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Wife being accused after handing notice in

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My wife is a carer working in a house looking after 2 disabled people. 

Over the last 6 months she has said that the company are hiring carers that have no experience,

do not fill out the correct paperwork and do not do the day to day tasks they are required to do. 

 

She has brought this up previously many times with management but nothing has changed. 

My wife who has worked in the care industry for 27 years with glowing recommendations from everyone she has worked for decided enough is enough and got herself another job.

 

She handed her notice in first thing this morning, 4 weeks notice and carried on with her day. 

 

This afternoon she has had a call from the office saying that she must attend a meeting tomorrow afternoon as she has been accused of neglect. 

My wife obviously is distraught as she has never done anything wrong ever and obviously thinks now they have accused her of this because she handed her notice in.

 

She is on an all day shift 7am-9.30pm but i said to her surely if anyone is accused of neglect they would not be required to go to work with her clients in the morning and then go to a meeting at the office at 2.30pm.  It all seems very strange.  Any advice would be grateful.

 

Thanks

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Hi. I'm sorry that your wife is having problems, hopefully we can help.

 

I've merged your other thread into the Employment forum, it's better to have just the one. The employment posters know their way around legal stuff as well and if need be, we can move the thread to the legal forum.

 

HB

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Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I would advise her to start accumulating as much evidence as possible. You never know, tomorrow she might be escorted from the premises. If there are any internal paperwork available then she should either photograph them and scan them that anyway start preparing to protect herself.

This is very important. If there is an email system then she should forward any relevant emails to some personal account so she has got copies of everything. If she is on duty now you should get word to her about this and of course he needs to be very discreet but it is important. Of course anything that she does copy out is strictly confidential and should only be gathered in order to defend herself in case there are some unfair accusations made.

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Assuming there is anything, it may be too late to get it off the premises. Bearing in mind that they would have the right to check what she is taking, and it might lead to further allegations which would be difficult to disprove. So be cautious to not take anything that could be used against her.

 

I'd also just suggest, albeit it may not be the case, but don't get too worried yet. Being "accused" of something doesn't mean the employer believes it or will do anything about it. It's often best to worry when there's something to worry about. Hard to ignore, I know, but it won't help her any. Your are correct - if it were that serious, especially in these types of employment, I would expect an immediate suspension to prevent anyone tampering with evidence or witnesses- even if I didn't believe it to be true, I'd expect suspension to protect everyone. That's why it's important she mustn't be seen to give any hint of tampering with evidence. 

 

It seems an extreme reaction to just handing in her notice. Is there's anything more to this? 

 

Past that, at this stage, there isn't really much we can advise on. You need to tell us what the allegation is and what the employer is saying tomorrow. Then take it from there. I assume she isn't in a union? My best advice at this stage is to tell her to say almost nothing. If an allegation is made she should say it isn't true(I assume it won't be true - obviously if it is true she should not say anything at all). Please understand that it isn't our role to believe her or not believe her (and you are just a tad biased!). So we can only advise based on what we know and trying to be impartial. 

 

She should take clear notes of what is said and done. Make them pause so she can take notes if needs be. Her record if this is important. 

 

She should not attempt too explain herself or go into details. And she should not resign. Definitely do not resign. This may be nothing more than an attempt to oust  her quicker, but in care settings allegations like this can come back to haunt her, so she mustn't do or say anything too precipitous.

Edited by sangie5952

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She has since found out that it is allegation that one of the girls she looks after walked out of the front door after another member of staff came into work to start her shift. The member if staff coming into work did not lock the front door.   

 

A neighbour saw the girl walk outside and stopped her then called into the house to say one of the clients had walked outside.

My wife went Out to get the client and the neighbour then called the office to report the incident.

 

The girls in the house have major learning difficulties with an mental age of 6 but are over 30 years old.

The incident happened a week ago and nothing was said to my wife until today after she handed her notice into the office

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That doesn't really change anything. There was an incident, and it was a serious one. Right now she does not know what she is accused of, if anything. So she goes to the meeting and she says that she hasn't done anything wrong. If they ask her what happened, she tells the truth. But she doesn't say anything more. You need to separate this from her handing in her resignation. That is a coincidence. An incident happened. It could have had serious outcomes. The employer is right to investigate this. That does not mean that she has done anything wrong or that she will be found guilty of anything - this is an investigation.

 

Wait and see what happens, then come back if there is a problem. 

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If your wife is in a union, get them involved.

The employer might try to put the blame on your wife as she's leaving, so no active employee is disciplined.

The union will know how to act, in most cases like this they use delaying tactics until leaving day; it works in a way, but i disagree with it.

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Have found out it was as above something to do with a door not being closed. My wife and other colleagues have spoken to management and written in the comms book about the door not shutting properly and sticking previously . Will keep you updated. In a meeting now

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I would guess that the employer might want to use the thought of disiplinary measures to get her to sign a non disclosure agreement before she leaves. ths would prevent her from contacting her ex-clients and other staff members if it is like the one I have seen before. Now there is already law in place that limits her to a certain degree in this area (esp the clients) but the employer might not like her talking to her ex-colleagues about the employers shortcomings or even the thought that they might go to the pub together and could thus be talking out of turn.

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Half the reason my wife is leaving is because the the correct protocol for paperwork and the clients care is below standard.  She has consistently asked staff to do paperwork etc properly and brought it up to management. 

 

 My wife is the house leader and is highly respected by fellow carers and the clients parents.

She has always had the care of the clients first and foremost in her mind and goes out of her way to make the clients happier.

 

She is also the trainer for new staff and anything to Do with medication so her leaving will hit the company hard.

 

Like I said she handed her notice in on the morning and got a phone call on the afternoon.

 

All very peculiar but she's not in a union and not sure who to turn to

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Wait and see if anything comes of it first. To be honest, someone had made a complaint. The employer must investigate it. That doesn't mean they will do anything other than tick a few boxes. I'm afraid this story of thing happens a lot, and it's all about covering their backs. The fact is that unless they decide to pursue this as a case against her, there's nothing to worry about. It would be very stupid of them to do that because it actually opens up a can of worms I doubt they want opening. And treating her badly won't make her stay, will it? 

 

I might be wrong. Maybe they are stupid. But nothing had happened yet. It may not. Let's wait  and see?

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She went for her meeting for an investigation and the client walked outside the building through a door which has been reported to management as faulty and not latching, this was also pointed out in a comms book previous.

 

My wife explained that if the door had of been repaired when notified the client would not have been able to open it and this meeting would not have been happening.  At present she has not had any disaplinary and has been told to return to work as normal while the investigation is under way

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So, for now they appear to be simply following due process. Whatever the employer, good or bad, I'd expect that. So there is nothing to do right now. I assume she has a copy of the report?

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She does not have a copy of the report but was told she will be sent a copy

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she as of yet still not received the report or heard anything else.  Apparently someone else was called in for a meeting to discuss but they have also said it was the same as my wife was told

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It sounds like they are going through the motions of an investigation because they must. Which is disturbing, but perhaps not unexpected given what you have said. You will still have to sit it out and see what happens. There is nothing to be done unless they try to take it further.

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She has just had a letter come through saying she has a disciplinary meeting in a week. There were statements from the neighbour and other staff. 

The other staff said there was no issue with the door apart from one girl who was called into a meeting saying it had been reported before but everyone else said there were no issues 

 

My wife before she left work one day took a photo out of the comms book highlighting one instance that the faulty door was written down and as yet she has not told her employer this. 

 

She now believes they will dismiss her. She is not in a union to get represented either

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One step at a time now then. 

 

She needs to prepare her defence.

 

She has evidence that there was a report of a fault on the door. And one other member of staff confirms this. Other staff may be denying it, so let's be generous - her defence (a) is that there is an intermittent fault on the door which had been reported had not yet been rectified, resulting in a resident leaving the premises. 

 

This "intermittent fault" on the door, which had been reported, but not yet rectified, resulted in another member of staff accidentally leaving the door unlocked. She cannot be held accountable for the actions of another person - that person should have checked that the door had locked behind them, whether or not there was a fault, because security issues mean that the door must always be locked. That is defence (b).

 

So she is not responsible for the set of circumstances in which a resident left the premises - she played no part in those circumstances and she was not negligent in any way.

 

It was reported to her that a resident had left the premises by a neighbour. She retrieved the resident. That was her job. End of story. 

 

Now the next bit is important - she needs to say this bit word for word... "Given these circumstances there is no way that any reasonable employer could come to a reasonable belief that she was culpable for the circumstances in which the resident left the premises, that she was in any way negligent, or that she failed in her duty of care towards the residents. As such she will vigorously, and to the full extent of the law, defend her position of any action is taken against her for something she did not do".

 

In case you don't understand why that is important, it is a clear and unambiguous statement of intent to file for unfair dismissal. Unless the employer is totally thick, they'll understand that. With any luck, they'll back off.

 

There are two factors you can't control. If they do anything less than a dismissal, then there is no possible method of appealing or removing it from her record. Tribunals only deal with dismissals, not unfair disciplinaries. The other, of greater concern, is this being reported to professional standards. Unlikely, but not impossible. That we would need to deal with when and if it happened.

 

You said that she had already resigned before all this. Does she have another job?

 

And finally - not to labour a point that should be very obvious by now, but in future she needs to be in a union. A union cannot work miracles. They can only operate within the law, and the law isn't on the employees side. But it is far better than having nothing and nobody. Don't need to be told this a second time! Lightening does strike twice! 

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Thank you for these words

 

She had been interviewed for another job 3 days before any of this came to hand. Got offered the job on the spot in the interview on the Friday. Went and handed her notice in on the Monday morning then Got a call in the afternoon to attend a investigation meeting the next day, tuesday. Even the letter which was sent to our address arrived after she went to work on the day of the meeting so she had no chance to read it before the meeting.

 

The day after the investigation meeting the office manager called and said they had a letter for a reference from the company that offered her the job the week previous and said she had to have my wife's permission to send them one.

 

She is now worried that the job offer will be revoked and they may have said there was an investigation in progress.

 

One of the questions my wife was asked on the previous Friday was if she had any discaplinarys or investigations in progress and obviously she said no because in 30 years if doing the job she has never had one. 

 

My wife has been signed off by the doctor sick since the meeting and is due to return to work 3 days before her notice end date, which is the day she has to have the discaplinary

 

Thanks for all the help

 

 

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OK. You should have mentioned her being signed off sick before - I'd have strongly advised her not to do that. I'm afraid that whilst I can understand how stressful she may feel, it can be read by others as evasion and guilt. But what is done is done. 

 

Now this is a judgement call. I can't advise you to do it, nor not to, because I cannot "call" the likely outcome. But I would suggest she consider going to the new employer now and telling them what is happening. If they don't know, there is a risk to that strategy. If they do, or if they later find out, then best for them to know that, from her point of view, she came and told them before they found out by other means. And there is a very high chance that they will find out - an incident of this nature and any disciplinary pending or having taken place OUGHT to be part of a reference or disclosure. Being objective, in this sector employers are supposed to disclose adverse matters for very obvious reasons.

 

If she's going to do this, she needs to create a balanced story. It never does well to slag off your former employer, no matter how warranted. I would suggest the bare bones - there was an incident on XX (date) and describe the incident and her part in it. Then on yy (Date), 3 hours after she handed in her resignation she was informed that an investigation was taking place, and now they are holding a disciplinary and she does not know why because she didn't do anything, but if she is dismissed she fully intends to fight to clear her name because...…. You get the idea? Bare bones, essentials, but don't start slagging off the employer. Leave it to them to fill in the blanks if they need to. 

 

I can't guarantee the outcome on that. Some employers will rapidly back off. Others will take the admission as a sign of good faith and confidence. If it's the former though, she might consider it a lucky escape from an employer who might be as bad! On the other hand, if it's the latter, then she has nothing to worry about.

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She was signed off by the doctor for issues she has had for years regarding crumbling discs in her spine. She has had 2 operations previous and is waiting for her third. It's nothing stress related. The employer already knew about her ongoing issues with her back

 

Would it be worth saying at the discaplinary she has photo evidence regarding the issue with the door in question which was written in the comms book or would she get in trouble for photographing official documents 

 

Regards

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Oh no, absolutely.

 

At this stage she mentions everything! 

I want them to believe that she is totally not threatening them whilst totally threatening them!

So she should accidentally mention all the other failings that she has mentioned to them and which haven't been dealt with.

 

The truth is, and this isn't palatable for you, no employer needs evidence or proof of wrongdoing to dismiss.

They only need reasonable belief of wrongdoing, and I can see that they are going to try to contradict that around other staff saying  that there was nothing wrong with the door. Not that I can see that helps them since she didn't leave it open anyway! But regardless... They will try to show this is her fault.

 

So you want them to fear her.

But that isn't easy to achieve.

 

They need to believe that they are heading for a tribunal (by the way, I should have asked, how long had she worked for this employer?), that she'll whistleblow, or anything else that will make them back off for a quiet life.

It may be bluster, but it needs to be good bluster.

 

All she needs is to leave quietly with nothing on her record, and she needs them to understand that is all she wants to do

- but that if that doesn't happen she will rain hell on them.

This is what a union officer would try to do.

 

Truth to tell, once the law is involved it gets messier than we like, and far too unpredictable.

She's on weak ground.

Employees always are.

But in this case we want them to simply "come to the right decision" without the law being involved. 

 

I'll remember that bit about her spine. I might want to come back to that.

 

 

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1 hour ago, sangie5952 said:

Oh no, absolutely. At this stage she mentions everything! I want them to believe that she is totally not threatening them whilst totally threatening them! So she should accidentally mention all the other failings that she has mentioned to them and which haven't been dealt with. The truth is, and this isn't palatable for you, no employer needs evidence or proof of wrongdoing to dismiss. They only need reasonable belief of wrongdoing, and I can see that they are going to try to contradict that around other staff saying  that there was nothing wrong with the door. Not that I can see that helps them since she didn't leave it open anyway! But regardless... They will try to show this is her fault. So you want them to fear her. But that isn't easy to achieve. They need to believe that they are heading for a tribunal (by the way, I should have asked, how long had she worked for this employer?), that she'll whistleblow, or anything else that will make them back off for a quiet life. It may be bluster, but it needs to be good bluster. All she needs is to leave quietly with nothing on her record, and she needs them to understand that is all she wants to do - but that if that doesn't happen she will rain hell on them. This is what a union officer would try to do. Truth to tell, once the law is involved it gets messier than we like, and far too unpredictable. She's on weak ground. Employees always are. But in this case we want them to simply "come to the right decision" without the law being involved. 

 

I'll remember that bit about her spine. I might want to come back to that.

 

 

Sorry I'm a little confused. So in the meeting she should mention the photo evidence ? And also hint she will take this further to a tribunal if they go down that route. She has worked there for 4 years this time but was there also about 7 or 8 years ago and left to go elsewhere but went back. 

They sent through a copy of letter from neighbour saying the door was open and my wife and the other member of staff were in the garden. Photos of text messages they sent to other staff asking if there was a fault with the door which they said no. A copy of the other girls statement which was on shift at the time where she said there was a issue with the door and this was mentioned previous in staff meetings. Looks like they are trying to make her a scapegoat my wife started shift at 7am and the other member of staff came in at 10.30 then at 11.30 was when the incident was brought to light. Obviously the other member of staff did not close the door properly 

 

Any advice on what to do in the meeting grateful

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Would be careful with any evidence re problem with door. Could it be used against her ?

 

if there was a reported problem with a door not being secure and there were vulnerable people who might escape through it, then it might be expected for carers to be more vigilant and put measures into place to deal with this risk.

 

Might I suggest that your wife writes down a diary of the days events in time order. It might be a useful exercise to remind herself of anything important.

 

 


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14 minutes ago, unclebulgaria67 said:

Would be careful with any evidence re problem with door. Could it be used against her ?

 

if there was a reported problem with a door not being secure and there were vulnerable people who might escape through it, then it might be expected for carers to be more vigilant and put measures into place to deal with this risk.

 

Might I suggest that your wife writes down a diary of the days events in time order. It might be a useful exercise to remind herself of anything important.

 

 

It was reported in numerous staff meetings by at least 2 people and written in the shift book of which my wife took a photo of. They themselves are not allowed to do anything maintenance wise whether it be try to fix a door or change a lightbulb. That's why it was mentioned in meetings

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