgot. Latter that day, he turned up with a hastily photocopied letter and handed it to me. This was for a disciplinary meeting to be held on Thursady at 10am. Bear in mind this was handed to me on the Tuesday at 520pm.

 

Another matter arose as well. The bill came thro for the damage. £2600. Of which they expect me to pay half! It was my understanding that we only paid the excess, and in previous instances other people have only paid this. I asked what sort of shoddy insurance they have, that the excses is so high, and my manager told me i had got off lighty as the excess is actually £2400!! He was reading off an email, and being a fast reader i was able to read it in his hand. It stated that they would "charge me 50% to show that bad driving wont go unpunished". So the excess being high is a load of cobblers, and they are using me as an example and to punish me. Clearly he wouldnt give me a copy. At that point i refused to sign the recharge form, and said i would seek advice.

 

So there we are. An accident turned into a farce. Im rather annoyed about the £1300. I fi was simply paying a fair and reasonable excess, then fair enough. But clearly they think they can charge what they want, as a punishment.

 

Ive got a couple of questions:

 

The timing of the letter. They cant have the meeting without giving me 2 full days notice can they?

 

How does oweing money to a company work? If i leave (or am fired) will they pursue the money? Will they take the whole lot out my final pay? I actually owe them more than the £1300 as i need to pay for tools, and a drill, so i actually owe closer to £2000. Bear in mind my pay last month was a pitiful £1000.

 

On there own policy it states that i cant take someone into an investigatory meeting, but on the letter i recived it said i could. So i did. Can i use this breach of there own policy against them?

 

My initial plan is to try and get them to drop the whole thing. My manager will be present taking notes, he was the one that took the investigation. This isnt allowed is it? Then to hit them with the "witness in investigation breach of policy", and then to go for the timescale of the letter. These 3 things in thoery should mean the disciplinary cant go ahead.

 

whats your thoughts.

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Update time:

 

Ive got a couple of questions:

 

The timing of the letter. They cant have the meeting without giving me 2 full days notice can they? They only need to prove they posted the first one.

 

How does oweing money to a company work? If i leave (or am fired) will they pursue the money? Will they take the whole lot out my final pay? I actually owe them more than the £1300 as i need to pay for tools, and a drill, so i actually owe closer to £2000. Bear in mind my pay last month was a pitiful £1000. The would be able to make the deductions as per your T+Cs and chase any shortfall. They would however need to justify their claim in a small claims court that they have the right to take the money. The damages would have to reflect the actual costs incurred. So a punitive measure could fail. Paying the excess could succeed.

 

On there own policy it states that i cant take someone into an investigatory meeting, but on the letter i recived it said i could. So i did. Can i use this breach of there own policy against them? They gave you rights superior to their contractual obligations therefore NO DETRIMENT occurred. No you cannot use this in your defence.

 

My initial plan is to try and get them to drop the whole thing. My manager will be present taking notes, he was the one that took the investigation. This isnt allowed is it? Then to hit them with the "witness in investigation breach of policy", and then to go for the timescale of the letter. These 3 things in thoery should mean the disciplinary cant go ahead. If you have an issue with your manager taking notes, then make sure it is recorded that you request a neutral note taker as complaining after the event will not help you.

 

whats your thoughts.

 

Less than 2 years employment

Plus the attitude being displayed is not conductive to your continued employment.

 

Whilst you may feel they have not done enough to warn you about your bad driving, that is immaterial. You are the licence holder, you have taken your test, you are aware and certified to drive safely. The only person responsible for your driving is you. Your conduct as advised with going in all guns blazing is going to possibly end up with your disciplinary being a car crash, with you walking away albeit not the way you want to.

 

Plenty was advised on here about asking to be given the chance to improve your driving, being remorseful and offering to take an advanced driver training course, at your own expense, to prove your intentions to be a loyal hardworking and safe employee. You are now looking for loopholes etc. This would be better suited to someone that had over 2 years service. You have less than that and dismissal is EASY! Why make it easier.

 

Knowing the company has a legal duty to take action to erase bad driving, examples are going to be set. When you say they suggest your tracking system marks you as the worst in the company your ideal response could of been

 

"I am shocked and sorry to hear that. I enjoy working for this company and I have learned a lot here. I take safety seriously and therefore I would like the opportunity to try and improve my driving and would like to take an advanced driver training course at my own expense. Please let me be an example of how this company works with its team to improve standards.

 

Do not be fooled, the disciplinary can go ahead. After that you are in appeal territory and as you have no recourse to a tribunal from the info given so far, an appeal is not going to go well for you either.

 

Sorry for being blunt, but I do not feel telling you other than how it is, will provide any help to you.

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