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Hello I’d really value some sound advice with a work issue. I’ve worked where I am now for 9 years and am in middle management. On 16th April I was pulled into a meeting with HR and another manager and told that due to a review there had been an issue raised, and grounds for a more fuller investigation. I was suspended on full pay pending that investigation. Since then the head of HR who is actually really lovely has checked in with me twice, the first time to ask how I was and ask for ,me to send in my office keys, badge, laptop and phone... then again today to ask me if I had had a look at the documents and are preparing to respond accordingly to the matters presented. I’m 35 weeks pregnant due to go on maternity leave on 21st May.

I am really struggling not just with my mental health due to this stressing me out so much, I’m not sleeping or eating properly. I have gestational diabetes and the baby is fine, but my body isn’t, high blood sugar levels, then real lows, getting around 3 hours sleep on and off a day I’m just exchuasted. The midwife has said due to babies size that I also may have to be induced to give birth early, 37-38 weeks due to risk of still birth.

i have a doctors appointment trow to try and get aid sleeping. I have had much experience of conducting investigations, and I really do not want to be one of those people I hate who is signed off because they are stressed, but I’m not sure I could adequately defend myself as it is quite complex situation. I equally do not want to just quit a where would that leave me financially. 

I am weighing up up in my mind what to do, I’m so stressed out and my baby has to come first in this, we lost a baby previously and have been trying to have a child for some years. I’m so divided.

my question after all the waffle, could you help me understand my options? If I am signed off work for say 4 weeks would the hearing be held when I’m not signed off? But then my maternity leave starts, or doesn’t that count at all now I’m suspended?

any advice greatly received

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I would suggest that you are signed off by your Doctors and you send in the fit note with a covering letter to the head of HR.

 

Health of both you and your baby are far more important. 

 

Without knowing what the investigation concerns, I think it would be unwise to make any statements to your company in regard to documents they have sent to you. This is because you are not in the right state of mind healthwise to be able to deal with this properly.  Perhaps your Doctors could write you a letter, confirming that you are not currently in a fit state to deal with companies HR procedures and the matter should wait until you are fit enough after the birth.

 

I can't see that your company would proceed with any disciplinary process in your absence, if you are signed off by Doctors. 

 

Others on this site are more informed of the legal position and may add their thoughts if they see your post.

 

 

 

 


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I do agree that you must consider the health of yourself and the baby first. Doing the right thing health-wise is more important than anything.

 

However, I do not think that anyone would view expecting the employer to halt proceedings for a year whilst you are on maternity leave as reasonable. It is therefore entirely possible that the employer may decide top go ahead without you, if not in four weeks, certainly before you are due to return from maternity leave. 

 

In terms of options, it's almost impossible to suggest what those are without knowing what it is alleged you have done, and what your explanation is. The seriousness of the matter, and the kind of work you do, are both important as to what the employer might, or must, do in terms of the outcomes. 

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Thank you both.

 

The reason for suspension is complicated, but here goes, last year summer there was a large scale investigation into three people, I was involved as I discovered the evidence and told my boss (ceo).

 

One of the employees after a disciplinary process appealed the decision, and is now at ET. He was dismissed under gross misconduct. Since he has been abusive not just to me but other senior staff, I’m a witness at the ET in March 2020, date to be set.

 

Part of him being abusive was to chuck out some wild claims and accusations some of which did turn out to be true and have been dealt with, this was all around August to Sept last year.

 

He took a particular dislike to me being involved saying I was racist, and as part of the “inner circle” got away with stealing from the organisation and not being sacked (I’ve worked here 9 years).

 

So as part of year end, and auditors coming in and there being found to be someone not getting correct sign off on their credit card expenses, lots of missing receipts etc they’ve done a full review.

 

On a regular Tuesday after quite a senior meeting I was asked to come into an urgent meeting with the finance manager and the head of hr.

 

They gave me a set of documents which where what they believe to be either forged receipts in a couple of circumstances and some expenses where I’ve submitted no receipts. They believe that from November to date have been six occasions, and is enough to evidence for a full investigation so from April last year to date of all my credit card expenses.

 

That was 2 weeks ago, head of hr has checked in to ask if I’m feeling ok and how is the baby twice I’ve said I’m really struggling and making her aware of my medical appointments, I have a high risk pregnancy so seems I’m always at he hospital now I’m in the final 5 weeks.

 

mentally I just can’t imagine my senior team sat in an investigation meeting where I have to defend myself, my mind has gone blank, I can’t remember things at the best of times but the stress of this is making it worse.

 

I’ve not even been able to get the file out that they gave me to review it, I know it’s head in the sand, but for me all I keep thinking is I know I haven’t done this, so I get the allegations over turned which I’m sure will be tough, my maternity leave starts in 2 and half weeks, there is no way I can deal with this before then and then it’s so close to d day. I’m also being told the baby may have to come out at 38 weeks so timescales are short.

 

i saw the doctor this morning she was amazing has referred me to speak to someone in the midwife psychologist team so at least I have someone to reassure me because I do feel a little crazy.

 

Doctor has said she will sign me off if needed, but as I say I’m divided as to either defend myself but being selfish I’m not sure I’ve got the fight in me I’m exchausted, leave and have nothing at all, or understanding if my maternity leave still kicks in as planned?

 

is it reasonable to ask to post pone the investigation til after the baby is born where I will feel much more relaxed when baby is here, my husband is a fantastic support.

 

any advice so very welcomed,

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Hi.

 

I'm sure others will advise but I think it could be reasonable to leave the interview until after you have your baby.  It could be that you're suffering from 'baby brain', but the midwife team should knowmore about that. 

 

You did the right thing going to your GP, as others have said put yourself and the baby first. 

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Oh dear. You can ask, but this is a very serious matter, and I can envisage many employers being reluctant to postpone because they cannot ask you to do anything for six weeks after the birth, and realistically they may be anticipating you (a) not answering until the end of your maternity leave and/ or (b) you never returning.

 

I'm going to ask some questions here, but I'm asking the site team to agree a slight latitude to site rules. Nobody should give advice by PM and I won't. But I need to ask some questions that I would prefer are not answered on the site. Can the OP send the answers to me privately, but I will not advise off the site? I just need to check the "odds" of certain strategies. 

 

The questions are: and don't answer them here!

  • What kind of employer are we talking about here? I don't need to know who they are, just the type - e.g local government, private company, charity, civil service
  • How long is maternity leave - is it statutory pay or contractual, and what are the terms? 
  • Are you planning to return to work?
  • I'm assuming your aren't in a union?
  • What is your job? Is it a regulated or trusted role?

I think that's all I need to know for now. You need to wait to let someone from the site team agree they'll allow you to send this information off the site.

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Sangie, princess can send answers to me or another member of the site team and we'll forward them to you in confidence.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, honeybee13 said:

Sangie, princess can send answers to me or another member of the site team and we'll forward them to you in confidence.

 

HB

Thanks HB. I'll be back on lIne in a couple of hours or so...

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I forwarded the message, Sangie. Thank you for your help.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Ok my dear. I've read what you've said, and I had sort of narrowed down some of the answers already - I was just guessing! But I'm good at guessing! 

 

Two things first.

I've asked Honeybee to edit some stuff in the thread that I'd prefer not to appear here.

Nobody needs to know it.

But it very obviously identifies you.

 

Second, there is a union.

You just haven't joined any of them!

Too late now but join a union, and I'm biased so I'd advise Unite. We have a lovely section devoted to your type of employers!!! They are very busy!!!

 

I'm going to assume you are innocent of the allegations, but at this stage it probably doesn't matter. You are not going back to that employer. If you want some "future career" advice, you can PM me at some future date - I don't think that contravenes the policy.

 

You need to urgently speak to your doctor. You will require a sick note that specifically says that you are unfit to attend any hearings, answer any questions or do anything relating to work or anything connected with it.

 

Preferably, under the box for additional information, the doctor should comment on the fact that the longstanding harassment and bullying by a former member of staff, combined with pressures placed on you by the employer are resulting in a danger to you and the baby. The tougher it is, the better. 

 

Then, and sorry, because I know your aren't well, you need to submit a grievance. You don't to go mad with details or evidence - it is never going to be heard!

 

Your grievance will outline failure to protect you from bullying and harassment, undue pressure to take part in legal proceedings, false allegations, failure to risk assess their actions against your extremely dangerous pregnancy, and absolutely anything else you can think of.  The more outrageous the better! Most of which are probably true.

 

You mention the words discrimination a lot. Preferably in every sentence. And in particular you need to mention several times that this is untrue and unsubstantiated unfair allegations made solely because you are pregnant, and they trying to get rid of you. Your are "allowed" to be as hysterical as you like, so the more the better.

 

Because you are pregnant and women always are (and I say that because I definitely don't believe it!); Because you really are very sick and so you can later blame it on hormones if you  need to; and because you need to scare the hell out of them. The latter won't be hard. 

 

By the way, you very certainly won't be appearing as a witness in anything for them anytime soon - or ever. Whatever hole they have got themselves into previously, they are digging another one now.

 

Your aim then to to forget it, sit back. It's called "light the blue touchpaper". You have a year to play with them. 

 

Every time they attempt to contact you you produce a fit note saying you are too sick, too stressed or whatever to take part in anything right now.

 

You make it absolutely clear this is discrimination, false allegations, harassment and bullying.

 

If they even think of asking your anything about the other employees tribunal, tell them to take a hike. Not your problem any more. They lost  the right to loyalty on that one. They aren't worth you, and you won't have a place to go back to after all this.

 

So you are aiming to scare the hell out of them, to get them to back off and give you space, and then you hit them with a demand for a settlement agreement which includes a confidentiality clause and a very very good reference.

 

By that time you'll probably need a solicitor. But that's a long time into the future. You need to try to put this away and concentrate on yourself. There isn't time to sort this in the next couple of weeks, so you need to park it and let them sweat. 

 

Do you understand? I don't know why you've been accused of these things. It makes no logical sense. If they were true, why on earth would you have highlighted wrong doing with the other member of staff.

 

I suspect that you, and probably others, are being  scapegoated by the employer because they have acted incompetantly in so many area of management as to question their right to manage. I see it often in this sector. But they are demanding you prove a negative.

 

You submitted receipts for expenses, but they claim you didn't. How do you prove you did when they have them!? And they've "disappeared"? How convenient.

 

The actual question is why they would have authorised payment without receipts and how on earth it supposedly took them so long to notice!?

 

I believe you are being set up. Your job is to have a healthy baby, then take them to the cleaners so they think they got off easy with the other employee!

 

 

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As baby is due on 21st and you are ill then your maternity leave has already started. You should formalise this rather than allow them to have the upper hand. You cna claim it  up to 11 weeks before birth date and I'm surprised your doctor hasnt said anything about this. It certainly would have taken the wind out of their sails and you could have been nice to them by allowing 1 person from HR to visit you at home

 

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