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Witness for disciplinary whilst on maternity leave?

(15 Posts)
LadySnapcase Tue 23-Jul-13 21:53:51

Hi, hoping for some advice!

Am in the NHS, and a while ago I was one of the main witnesses in a disciplinary investigation that resulted in the member of staff being terminated. This person has since appealed the decision, and I've been asked via email to attend the appeal hearing next month. However, I'm currently on annual leave and due to start maternity leave at the beginning of august! I'll be around 37 1/2 weeks at the hearing date. So, I was wondering where I stand with regards to attending? Obviously I might not be in a position to go anyway, depending on when the baby decides to make an appearance, but am I even allowed to attend given that I'll be on maternity? I'm assuming they can't really hold it against me if I don't attend? And if I don't go, will they look at the evidence I've given previously or can they not take that into consideration? As horrible as it all is, this person has no business working in a caring profession and I really couldn't stand the thought of them potentially getting their job back because of lack of evidence. One of the other witnesses is also pregnant and is hugely stressed at the thought of going through it all again, so is unlikely to attend.

Anybody any thoughts...?

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 23-Jul-13 22:45:31

Not sure where you stand legally. Are you a union member?

If it was me, I'd be keen to do it if I could for the reasons that you've outlined.

LadySnapcase Tue 23-Jul-13 23:00:02

Yes, am with the RCN.

I definitely want to do it if I can, I think, but am also worried about the impact the stress might have. It's in front of some very senior people and I might struggle with my hormones...think I'll end up crying at some point. Last time I was only in my first trimester and managed to hold it together until I got out of the room, but only just.

The thought of her getting her job back is probably more stressful though, to be honest!

stella1w Tue 23-Jul-13 23:16:29

If you are able to attend, then do. If you have just given birth, then they might delay the hearing until you are available.

twinklytoes Tue 23-Jul-13 23:17:56

my gut is that the appeal is just matter of course. it is unlikely that the more senior panel is going to go against the original decision. therefore, it won't make any difference if you are there or not - they will see your original statement, plus the notes of the first disciplinary hearing and these will be taken into account.

personally, think I would share my concerns with the HR dept and ask that you do not attend due to the stress that this may cause.

edam Tue 23-Jul-13 23:24:50

No idea but I'd reply to the email, explaining that you go on maternity leave on <date> and therefore may not be able to attend. Find out whether you are permitted to attend on maternity leave anyway, just in case you feel up to it. Ask whether they can rely on your statements given at the previous hearing.

Look into exactly what the NHS considers 'returning to work' from maternity leave. When I was off on Maternity leave a few (6) years ago, if you worked for even one day your employer has the right to cancel the rest of your leave and expect you back to work. I was even warned that being arrested by the Police would be considered as 'returning to work'! Now, I was in the Armed Forces, so the rules could well be different, and since then they have brought in a certain number of days for women on maternity leave to be allowed to meet up with career managers and new line managers to ease their return to the workforce, so things could be very different now.

Just go into this with your eyes open - I understand your understandable and professional desire to be present at the hearing, but make sure you do not risk your own position. Speak to your union and get good legal advice.

flowery Tue 23-Jul-13 23:34:33

You are certainly allowed to attend. I would suggest speaking to HR about your concerns, and perhaps looking into Skype or giving your tesrim

flowery Tue 23-Jul-13 23:34:55

Sorry!

Giving your testimony on the phone.

LadySnapcase Tue 23-Jul-13 23:43:39

Thanks everyone, a few things there I hadn't thought about...

Will ring HR tomorrow and explain the situation. I wonder if it could possibly be considered as a kind of KIT day...? Not really the point of them, I guess, but might be a way round it if there are any issues. I really do hope it's just a formality, the actual incident I witnessed was nearly a year ago now, will need to dig out my original statement which I actually think I binned the other day, bloody typical.

I guess if I do waddle in, heavily pregnant, it'll demonstrate how seriously I'm taking it? Or possibly just make me look like a hard arsed bitch with a vendetta? blush

Urgh. Hate this stuff.

LadySnapcase Tue 23-Jul-13 23:47:48

Oops, x-post, thanks flowery!

Hmm, the phone...I like the idea, but am really rubbish on the phone. Like to be able to see who I'm talking to.

Well, except the person I'm going to have to testify against, obviously, I could quite happily not be able to see them at all...

LadySnapcase Wed 24-Jul-13 13:50:15

Well the woman I need to talk to is out of the office until the 5th August...hmm.

I wonder if it would be out of line to ask that if I do agree to attend, they give me an actual time rather than having to get there at 9 and sit around for hours until I'm called in?

PilchardsonToast Wed 24-Jul-13 14:02:20

Hi, if you are on maternity leave you don't need to attend anything at all not would it be reasonable for your employer to expect you to.

you could if you want to be involved use a KIT day to attend the appeal or offer to prepare a written statement if that suits you better (KIT day also) as with a very young baby you won't be very flexible regarding attending the hearing.

If you are named in the case they may be just going through due process inviting you to attend but don't actually expect you will.

hermioneweasley Wed 24-Jul-13 14:34:37

Do you have anything to add or and above your original statement? Why woukd you be needed to give evidence again?

If they do have new questions to ask, I would suggest as Flowery has said, that a phone call would be perfectly adequate. They coukd also write with their new questions and you could provide your answers in writing, which gives you more flexibility.

LadySnapcase Wed 24-Jul-13 17:07:05

Don't have anything to add to what I said originally, so not sure why they want me to attend the appeal. Unless the appeal is based on some new information and they want to ask me about that, but have no idea what it could be hmm.

If I do go think I will suggest taking it as a KIT day, least I'll get paid for the stress that way!

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