To think you should be told why you're being suspended?

(27 Posts)
Freight Fri 07-Oct-16 17:58:28

Posting for a friend.

She has been advised that a formal complaint has been made against her by a member of a team she is newly managing. They would not tell her the basis of the complaint but have suspended her on full pay pending the outcome of an investigation. She has been told she will find out what the complaint is next week and then a meeting will be held two days later and in the meantime she is not to contact any colleagues. My friend has no idea what this could be about.

Do they have to tell her what the basis of the complaint is? What should she do?

Dragon5000 Fri 07-Oct-16 18:00:38

I was suspended last year and it wasn't until my meeting I was given details, it's so you don't have time to get a back story or convince people to change their mind etc

Finola1step Fri 07-Oct-16 18:03:24

Yes, they do have to tell her what the complaint is about. Which they plan to do next week.

Freight Fri 07-Oct-16 18:36:31

It doesn't leave her much time to prepare a defence though. There are no issues with her trying to persuade people to change their minds or back her up because she is barred from speaking to anyone.

Are they allowed to do this?

maybeshesawomble Fri 07-Oct-16 18:43:28

She will have an opportunity to prepare a defence after the formal meeting.

maggiethemagpie Fri 07-Oct-16 18:52:26

I work in HR and we give very brief details of the suspension eg theft, breach of procedure but we can't give much more detail than that as we've not investigated yet.

if the case goes to a formal hearing the employee gets full details of the allegation, report, statements, basically all the information the manager would have.

HTH

BillSykesDog Fri 07-Oct-16 18:57:37

I don't think they will expect her to give a defence at the meeting.

Freight Fri 07-Oct-16 19:25:02

Thanks maggie, that's really helpful. They haven't given any indication of what this relates to at all which I think is rather unfair, especially as she's got the whole weekend and part of next week to sit stewing on it wondering what on earth she's supposed to have done wrong.

Wrapmeinjump Fri 07-Oct-16 19:27:08

She must have some inkling? If it's severe enough to be suspended over it won't be something small.

HunterHearstHelmsley Fri 07-Oct-16 19:31:58

I was told why I was suspended at the suspension meeting. Then at the investigation meetings I put my side forward.

CreepingDogFart Fri 07-Oct-16 19:32:12

Tell her to make sure she does not go into the meeting alone. She needs either a union rep (if appropriate to the profession) or someone else as a support- preferably not a family member.

mya83 Fri 07-Oct-16 19:33:42

I agree with previous comments- she must have some idea?

Freight Fri 07-Oct-16 19:37:15

Wrap, she knows why this is happening (her manager dislikes her and has been trying to force her out for some time) but not what allegations they've decided to pin on her.

She isn't a member of a union currently but I've told her to look into this. Who would be an appropriate person to accompany her to the meeting? From what has been posted, I'm gathering the meeting they mentioned is an investigatory one but they didn't say any of this to her.

qwom Fri 07-Oct-16 19:39:47

This is really useful to understand the process.
m.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2174

Should it get to the point of a formal disciplinary hearing she would be given a copy of all of the evidence her employers would intend on using in that hearing, prior to the hearing, so she could prepare a defence. If the outcome of that one was unsatisfactory then she'd be welcome to appeal.
After that she would have to take it to tribunal if she was v unhappy with the outcome of that!
Hth

qwom Fri 07-Oct-16 19:41:44

If she had been working for them for more than 2 years and she had the evidence, she found take them to court for unfair dismissal. If under 2 years, she couldn't.

qwom Fri 07-Oct-16 19:43:16

She could take another, uninvolved member of staff, or a union rep - I don't think you have to be a member of a union to use the rep... She'd need to triple check that

wheresthel1ght Fri 07-Oct-16 19:49:19

As I understand it for investigation meetings she would not be entitled to take anyone with her. At this point they are only fact finding and are not formally taking disciplinary action.

However she should have been told the basics of what she has been suspended for ie gross misconduct if they haven't done this then they have probably breached their own procedures and won't be able to take it much further.

Dragon5000 Fri 07-Oct-16 20:26:54

I took my union rep to my investigation meeting, they asked for my side of the story and then told me they'd be in contact, it was horrific as a manager had lied about me and they believed them over me

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Fri 07-Oct-16 20:31:57

Tell her not to waste her money joining a union - they won't support you in anything that began before you joined.

BillSykesDog Fri 07-Oct-16 20:38:39

If she's not a member of a Union she would do well to think about asking someone to come with her whose trustworthiness can't be called into question. For example maybe a retired teacher or a doctor or at least someone who held a position of trust. Just in case she needs them to back up her account of what happens later. Also it will need to be someone who can take good succinct notes as she probably won't be able to do that, concentrate and think. They should minute it on her behalf so she has an account of what happened. She could also get a solicitor to go with her if she can afford.

She also should remember she doesn't have to be railroaded into responding there and then but can say she wants to go away and consult before responding.

BalancingStick Fri 07-Oct-16 20:42:10

Always worth contacting your Union. I contacted my rep (wasn't a member) and they were so horrified by how I was being treated (sexual discrimination) that they agreed to represent me - the rep could;t make the decision but took back to the regional rep and they agreed to it once things got underway. Obviously I then did join the union as well. The Union were fantastic - I will never forget the kindness they showed me and having someone who was firmly 'on my side' really helped.

Threebedsemii Fri 07-Oct-16 20:42:47

You can't join a union after you need them. She should take someone else though ( a solicitor wouldn't be a bad call if she can afford it!)

Your poor friend though, how stressful. It is ok not to give details now but she will get them

mercilousming Fri 07-Oct-16 20:52:37

A long long time ago, I was a 20 year old store manager for a huge chain that specialises in glittery tat, scrunchies, cheap make up, and has it's ear piercing table in the window (need any more clues).

One of my weekend staff accused me of racism. My GM called a meeting with me to tell me. As I was vital to the operation of my store, and my accuser was contracted for 4 hours a week, it was she who didn't work for the 2 weeks it took for it to be confirmed to the GM (who didn't believe it in the first place) that I am not racist.

The stuff I had to respond to was insane - "One day there was just me (her) and her (me) in the shop. She took 1.5hr for her lunch break. Didn't offer me the same. Also she bought clothes and tried them on in the shop FOH!". Me - "One day we got paid. I had to change cash for a holiday, she needed to sort out her bank account. It was dead so I allowed us both an extra 15 mins on our lunch break. No I did not use the shop floor as a dressing room. I tried the clothes on in the staffroom."

All staff were interviewed, then it was dismissed. I was terrified but I knew I'd done nothing wrong. She came back to work, bought me a lovely present when it was my birthday, left for uni. On her return it was obv never discussed, it was like it never happened. I'll never forget it, and it always makes me think when I think I might have a whinge.

Sorry that doesn't help other than - I always knew what I could potentially be suspended for. As your friend should.

maggiethemagpie Fri 07-Oct-16 21:13:06

There's no legal right to representation at investigation stage - only if it goes to a disciplinary hearing. Where I work, if the employee requests a companion for moral support this is considered and usually allowed but they'd not be expected to take an active role in the meeting.

A lot of places would not let you bring a companion with you into the investigation though, unless you had a special reason such as a learning disability or needed an interpreter.

Always worth asking though.

Freight Fri 07-Oct-16 22:00:46

Thanks everyone, these replies have been really useful. We're going to go through the links together.

My friend is unclear what the meeting next week is about. Her manager said that the results of the investigation will be revealed at this meeting and she's already been told that she can bring someone with her.

My friend has said a lot of what has gone on before has been things said in a way that is open to interpretation (although the message was clear to her) and in informal meetings outside of the building between just her and the manager. She has been keeping notes of these but is unsure how she will get hold of these as they are at work. Is there any way she could request permission to access the notes?

Is it enough that she's been told there's been a complaint submitted? Or should they have told her the gist of the complaint? She's been told that her team will be interviewed as part of the investigation so it's probably a complaint along the lines of something said although my friend is adamant she hasn't said or done anything out of line, particularly as it was a new team so they were all still getting to know each other.

Dragon and Merci, I'm sorry that you both went through that. I've never been accused of any wrong doing in the work place but was once falsely accused of theft in a volunteer role. It was horrific and humiliating but of course that was the intention of my accuser and I hate her to this day for it. I feel terrible for my friend sad.

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