Suspension from work - part 2

(437 Posts)
applecrumbleandcream Thu 12-Apr-12 17:51:15

Thanks everyone, just catching up. Not feeling too good today. A bit grim. Not feeling strong at all but emotional and very sad. Been to the doctors again and just broke down completely, he wants to sign me off but I told him that I just want to get all this over with. He has wrote me a statement whilst I was there blubbering for me to send to the Investigator to say that I am not currently well enough to complete this work. I even had the doctor crying and saying he despairs that employers are doing this. I told him I have got no confidence in the unison rep. I spoke to him this morning to ask his advice about filling in this statement when it doesn't list my computer and what should I do, he was very sharp said if I don't do as I am asked then it is going to go to a Hearing and then said he was in a meeting and just cut me off!!!

My dad has said he will get me the best lawyer there is and forget about Unison, just wondering what to do about this. Have to go back to doctors again next Thursday. He is compiling a proper medical statement for me.

I'm sorry if none of this makes sense, but I can't think straight at the moment. sad

MigratingCoconuts Thu 12-Apr-12 20:41:51

I can't add anything better than has already been said to you. Just to say though, that you will have down days but you have been so very strong and do keep going xx

Rosa Thu 12-Apr-12 21:32:30

Apple don't give up , hang in there squiffy has given some sound advice......

Softlysoftly Thu 12-Apr-12 21:42:32

Apple a lawyer will not cost you the earth, a lawyer for a start will usually give you a one hour free consultation to decide whether to take the case or not. The right one will also work on the same basis as a personal claims lawyer meaning they will take the case on a no win no fee basis taking a % of your payout, less risk to you.

My lawyer cut through my employers like a knife through butter, the second I contacted him I attended no further meetings, had no further contact and it was a case of him negotiating exactly what they would pay me.

applecrumbleandcream Thu 12-Apr-12 22:13:24

Thanks everyone. Sorry about earlier, have calmed down a bit now and hopefully a bit more coherent!!!

I am currently in two minds about a lawyer at the moment as it is still at an investigation stage... although the union rep did state this morning that he thinks it will go to a disciplinary (thanks for that, made me feel even worse) so even he has no confidence in how it is going to pan out. sad

I do know that unison have an employment law team who only work for union members so I would presume that they would call on these if they needed to and required expert employment law advice?? Am I right in presuming this would be free as being part of unison?? They had a stand at the recent AGM and I still have their card.

Softly, Softly I hear what you are saying. I will need to think about all this if it gets to a disciplinary.

Do you get in contact with a lawyer prior to the disciplinary as I have heard that unison may pull out their involvement if an external lawyer is brought in, is this correct?

Sorry for all these questions, I am just trying to figure it all out..

Bohica Thu 12-Apr-12 22:29:20

You have some amazing support and advice on both of your threads Apple

Stay strong, you have a great case.

You shouldn't have been asked to respond by phone call the next day, we normally give a week inbetween stage 1 & 2 so you have time to gather your evidence, these meetings are all recorded with minutes typed up for you to sign and take a copy.

geekette Thu 12-Apr-12 22:32:21

Geez apple, sounds like you are surrounded by a bunch of box tickers...

They do seem flippant and it looks like they have decided most of the procedure and outcome before it even started. I personally would engage a lawyer.

Lots of hugs coming your way.

omydarlin Thu 12-Apr-12 22:35:35

just want to say Apple look after yourself. Please try and take one step at a time. I think as you work in public service there may be certain lengthy procedures to go through in any case so perhaps think about the Lawyer thing another day. hugs you are doing so well x

Calamityboo Thu 12-Apr-12 22:36:24

Hiya apple, don't be rushed into anything by them, also maybe give the union law team a call just to check out what you are offered and if it will be free. Stay strong, keep posting, even if they are just the ramblings of a crazy person grin

kid Thu 12-Apr-12 22:44:05

apple, really sorry to hear that this hasn't been resolved in any way yet.

I think the advice offered by Longtalljosie on page 2 if thread is excellent. Email them a letter stating their mistakes of the computer you were meant to have used and also the fact that you don't work Tuesdays. How can they make such a stupid error?

Best of luck, it sounds like they have messed up big time and that should hopefully help your cause.

Oh Apple I am so sorry this is happening to you.

Stay strong and fight back, You have done nothing wrong here!

McNaughty Thu 12-Apr-12 23:05:42

I can understand your reluctance to go down the lawyer route while you have the Union help to consider.

However, there is nothing to stop you taking advice - you will only engage the services of a lawyer once the contract is signed. Like you would with any other service - look around, get prices, understand what they can do for you and then its on a back burner for when you need it.

My situation was the same as Softlysoftly and the whole thing was taken out of my hands. It was the one of the best decisions I made. I've kept the one paragraph fax that got me my settlement.

Its never too early to get good legal advice. I cannot recommend it enough and you can at least investigate it alongside your discussions with the Union. I for one would want to know what legal expertise the Union rep has. If they are not qualified, they may be as clueless as your managers.

Until you have a plan, I would not engage with your employer in any detail other than to say that you are taking advice and that you are within your rights.

heliumballoons Thu 12-Apr-12 23:07:54

So sorry to hear your feeling this way apples I agree with others that it may feel like it's happening too slow but that does at least mean you get a chance to make sure you give factual details.

If your signed off with stress are you meant to be completing paperwork and attending meetings?

If not, could you simply email;

Dear Sir,

We met on 11/04/11 when you asked me to read and respond to 11 pages of facts by 12/04/12.

I have been signed off from work following a GP consultation and a letter will be arriving shortly by recorded delivery to confirm this.

The information I have gathered for you is as follows;

I don't work Tuesdays and I do not log in on computer tagxxxx.

Yours etc

OK it's badly worded but I hope you understand what I mean?

TwoIfBySea Thu 12-Apr-12 23:19:41

Really feeling for you apple, it is awful how some employers bully and intimidate loyal employees to the point where they are made ill.

I would go with the email helium suggested there but add in that due to the stress this has caused you they have left you no alternative but to consult a lawyer.

Then get yourself to CAB.

Would the union not give you a lawyer? I don't know how these things work, have always felt a little suspicious of union motives. I would have thought that after 16 years of contributions they have a duty towards you that they are not fulfilling?

Gumby Thu 12-Apr-12 23:27:27

* I even had the doctor crying and saying he despairs that employers are doing this.*

He really cried?!

I'm so sorry for you, hope you get some sleep xxx

TheFarSide Thu 12-Apr-12 23:33:25

Given the response to the meeting on this thread, I'm surprised the union rep thinks it will go to a disciplinary. I'm wondering what makes him think that. Does he think they have a case?

iklboo Thu 12-Apr-12 23:36:14

Thinking of you apple. Stay strong.

BellaVita Thu 12-Apr-12 23:40:47

Oh you poor love sad

Thinking of you.

WorriedBetty Fri 13-Apr-12 00:11:29

you can talk to lawyers - don't tell unison rep but tell lawyers you have unison rep. unison might take offence - you need all help and all allys! I suggest you make appnt to see MP at surgery as public sector and explain you are concerned that it is misguided and possible scapegoating and this will cost public purse. Ask about referral to bar pro bono service. Again tell MP of union support but not nec. UNISON at this stage for same reason as above. If they go to discilpinary (it does sound like they will and UNISON rep is right to prepare you for this) with nothing all to the good.

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 13-Apr-12 01:24:05

apple i think they have cocked up badly, wont back down to save face and possibly want rid of you for whatever reason, i would seek legal advice now if you can bring yourself to do it and you can afford to do it.

unison are fine but they are free, doing their best but you will not be their priority.
a proper legal solicitor will be fighting for you and only you. Id seek advice if nothing else.
i would also not give them an inch by going sick personally - but of course i understand the huge stress you are being placed under and no one could blame you for going sick, i wouldnt do it yet if you can manage to hang on.

I think for what they are putting you through you could probably seek advice on a range of issues. Even if after all of this is over you are cleared of any misconduct, how are you ever supposed to face going back into that place to work again?

i would start to seek legal advice now. it cant hurt and if you get the right legal rep they could stop this bullshit fairly quickly i would bet.

AdelaideAussie Fri 13-Apr-12 01:33:12

I'm going through something very similar although I'm a volunteer so have no legal protection, stay strong and fight the bastards 'cos I'm gonna fight to my last breath, never give up

SunflowersSmile Fri 13-Apr-12 07:25:34

I am shocked at how crap your Unison Rep is being. Isn't he supposed to be 'on your side'? Is he holding back information? Surely he should be completely upfront with you about the reasons this is likely to go to 'Disciplinary'?
If there is a 'Law Team' with Unison it may be worth contacting them. If this feels like 'too much' in your fragile state some of the letter ideas here are great.
Quietly check out legal advice as others have suggested. Sounds like whole lot of them need a massive kick up the bum!!

ToothbrushThief Fri 13-Apr-12 07:30:59

Loads of conflicting advice for you here - I'm hesitant to join it but here's my view
Firstly you have been treated appallingly with no consideration for you as a person

However.... legally, the employer has probably done nothing wrong if they can show they complied with their own written protocols on handling this. They have 'evidence' and have to investigate

If you go straight to the legal route I'd consider what you are hoping to achieve. Is it to retain your job? Sue them for constructive dismissal?

30mins free advice will give you chance to hear an opinion. 30mins goes very quickly. Go in with everything clearly and concise ly written. e.g. I have been employed for x yrs on a permanenet contract.

Keep records of every phone conversation (date and time them) and also letters and keep your records in order.

I would pursue the unison route and exhaust that mean time. If your rep is either unsympathetic/over worked or just not 'up to the job' ask to have another one.

In black and white on paper it may break down to
They had clear evidence of fraud
It amounted to something which would substantiate instant suspension
They did ...following procedure
You were kept informed of when you would be seen and they delayed a week in order that you had your leave uninterrupted

Take out your experience of it and it sounds more reasonable. (I know it's not)

Next bit is crucial.

You do need to answer the allegations. You don't need to answer in detail if you have nothing to offer - someone said a straight answer of not my machine/not my working day should be tagged against a lot of them - take those events out of your equation.

Next question. Do you share your log in details - that is probably an offence?

Remember what you can and offer that up with a covering note to say that the evidence on the roster was (you assumed) accurate but it would appear to be tampered with or corrupt. It is not down to you.

I personally think being off sick is good - you need that space, the employer has to acknowlegde outcome on you, in a subsequent court case you have evidence of effect on you

I sound unsympathetic -I'm not (see line two) I'm just trying to be constructive smile

I'm an employment solicitor and I think that is excellent advice Toothbrush. I'm also worried about all the conflicting advice. I recall the OP saying very early on that she would struggle to get another job that pays as well locally. There's a lot to be said for having a job at all in this market, better yet a job where (current events excepted) there would seem to be stability and security and in which you are competent and (again except for this) not unhappy. I'd be wary of shutting the doors on a conciliatory approach at this stage and I'd make absolutely certain any advisor I instructed was the type to take such concerns on board and not just gung ho for a court battle.

Pufflemum Fri 13-Apr-12 08:01:15

Sometimes your household insurance covers legal expenses, sounds bizarre but it may be worth checking if these would help you pay for a solicitor. Good luck. Xx

NapaCab Fri 13-Apr-12 08:03:36

I'd second the advice to contact a good employment lawyer NOW and just cut through the bs you are being told by your rep, your employer and others.

You're signed off sick by your GP so this gives you time. Talk to a few employment lawyers on a noncommittal basis (most will give you an initial free consultation to assess your case before they take you on formally as a client and start charging for work). This initial contact should give you a good idea who to go with to represent you. You could even have a full consultation with a firm and pay circa 200 quid for it without having to take it any further unless you needed to. You don't need to mention litigation to your employer at all or reveal that you've taken advice. You would be advised to keep it under your hat actually as you don't want to seem adversarial.

As someone who was made redundant for being pregnant from my university job and who was bullied and threatened every step of the way by the University hierarchy - tactics just like you describe of them taking ages to review my case but then expecting me to respond immediately to them even though I was signed off sick with stress and was pregnant with a history of miscarriage - believe me: NO-ONE will advise and support you like a good employment lawyer for whose time you are paying. The union rep has his own agenda - often they are allied with management in minimizing the number of tribunals and 'hassle' with employees. ACAS are not great. Of the two advisors I spoke to, one was helpful if cautious in her advice, the other was an absolute ignoramus who was sexist and biased against me because I was a non-Uk citizen and pregnant. He just assumed I was making a spurious claim for money (as if! The money involved was pitiful, compared to what I earned).

It is really tough when you see corruption and lies happening at the public expense in public institutions that should be accountable to the taxpayer. What I experienced and saw made me sick to my stomach and put me off ever working again for the public sector - or actually ever working again in the UK because of the unfairness of the tribunal system which is all aimed at helping employers shirk their duties to employees and tricking employees out of their rights. At least in the USA, while there are few formal nation-wide employment rights, you're free to sue your employer for anything and are not circumscribed by a biased tribunals system that is weighted against the employee. Honestly when you are in the position that you're in of fighting an employer who is breaking the law, people queue up to lie to you and bully you out of your rights for the convenience of management. In my bitter experience, the only person you can trust is your lawyer for whom you are paying.

Good luck - I hope you find a good lawyer and have your rights protected.

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