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

JulesJules Thu 12-Apr-12 17:55:26

Oh Apple sad

We are all still here, rooting for you ((((hugs))))

I'm sorry to hear your union rep is being so unsupportive, you asked a pretty relevant question.
Can you contact your regional office and ask for someone else?

Groovee Thu 12-Apr-12 17:56:41

Oh Apple (((hugs))))

SweetTheSting Thu 12-Apr-12 17:57:22

Oh no poor you, thinking of you

<lurker on your other thread>

JulesJules Thu 12-Apr-12 17:58:57

Apple's previous thread is here

SophieNeveau Thu 12-Apr-12 17:59:42

marking my place

RabidAnchovy Thu 12-Apr-12 17:59:55

Marking place

msrisotto Thu 12-Apr-12 18:02:11

Oh Apple i'm sorry. The Unison rep sounded shit, is there another rep who can support you? Sounds like you have a nice GP and Dad to lean on though.

God they're fuckers for doing this to you, such shitty behaviour. You're in the right, you know you are. Take some comfort in that and be angry rather than upset (hugs).

skirt Thu 12-Apr-12 18:02:33

What a crock of crap for you. Is your rep an employee of the Trust or a full time unison employee? Can you swap to a F/T rep?

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Thu 12-Apr-12 18:02:43

poor you sad
hang on, it will get better.

SunflowersSmile Thu 12-Apr-12 18:05:19

I have been lurking on your previous thread. Surely on a lot of the stuff they have asked you to check you can basically put a line through it with side remarks 'not in office that day' / 'not my computer', etc.
However they are treating you very badly and your union rep needs a kick up the arse. They are making you ill and I hope that they realise they have cocked up big time.
Glad you have the support of your Dad and your doctor.
You take care.

Botticelli Thu 12-Apr-12 18:06:38

I'm sure you'll get good advice here very soon.
You are behaving very well.
Don't let them get you down.
Just remember you are the equal of them.
Concentrate on your health,and tell yourself your family loves you loads-your dad sounds great.

DaisySteiner Thu 12-Apr-12 18:09:46

Apple, you've done so, so well coping with all this. You're being so strong. I would be a total mess. This will all come to an end. It is just a job - easy for me to say, I know, but the main thing is that you have a loving family right beside you. You will get through this. And then you can kick their arses good.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 12-Apr-12 18:10:49

Oh bless yousad

Just hang in there, keep reminding yourself that however hard this feels right've done nothing wrong and can maintain your dignity and self respect.

Your employer and unison rep on the other hand sound completely incompetent and crap.

namechangingagain Thu 12-Apr-12 18:13:28

Let your doctor sign you off.

Then you will have some breathing space.

Your own lawyer will cost a bomb - get hold of union regional office - tell them you are overwhelmed, cry a lot and ask for more help.

Tell them there are so many pieces of paper and inaccuracies that you don't know where to start.

EssentialFattyAcid Thu 12-Apr-12 18:14:38

You can get through this apple

Try to step back now and then try think of it as a game and plot your next moves. Your employer is holding some pretty crap cards here tbh. There is a game here that has to be played out now as a process has been started.

Although today was a bad day you got help from your GP which will probably also be very useful later on. Re getting a lawyer - do you have legal cover on your house insurance? Many people do. Then you could use this instead of using Unison if you wanted to.

Decide what you want to get at the end of this game and plot your moves with this in mind.

MummyPocPoc Thu 12-Apr-12 18:14:42

Apple did you contact your manager or investigating officer to say that you cannot complete this statement in the miniscule amount of time they have stipulated?

I'd ask for a change of union rep, this guy wasn't much help in the meeting, and is being a shit now. Aren't you important enough for him or something? Complain now. If you don't speak up, you won't be heard.

Tonight - [wine wine wine cos bloody hell you deserve it.

MummyPocPoc Thu 12-Apr-12 18:15:35

Also, why should your dad have to pay for a lawyer? If you win your case, will he still be landed with a hefty fee? You've paid your union fees long enough, you ought to get the service you've paid for IMO.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Thu 12-Apr-12 18:16:36

apple I'm a Unison rep (for my sins, long story) if I can help at all PM me.

ToothbrushThief Thu 12-Apr-12 18:23:22

Sorry but your rep sounds crap sad

They cannot takes so long to 'investigate' and then expect such a short timescale for you. Do you have a work diary or roster or anything which will help you? Can colleagues help remind you -even if not allowed to talk to them -make notes of who might verify stuff

CointreauVersial Thu 12-Apr-12 18:23:30

Apple, stay strong, stay angry! You know you are in the right.

MadamFolly Thu 12-Apr-12 18:23:48

Was lurking on your previous thread and just want to add my support. Hope you feel better soon.

and to say that your employers are complete cuntbunglers

Bearcat Thu 12-Apr-12 18:27:31

Apple, Apple, Apple
You have done so well so far. You've got through your investigatory meeting and it sounds like its all a load of old cobblers.
Remember you are not the only one going through this ( I've been there for several months now, and still no news).
But I have and you will get stronger.
Can't say much really but use your lovely family, as I have for their love, fantastic support and help in putting your defence and case together.

<<Big Hug>>

StillSquiffy Thu 12-Apr-12 18:35:42

This is not yet the time for lawyers.

You need to take a deep breath and understand this is an admin issue. It isn't about you in the slightest.

BUT it does need to be dealt with, and the sooner you deal with it the sooner the weight will be lifted off your shoulders.

You need to write down that you are unable to address their issues until they give you an accurate list of queries. Add that you are concerned that you are being asked to explain logging in details that occurred on computers that were not yours and on days when you are not in the office. Obviously you cannot be expected to explain such matters given that you (a) did not log in on those other computers, (b) did not give your log-in details to anyone else, and (c) were not even present in the office on many of the days noted. Add that being put under suspicion for grounds that are still a complete mystery to you has caused you such concern that you have been in pieces since being suspended to the point that your GP has forbidden you to return to work, but that nevertheless you are keen to see this investigation completed as soon as possible so that such suspicion can be lifted and you can be cleared, and therefore you would like them to redraft their unanswered queries as soon as possible, making sure this time to eliminate all admin errors before representing it to you.

I would also add that you are somewhat concerned that your own feelings in all of this have been trodden all over, yet the company seems willing to bend over backwards to accommodate the upcoming vacation of one of the investigators to the point that it is willing to present a set of 'evidence' that even the most cursory of checks would have been shown to have been full of errors.

Send the letter in with your GP note.

Pastabee Thu 12-Apr-12 18:38:14

Sounds like your Dr was supportive which is good. I agree with others who suggest you contact your union office and ask for a FT rep.

Stress at work is cause for grievance.
You have been caused stress at work, and it is teetering on causing you physical harm and even seems to be leading towards constructive dismissal (in that they seem to be 'hounding' you)

Some legal advice, which I am not qualified to give in detail, would be very useful here.

Sorry I am not able to help further, except to send you love and support

auntpetunia Thu 12-Apr-12 18:39:37

Apple from past experience contact UNISON via their website under regional area and email complaining about your rep and ask for regional help. And also for local unison solicitor to deal with anything from now on.

Don't let the bastards get you down.

applecrumbleandcream Thu 12-Apr-12 18:44:05

Thanks everyone, just not feeling well today at all. Feel utterly deflated.

Started to go through the statement this morning, but because the tag numbers aren't correct, I am trying to answer dates/times of log in events for a computer that was never used by me!!!

I haven't contacted the Investigator as took from 7 am this morning till going to the doctors at 3.45 pm to get my head round the document and make a start on the email. I was going to try and get it done today and email it before 5pm, but obviously not done this. Just read Doctor's statement and wondering if I should hand deliver it tomorrow or should I send it recorded delivery? Doctor said how unreasonable it is to expect me to fill it in over night after all the time they have had and there should at least be a week to complete this is what his statement says and that I have been to day and been prescribed Propranolol along with the anti d's.

No don't really want to use external lawyer if can help it. Dad will need to keep hold of his money for when I come looking for some in the future if the worst happens!! Yes, true I have been paying for 16 years it's about time they did something for me. Perhaps it is me just being emotional and panicking... he was probably in a meeting and I'm expecting him to drop everything and just help me grin

He also said don't do the investigating for them by providing information about the computer I was using at the time that is not mentioned once in the document. Very confused as he is saying this and then saying provide them with dates and times... I feel like I'm going round in circles never getting anywhere. I tried to explain to him about the computers which forms the fundamental basis of their argument and is flawed but he just said to concentrate on answering the dates/times and also think of what else I could be doing when occasions not on the computer.

I'm sick and tired of all this now.... not feeling well and feel like telling them all just to piss off!! Thanks everyone as I couldn't have got this far without you.

SunflowersSmile Thu 12-Apr-12 18:50:18

Excellent advice StillSquiffy. [Along with everyone elses].
Hopefully will show them you mean business.

SunflowersSmile Thu 12-Apr-12 18:51:13

Gosh I'm a slow typer!!

SunflowersSmile Thu 12-Apr-12 19:04:33

Still think StillSquiffy's advice particularly good mind [previous page].

MrsSnaplegs Thu 12-Apr-12 19:06:11

Apple I lurked on your other thread as I didn't think I had anything more useful than other posters to add but wanted to say let your GP sign you off, stress like this can make you ill. The other thing that may be worth checking is your own house insurance policy some have cover upto £50k for employment issues - if you did resort to a lawyer this would cover costs.

namechangingagain Thu 12-Apr-12 19:06:57

The ones for the computer you didn't use - that's all I'd say.

Was not logged onto this computer.

That's it - it's for them to sort their end out.

dearprudence Thu 12-Apr-12 19:07:20

Supportive lurker checking in on the new thread. Keep going apple, one foot in front of the other. Sounds like you have a lovely GP, which is a good thing.

I checke our other thread last night but never managed to post.

I just want to offer you a huge hug and virtual shoulder.

marmiteonmykeyboard Thu 12-Apr-12 19:08:07

Apple, you have been signed off sick that means you are unfit to work.Surely work includes ridiculous amounts of hunting through reams of paper to defend yourself from ludicrous allegations. This is extra pressure you do not need. You will not be able to think straight. Be easy on yourself. What would you tell a friend in this position? Inform the rep and work you have been signed off work and need say 48 hours to compose yourself to the point of logical thinking. I don't do computers but even I know you can't answer the questions you are being asked if it's not your computer. Sorry if this is crap. I've been off work for five months and I seem to have lost ability to create cogent sentences. I don't know how to do the flowers/wine/smiley symbols but they are there. I wish I could be of more use. Keep posting. People willing you on.x

agedknees Thu 12-Apr-12 19:11:57

Apple - does your household insurance have a legal helpline/free advice from a lawyer??

Or am i barking up the wrong tree.

Thinking of you. Keep strong.

Apart from the fact that I'd expect a Council's internal audit team to investigate a suspicion of fraud, I'm inclined to agree with those who suggested on the other thread that you must have been caught up in something, perhaps someone has got hold of your login details. It might not be that but it would explain their suspending you without disclosing what it was all about and the urgency to get information from you but not being forthcoming about what it is all about. They would need to keep a lid on things at least until they ruled you out. It sounds like they don't have much of a case against you, but maybe they need whatever information you can give them.

To be honest if a client of mine had serious concerns about an information security breach I'd probably advise them to go ahead and suspend anyone who could possibly involved while they sorted it out. It's not personal, but it must be truly awful to be on the receiving end, particularly after years of loyal service.

I don't think you need to go down the road of lawyers and grievances at this stage but by all means seek advice if you can afford it and if it will make you feel more in control. It's impossible to know for sure - and I wish we could givs you more comfort - but everything is pointing to this being something that will sort itself out.

Queenofcake Thu 12-Apr-12 19:21:42

Oh Apple I am so sorry you are feeling this bad but its not surprising really.

I think you have done really well to hold it together as you have until the meeting yesterday. I think how you are feeling now is quite normal and natural given the amount of stress you have been and are still under.

You need to look after yourself. I would not hand deliver the letter/sick note because the last thing you need is to bump into anyone at all. Colleagues will badger you for info and if you see someone involved in the investigation - tha could be awkward too. Post it recorded signed for delivery and chase it in a few days to make sure its been received and to get the name of who signed for it. This way you have proof it got there.

Sending you hugs and all the support in the world x

Kaekae Thu 12-Apr-12 19:27:43

Sorry have not read all of your post as my laptop keeps freezing but just wanted to say I had to use a union rep a few years ago and at first he was terrible, hard to get in touch with etc. I then asked to change rep, second one was much better still difficult to get hold of but once my case had gone to the solicitors via my union, which they paid for I actually ended up winning my case.

Calamityboo Thu 12-Apr-12 19:31:04

Hi apple, so postings is making you feel like this, you're getting some excellent advice. I can't offer that but always ready with a shoulder, some hugs and a lot of wine or a brew

I would send the letter recorded delivery. Or they will claim they never received it.

As far as dealing with the 11 pages are concerned, I would email them and say something like:

"Following our meeting on Weds, you asked me to look through 11 pages of information and verify its accuracy by the end of Thursday" (saying this puts their unreasonable request in black and white. They won't like that)

"There seem to be a very large number of inaccuracies. To start with:
1. One of the computers listed (tagline xxxx) is not my computer and I am as sure as I can be that I have never used it. Could you tell me which computer this is?
2. Your records state I have been in the office on Tuesdays. As you know, I do not work Tuesdays.

"Those two issues alone demonstrate a serious issue with this data. There are many other inaccuracies as well - and I will work through them as best I can. You will be in receipt of my doctors letter. I am however hoping this can be resolved swiftly. As I told you in our meeting I consider myself to be a hardworking and honest member of staff and feel these allegations are unjust and very upsetting.

Yours etc."

TheFarSide Thu 12-Apr-12 19:41:40

Lots of us pay for Unison membership and support - they are a large and relatively well-off union who spend money on glossy membership magazines and many expensive promotional items, and it is NOT acceptable that your rep is not giving you time and dealing sensitively with your questions. Perhaps you could go to your rep's manager and explain you feel you've been left slightly adrift and as your job and health are at stake you would like proper support.

Sounds like it's all catching up with you too, but you will have days like this, and hopefully things will look better in the morning.

OneLastSoul Thu 12-Apr-12 19:44:40

No advice here but thinking of you. For what it's worth if you were guilty of whatever-it-is I'm sure you wouldn't be feeling so utterly miserable right now sad

chimchar Thu 12-Apr-12 19:53:10

Jeez apple. Things are sounding really shitty for you.

I think you should try o change our union guy if poss. Great that your Gp is helping you out.

Sending you hugs...sounds like you need them x

WorriedBetty Thu 12-Apr-12 20:00:47

Sorry to hear your experience with UNISON rep. He will be worried about you not following his advice as all reps and lawyers do, but to express this to you in that manner wasn't helpful. You do need to trust him, but this cannot be blind and you are right to want to understand his view. It IS more politic to say 'I had some thoughts' rather than 'I want to do x' - only because they are used to defending people who do rather dramatically stupid things - even to denying up until the hearing then saying 'so what if I did' etc. It was probably his fear that he was expressing.

Secondly treat your dad's request as what it was - a firm and meaningful offer of support that gives you the freedom to examine the UNISON approach without feeling like its that or nothing. Expensive legal help may not be advisable yet, and you should certainly ask UNISON first.

It may be that UNISON regional have had 'off the record' quiet and firm 'concerns' conversations that might be moving the immovable object and he was worried that your actions - if followed - could threaten that.

Just be patient for a while - the instinct is to try to deal with this quickly and you have to hold back on that, sadly and be cautious all the time.

You did great yesterday and deep down your psychology is saying that you did so well, where is the result... that is why you feel deflated - I am pleased to say that your reaction is entirely normal and exactly what a conscientious concerned person would feel.

WasabiTillyMinto Thu 12-Apr-12 20:01:02

apple - please consider calling the ACAS helpline. i have used it and it helped put my mind at rest.

Acas Helpline
Call our Helpline for FREE support and advice
Whether you are an employer, employee or representative, you can call the national Acas helpline for free and impartial advice. Simply get in touch and we'll provide you with clear and confidential guidance about any kind of dispute or query that you have about relationship issues within the workplace. You may want to know about employment rights and rules, best practice or you may need advice about a dispute. Whatever it is, just give us a call, our team are on hand to respond within the hours below.

Helpline numbers
Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm and Saturday, 9am-1pm: 08457 47 47 47.

ArthurPewty Thu 12-Apr-12 20:02:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

McNaughty Thu 12-Apr-12 20:14:06

Hi Apple,

I'm afraid I disagree about not engaging lawyers. A good employment lawyer will make short work of these idiots and bring you through this much faster than going back and forward about detail which may not matter.

What a lawyer will do is pick out the salient points, gather them into a letter and I guarantee that the stress will be lifted immediately. They know what they are doing and in my experience it was worth every penny. Your health is worth it for a start.

My lawyer sent a one paragraph fax to my employers - it was brilliant because of what it didn't say. Enough to put the wind right up them. Your local CAB will give you a list of suitable lawyers and most give you a free half-hour consultation.

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.

Toothbrush thief do her employer not have to be fair and reasonable through the process though? Including giving her reasonable time to respond to points made?

NapaCab Fri 13-Apr-12 08:11:14

Actually, I think it was about 400 quid including VAT for the first full consultation and advice with my lawyer. Legal fees in total for a negotiated exit and protection of my maternity rights was about 2800 quid.

ArthurPewty Fri 13-Apr-12 08:12:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NapaCab Fri 13-Apr-12 08:18:53

Yes, I'd second that advice from Leonie to get everything sent by recorded delivery, keep all e-mail exchanges etc. Don't have any off-the-record conversations.

I believe your relationship with your employer has broken down to the point where you can no longer return there. If you can afford a lawyer specialising in employment tribunals, then I would get one. It shows your're serious, and the lawyer, unlike the Union, will want to get as much compensation for you as he possibly can because it means his fees will be greater.

If you can, I would go down that route and sue for constructive dismissal at the same time. It may be that as they are looking at making redundancies, you can go quietly with an enhanced redundancy package and compensation. Not ideal if you wanted to keep your job, but probably the best option for you at this time.

ToothbrushThief Fri 13-Apr-12 08:28:43

stealth - yes but.... what is written down? At the moment unless the investigators have insisted on paper that it is provided in one day it does't count in court as evidence

We rely on a humane approach at work because we are all failable. Once you lose that... (loss of trust on either side) it becomes an exercise in conforming to local protocol and evidencing that you have done so. Employers are usually experts at this. They may act badly but their paperwork evidences circumstances differently.

I was a rep once (handled industrial action/grievances/diciplinary) and I backed the staff to the hilt.

Then I was a staff member going through a grievance.

Now I am a manager. I'd hope my staff still say I work with them. I'm still an employee and could face what the OP is.

She may no longer want this job - but she may need it.

I felt the same following my grievance. I left...but only after I'd got another job. I never returned full time to my previous job - off sick with (genuine) stress and then a phased return. It's easier to get work when in a job and with a clean record. I'd say clear your name then start looking to leave.

Claims of constructive dismissal may be a lovely thought, but the reality of that is unlikely at this stage

Iwantcandy Fri 13-Apr-12 08:56:54

What longtalljosie said

Plus if you have household insurance I suggest you ring you insurer today to ask whether you have legal expenses cover and in what circumstances so that if you decide to use a lawyer you will know beforehand whether or not your insurer will pay. Your insurer will probably try to insist that you use one of their recommended lawyers, but this us not the case, you can use any lawyer you choose but may have to pay the difference between what your insurer will pay and the lawyer's actual charges.

Also ask your union whether you can speak to or meet one of their lawyers.

However, I suggest you pick one person you trust and go with their advice. As an employment lawyer I find it very frustrating when clients go into a panic and take advice left right and centre (although I can understand why). You need one experienced person to guide you through this. Good luck

2ombie5layer Fri 13-Apr-12 09:06:41

sorry to hear its not going well yet. Still thinking of you, hope you see some light at the end of this very dark tunnel soon.

applecrumbleandcream Fri 13-Apr-12 09:41:06

Thanks everyone. That is a good point. I am going to check the paperwork to see if we are covered within our household insurance for legal expenses (when I can find it).

Sorry if I wasn't clear earlier but I am not signed off work with stress and anxiety... even though the doctor did to do this. I told him I want to be able to attend all the meetings etc at this stage as being on sickness absence would just delay these meetings which would inevitably happen anyway (with or without me there). Until Wednesday's meeting I would have said that I wanted to return to my job (however difficult that may be) as I genuinely loved working there, enjoyed my job and colleagues were all great, but now I am not sure... I have no trust in the management team, if I went back I feel paranoid as though I'm being watched and monitored all the time, I feel humiliation that it all happened and will restrict my career progression and also that people will think there is truth to all the allegations and my integrity and reputation have been destroyed.

Ilovecandy, as an employment lawyer, if you don't mind me asking... at what stage would the lawyer be brought in... would they attend the disciplinary with me or would they be contacting the LA once a decision has been made following the outcome of the disciplinary? Sorry if this sounds like a silly question.

This is all making me feel so ill. Took my new medication last night which is a beta blocker, stops adrenaline and supposed to stop me panicking and anxiety but all night my heart was pounding as though I was having a panic attack... My skin feels like it is crawling with something, itchy, cold sores round my mouth and mouth ulcers, feel utterly shit!!! So angry that they have done this to me.

This morning I will email the Investigator to inform them that the timescale to review the 11 page document is unrealistic and that after visiting the GP yesterday, I will be sending by recorded delivery a statement from him to this effect. This will then give me the opportunity to look through the document over the next few days.

Kladdkaka Fri 13-Apr-12 09:42:48

I'm not a lawyer, just a law student (and not a particularly good one), but there's one thing that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet which is really important. I studied a very small bit on employment tribunals and one thing I remember is that one of the biggest reasons that employees claims are rejected is that they haven't exhausted the employers grievance procedure.

This is very important. If you are unable to return to work (your decision or theirs) you must file a grievance and follow the process to the end, through all the escalation steps.

All the best.

applecrumbleandcream Fri 13-Apr-12 09:49:35

Thanks Kladdkaka, I will bear that in mind.

Try contacting the Branch Sec of your unison branch, and just explain that you do not feel that your rep is supporting you, unfortunately, the role of rep is voluntary, and there are some bad ones out there!! If you get no joy from the Branch Sec, try and find out who the Regional organiser is for your branch and contact them.
I would suggest that you don't talk to a solicitor yet, as if Unison gets wind of it, they will immediately withdraw all support (although the support you are getting is pretty shit at the moment).
If the disciplinary doesn't go your way, you can then have it referred to Unison's legal department, unfortunately they would be able to look at it at the moment.

If you want to PM me, I can see if I can find out more about your branch, and see who would be best to contact, but I can't guarantee I would know anyone, but would be happy to try!
Chin up, it's a horrible situation to be in, and you rep is not helping!! I would bloody read them the riot act, if they were one of mine!

DogEared Fri 13-Apr-12 10:07:31

Bloody hell. What utter heartless wankers they are. Thinking of you a lot x

auntpetunia Fri 13-Apr-12 11:10:24

I second what Bafa said go to Regional Unison and then things will move I did this and in 5 days had meeting with unison appointed solicitor and never had to deal with idiot's in management again!

totallyskint Fri 13-Apr-12 11:28:04

I agree with Kladdkaka.

Even though my ex-employers did everything wrong procedurally, the union rep kept saying we had to go along with whatever they asked, that it would be important if and when we went to a tribunal.

And sure enough the reason I won an above board settlement was because we had followed procedure to the letter and they had not. In the end procedure seems to be more important than the issues at hand.

totallyskint Fri 13-Apr-12 11:32:38

Oh, also, the tribunal is not as legal as a court hearing iykwim, you pretty much have to prove you did everything right rather than them prove you did anything wrong.

And with regards to at what point a lawyer, well my case was passed to the union's law section once we had exhausted the company grievance procedure. But if you can afford your own (and you need a good employment lawyer) it may be worth engaging one now. Possibly they could accompany you to your next meeting and rattle the employers a bit.

applecrumbleandcream Fri 13-Apr-12 15:16:58

Thanks everyone, a lot to think about.

Just a query, does anyone know what guidelines there are if you are signed off sick whilst on suspension and if they do take it to a disciplinary hearing, would I still be able to attend whilst signed off sick? Just wondering.

So sorry you're still going through this Apple sad

topshelfrita Fri 13-Apr-12 15:56:22

I don't think your employers would be ABLE to hold a disciplinary hearing if you were unable to attend due to (certfied) sickness -- they would have to wait until you were fit enough to be there.

Softlysoftly Fri 13-Apr-12 17:29:32

Hiya Apple my situation was slightly different in that they tried to bump me down a level while on maternity, heartbreaking as I worked my ass off for them and had it been my boss it would never have happened however a new (male) director had been brought in while I was away and had forced out EVERY outspoken female including my boss so I had a fairly good headsup on what was likely to happen.

In your situation its not as clearcut however what I did find by talking to a lawyer is that they helped me understand the process in which I would have floundered not knowing my rights and being a bit lost like you are. It's not fair that HR and the council have all this legal knowledge and you are in the dark, I wanted a lawyer because then I knew that I couldn't cock something up and give them more ammo and they couldn't pull a fast one.

The first question in that hours consultation they asked was do I want my old job back or did I want out? And that's what you need to know as if it's the first you need to go through their internal motions. If it's the latter there may be a way to cut your way clear.

A pp said you HAVE to go through their grievance well that's not always strictly true, my lawyer found that they has messed up a small part of the process they had to follow and therefore I was under no legal obligation to play the rules either hence straight to threat of tribunal and payout.

My point being it MAY be the case your lawyer says they have done nothing wrong, keep on with Unison and follow this through to it's conclusion as instructed then if the outcome is bad (you are fired) they can look at the case for unfair dismissal. Or it MAY be the case your lawyer says (I suspect) that the gross misconduct charge was extreme, they had an obligation to bring up issues in your one to one before getting to this stage (especially seeing as some of it was known last April) they had a duty to keep the log in details and flexitime system secure etc etc all adding up to them being in the wrong and you have a case against them now and can either use it to force them into dropping the whole thing and reinstating you (lawyers aren't there just for tribunals) and you just pay for a letter or two or you can go for a payout,

Either way if you speak to a lawyer you come out better informed of your options, stronger in knowing your rights and don't ever have to go ahead with it, tell your employers you spoke to one or Unison. There is nothing to lose to ask.

Metters Fri 13-Apr-12 18:13:23

Your employer would probably refer you to occupational health to ask them to assess your fitness to attend a disciplinary hearing.

SunflowersSmile Fri 13-Apr-12 18:21:24

So much good advice here.
Just thinking that your employers have to be careful not to bully you. In a way the inaccuracies in their paperwork so far is a form of harassment in my book. They need to sort out their accuracy before you can respond to whatever they are accusing you of.
So far they have been outrageously incompetent- which has to be to your advantage in the long run.

zebrafinch Fri 13-Apr-12 18:35:10

applecrumble not sure if someone else has recommended this but google the Central London Law Centre you can download from their website a publication by Tamara Lewis "Facing Disciplinary Action: A Guide for employees and their representatives" . It may be that you do not actually have to attend a disciplinary hearing but this has good advice in case you do (e.g. why it is not a good idea to resign and claim constructive dismissal and how to prepare for a disciplinary). Good Luck but more than luck you have to try to remain calm and be forensic in analysing and defending any allegation. Is there someone who can sit beside you and help you whilst you go through and make notes on the stuff you have been given?
I know it will be difficult not to worry but can you try to say to yourself, OK I cant stop worrying about this but I can try to timetable my worrying to a set hour in the day and then fill up your other hours with positive activities that can occupy and distract you.?

zebrafinch Fri 13-Apr-12 18:40:33

Regarding a previous post The Lewis publication has in it advice on sickness and attendance at a disciplinary

Toothbrush thief I may be being nqive but surely this meeting will have been minutes? With minutes agreed by all. That was standard at my la. BTW as investigating officer it was drummed into me that I did not have an agenda, other than to be thorough and Fair.. not fair that this isn't he case everywhere

Your rep sounds absolutley shit. I'm another one seconding you ring your branch secretary and ask for another, more supportive one.

They should then help you fill in what you can remember. For the days you weren't even in don't fill them in at all, stating that is categorically not you. It sounds like other members of staff to me and you've been made a scapegoat. I'll bet they are all running around like headless chickens trying to cover their tracks.
You've been treated badly, the very fact it's taken so long and been dragged out so much has compromised your mental health and you are entitled to take out a grievance against the way management have treated you, in the future.

For now i'd go through with the next meeting then sign off sick. You have done nothing wrong as far as i can see and i hope you don't make yourself too ill worrying. A decent Rep should be putting your mind at rest not making you feel worse.

Good luck.

Iwantcandy Fri 13-Apr-12 20:35:19

Op you can take advice from a lawyer at any stage to either advise you behind the scenes without anyone else knowing or act for you openly so that all correspondence goes through them.

I have not read all of your posts but haven't seen anything to indicate you should be entitled to be accompanied to any investigation or disciplinary meetings by a lawyer. You are entitled to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union rep.

I know things are still at the investigatory stage but you may wish to have a lawyer on side if it becomes a disciplinary matter and you should take steps now to ensure that you will be able to get that advice quickly if you need it. I know from experience that insurers can take several days to confirm whether or not you would be covered, at what stage cover will start from and then several more days for a lawyer to be instructed. The lawyer may then not be able to see you straight away and you can lose precious tine later. As I said before your union may also be able to arrange for you to speak to a lawyer.

If I were you I would stick to mumsnet for emotional support and seek professional advice in your position (from an experienced lawyer or competent union rep) and stick to advice from one person. I would give an analogy of seeking medical advice for your child - you could perhaps see 5 different paediatricians and they might have 5 different approaches for the best way to treat your child. 4 of these approaches might cure your child but if you take a bit of dr a's advice, a bit of dr b's advice, worry about what dr c told you then try a bit of dr d's treatment, none if the treatments will work. In my opinion you need comprehensive, coherent advice from one experienced person. Sorry if that comes across as bossy, but I am concerned about you getting advice in drubs and drabs. Good luck and keep us posted x

RandomMess Fri 13-Apr-12 20:36:59

I just want to add my support as they have treated you appallingly and the evidence is just shockingly lacking angry

mum47 Fri 13-Apr-12 20:40:32

I have followed bits of your thread but not all above, so apologies if going over old ground. Do phone a lawyer if you haven't already. Get a free consultation, give a resume of the problem and get some advice. Warning though legal fees can be very high in employment issues and Tribunals cannot award expenses. Have you phoned ACAS. If not, definitely speak to them, they can be very helpful. Also some CABs have really good volunteers who have employment law training and appear at Tribunals with employees. Speak to all of these options if you can - knowledge is power. Definitely try to get another Union Rep.

ovaltine Fri 13-Apr-12 21:13:52

just offering some more support x

Bearcat Fri 13-Apr-12 21:19:34

Don't forget there is fantastic professional advice on the Internet from independent HR Advisors!

empirestateofmind Sat 14-Apr-12 07:54:12

Just checking in again to offer more support. You have been treated so terribly, I can't believe it. Good luck with the next few days.

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Sat 14-Apr-12 08:06:55

Being off sick in its self doesn't prevent you from attending unless of course the reason for the sick note does ie physically unable to attend. In a situation like yours having a resolution may be a benefit. They should work with you to give a date you can attend if you have a sick note.

* not qualified in hr but have undertaken most aspects.

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Sat 14-Apr-12 08:15:35

Re the union rep advising he thinks it will go to disp. I know how hard that is too hear however better to be prepared. The other advice you have receive re the grievence procedure is true, you do need to raise one before leaving, but remember this can be done whilst off sick. Even if they say you can come back to work you can still be signed off sick and follow the process.

Keep a record of everything especially things like tge timescale you were given and why ie do he can go on holiday!

One of tge main reasons that companies lose at ETs is because they do not follow their own procedures so make sure you have a copy of all tge policies and keep note where they have deviated.

MoreBeta Sat 14-Apr-12 08:27:06

An employment lawyer wil be very expensive and cost you more than any compensation you will get. Dont go that route.

At this stage all you need is make a short factual written response pointing out:

1. They gave you 11 pages of data and only one day to respond after they suspended you for 3 weeks and that is unfair.

2. The data contains obvious errors and is so deeply flawed as to be unreliable (eg a computer you dont log onto, you dont work on Tuesday, your computer may not be on but does not mean you are notin the building, days when you were on holiday).

3. This has caused you so much stress you have sought medical treatment.

4. You will respond in detail to the allegation over a reasonable timescale.

I personally prefer to send this kind of thing by email rather than letter as you get a receipt and time stamp automatically once it is sent.

Memoo Sat 14-Apr-12 08:27:35

Just wanted to let you know that people do beat bosses like this. A few years ago at my place of work our boss tried to screw over one of my colleagues as she had done to other employees before hand. My colleague fought her and the rest of the management and although it took about 6 months she won in the end. Boss had to back down and my colleague was told she could return to work (although she didn't and ended up finding a better job smile )

I know your going through hell and feeling crap but you can beat this and you have the whe of MN behind you x

WorriedBetty Sat 14-Apr-12 14:43:47

Re toothbrush thief - legally they have not complied with anything - if consequences are dismissal their investigation has to be more rigourous. At the moment they have little more than rough evidence backing up a 'gossip' style accusation. Their duty is to show that their investigation was reasonable given the resources available to the employer. This they categorically have not done.

I appreciate that your view is the 'employer lite' version of compliance - this is not the same as their legal obligations with reference to case law. That said I hope that in this case Apple's employers continue to operate as you suggest. That will make things a whole lot easier for her.

WorriedBetty Sat 14-Apr-12 14:48:51

RE 'conciliatory approach' I agree this is best - but not at this stage. Be clear - this is now adversarial and apple needs to behave in this way - being concilliatory will mean apple conceding points and employer racking them up believe me I've just spent two years in that position.

Softlysoftly Sat 14-Apr-12 20:17:48

morebeta if that were true employment lawyers for the complainant wouldn't exist and employees would always get shafted what a ridiculous statement. I won £30k plus, the few letters and negotiation my solicitor did cost me £1.5k, pretty fair deal I'd say!

I agree with pp apple take moral support from here but guidance from acas, a solicitor and unison.

mamasin Mon 16-Apr-12 20:14:22

hope you are doing ok op?

kneesofnorks Mon 16-Apr-12 20:39:23

lurker here, hoping you're ok op?

fedupworking Mon 16-Apr-12 21:06:32

Been in this situation twice (NHS Worker with unison union) both complaints made against me were found not guilty, after being out of work for five months on each allegation.
As far as I can say Unison were off no use to me whats so ever, anything I had to do I did myself (really don't know why I pay union fee's anymore) I also am under the threat of closure.
I think we are all in very vulnerable situations now working for the public sector and all I can say is good luck as I understand how you feel .

DreamingofSummer Tue 17-Apr-12 09:36:14

Hi Apple

How's it going. Thinking of you and sending cyber support

PullUpAPew Tue 17-Apr-12 13:11:35

So sorry you're feeling bad Apple, I think it is understandable you feel worse now the meeting has happened, as I imagine you'd been waiting and now the waiting is over.

Lots of people to help you on here.

I would advise getting signed off if the doc thinks it best, it is important to put your health ahead of this process.

Take care and thinking of you x

cfc Tue 17-Apr-12 14:52:55

More beta, you are wrong.

Apple - from the off I believed an employment solicitor would have been useful for you. For your own health, take your father's offer and engage a solicitor you've heard good things about. What area are you in?

I am a wills and trusts solicitor, but have trained with an employment solicitor whilst on my training contract and she would have given these useless fecks short shrift from the off.

I am very sorry for you.

Re "what area are you in?", I don't think OP should indicate which LA it is.

cfc Tue 17-Apr-12 15:40:36

Perhaps in a pm, not on the boards.

maples Tue 17-Apr-12 22:42:26

Are you ok apple? Have been thinking of you.

WorriedBetty Wed 18-Apr-12 13:50:34

just as a comment I found solicitors to be relatively unhelpful. I would wholeheartedly recommend a direct access barrister if you need one for tribunal. I hope it will get kicked out before then. Hope all is well with you OP.

Iwantcandy Wed 18-Apr-12 13:59:41

I agree if it gets to that stage a barrister would be best but think that op needs advice from a good tactician to seek to achieve whatever outcome she is looking for

ilovesprouts Wed 18-Apr-12 17:45:13


It's way too early to go down the legal route if it's still in the investigation stage as nothing technically has happened other than you are being investigated and on full pay. It's an internal issue at the moment, and several stages to go (disciplinary and appeal) if it even gets that far.

I actually agree with the union rep in not doing the employer's job for them. Answer their questions, but you don't have to figure out what happened.

Most unions use Thompson's solicitors, and am sure you would get free legal advice if needed. The usual procedure is for the full time union rep to refer the matter, but would probably only happen if you were sacked, maybe demoted.

zebrafinch Wed 18-Apr-12 18:08:22

Hope you are OK apple. You will get through this. Hope you are getting support in RL.

applecrumbleandcream Wed 18-Apr-12 19:47:45

Hi everyone, sorry not been posting as not much more to report really. I have completed the document requested as best as I can and emailed to investigator today and now just have to wait again...

Yes the unions solicitors is Thompson's and I have heard they are good. Feeling a bit more positive. Heard some news that I cannot mention here and it has put me in a better state of mind.

Thanks again.

Can anyone tell me what . means from one of the posters above? Not getting it.

MrsSnaplegs Wed 18-Apr-12 19:50:50

Apple I think it's a simple way to bump a thread to keep it active

mamasin Wed 18-Apr-12 19:51:17

Oh glad you have some news that helps. Thanks for update. don't know what . means !

trixymalixy Wed 18-Apr-12 20:00:55

Yes, . Is just a way of bumping the thread.

Keeping my fingers crossed for you apple!!

applecrumbleandcream Wed 18-Apr-12 20:08:33

Thanks for explaining that, seen it before and wondered.

Had some absolutely beautiful flowers delivered today from the team so has cheered me up plus a little bit of retail therapy, top for me and outfit for dd, and lovely lunch as treat from sis.

Thanks all for wondering how I am. Will report here any news when I get it. Fingers crossed for a good outcome!!!

Eggrules Wed 18-Apr-12 20:13:28

I am glad your team have sent flowers.

Hi Apple,

I've lurked on this thread and your previous one and just wanted to say how badly I think you have been treated, I hope you get the positive outcome that you deserve.

It's great that you are feeling more positive, keep looking after yourself and believing in yourself, remember you are not in the wrong.

permaquandry Wed 18-Apr-12 20:26:13

Hi apple have been lurking on this thread since your very 1st post. You come across as a genuinely lovely person, who is being treated very unfairly.

It's not surprising you have so many supporters on here. I really hope that this all works out for you. I firmly believe that the truth always comes out, however long it takes.

I'm glad a bit of retail therapy has helped and I think you totally deserved the flowers (another act that proves that you are very well thought of). Virtual hugs and very best wishes to you.

Bearcat Wed 18-Apr-12 20:27:33

Glad you may have had some positive news Apple
Remember, you are not alone!!!!
I had flowers too from my lovely colleagues.

applecrumbleandcream Wed 18-Apr-12 20:49:28

Awwwww thanks thats lovely of you everyone.... you have been wonderful on here.

Haberdashery Wed 18-Apr-12 21:11:32

Great to hear from you, apple. I'm delighted to hear that your team sent flowers - it must help a lot to have such a friendly gesture from the people who really know what you're like at work. I have thought of you quite a lot so it's lovely to have an update.

QOD Wed 18-Apr-12 21:37:39

Jeez Louise sad

pointythings Wed 18-Apr-12 21:39:08

I'm de-lurking here - I too think you have been treated appallingly, and I hope you get the outcome you deserve and that whoever started this will be a permanent seagull magnet forever after.

And their car, too

applecrumbleandcream Wed 18-Apr-12 21:44:24

lol pointy, so do I. Of the kind that you can't get off!!!

CointreauVersial Wed 18-Apr-12 23:56:14

Awww, how nice that your team are thinking of you. You probably have more support than you realise. Fingers crossed for good news soon.

Chelvis Thu 19-Apr-12 12:55:50

Just delurking to join in the support. I can't believe how awful they have been to you, but the flowers from your team is lovely - I feel sorry for them too, they must be worried about their own positions having seen what you're going through. I hope you're vindicated soon.

2ombie5layer Thu 19-Apr-12 13:12:06

Good to hear that things appear to be improving. Hope all goes well.

I thought the . was more to see where they are reading from so they dont have to trawl through the whole thread to see where they got to. They can just look for their post quickly and read from there.

TheDowager Thu 19-Apr-12 13:34:38

<<rubs hands>> Sounds as if something is coming to a head*, and in your favour

(* sorry - am on pus-porn threads mostly)

clam Thu 19-Apr-12 20:10:13

2ombieslayer you do know that you can colourcode your own posts so that you can scroll through and see them easily? Go to "customise."

sparkleflower Fri 20-Apr-12 09:56:45

Hello, just wanted to add some support for you as this has happened to me this week & i have just no idea how im going to cope! I know exactly what your're going through the hurt, embarrasment uncertainty and just total utter devastation suspension & the not knowing the outcome causes - its a horrendous thing to happen - sending you lots of love from one totally devasted mum to another.

treadwarily Fri 20-Apr-12 11:03:48

Apple - Thompsons represented me and they were great, v good result smile

sparkle - sorry to hear this has happened to you, too. Awful for you both, do keep us informed, what happened at your work?

applecrumbleandcream Fri 20-Apr-12 11:31:53

Thanks for all the kind messages of support.

Sparkle, very sorry to hear you are going through similar, the whole process just destroys your self confidence and self esteem. Do you work for a local authority? Are you in a union?

Hope you hear some thing soon.

ThePathanKhansWitch Fri 20-Apr-12 11:36:27

Apples you sound so much better in yourself! Thankgoodness, and things look like like they are on an upward trend. So glad to hear you've been having having little treats, and flowers! How lovely. smile

2ombie5layer Fri 20-Apr-12 12:39:11

clam yes my posts have been coloured for ages.

2ombie5layer Fri 20-Apr-12 12:40:09

My posts are a lilac, the OP's posts are green and MNHQ are blue to me so I did know hmm

2ombie5layer Fri 20-Apr-12 12:41:07

I just think by putting a . means that they can see easily where they last were by seeing their last colour. Thats what I thought they were doing, sorry to get it wrong clam

sparkleflower Fri 20-Apr-12 13:20:29

Il pop a thingy on so im not taking up apples thread - i need u guys! sad sad sad

LetsKateWin Sat 21-Apr-12 08:55:35

Hi Apple

I don't have any advice, but just checking in to give some support. This is a complete mess and I hope you get to the bottom of this and get the outcome you deserve. This is no way to be treated after all your years of service.

msrisotto Sat 21-Apr-12 10:49:55


msrisotto Sat 21-Apr-12 10:50:45

grin I have no idea why I did that. grin

Blueskyclouds Sat 21-Apr-12 12:57:26

You just had an unexpected period msrisoto grin

msrisotto Sat 21-Apr-12 21:28:00

Oh I hate it when that happens grin

2ombie5layer Sat 21-Apr-12 22:32:45

It was cos you wanted to see where you read to so you could quickly skim the thread looking for your colour which is what I meant originally grin

Anyway back to the proper meaning of the thread, sorry to hijack Apple

Calamityboo Sun 22-Apr-12 15:04:16

Hi Apple, I am so glad to hear that you are feeling so much better, whatever the news was pm pm pm pm pm pleeeeeeeese, so nosey it sounds good for you! This will soon be over I think, and how lovely for your team to send you the flowers.

Bumpity bump, any updates OP?

applecrumbleandcream Mon 23-Apr-12 23:58:02

No not heard anything and my optimism has all but gone. Full of a cold and not feeling at all well. The stress of this seems to be taking a toll on my health. Sorry for feeling sorry for myself. Life is shit atm!!!

CointreauVersial Tue 24-Apr-12 00:09:29

No news is good news, perhaps??!

Look after yourself - go to bed with a hot toddy, have a long lie-in, and hope you'll feel better in the morning.

HavePatience Tue 24-Apr-12 06:41:17

Oh apple sad. I really hope they come back to you with some better news soon. I can't believe they are allowed to treat innocent people like this.
Are you still seeing the work counsellor? thinking of you x

Calamityboo Tue 24-Apr-12 07:17:55

Hi apple, it is awful when you feel poorly as well. I know you mentioned in the other thread that there was more than just this happening or you right now, I really hope that everything settles for you soon. Keep posting, I think under the circumstances you are doing amazingly well!

OddBoots Tue 24-Apr-12 07:27:09

I'm sure they would have come back to you quickly if they had anything bad to say, keep positive.

Byeckerslike Tue 24-Apr-12 07:30:58

Hi apple, just caught up on this new thread. So sorry this is happening to you.
I hope it gets resolved quickly, it seems their argument is so thin, and like you said before it must be costing them a fortune to go through this process, its all so odd, and hideously upsetting for you.

Take care, thinking of you smile

silkpursesowsear Tue 24-Apr-12 08:10:29

My mum use to tell me that when your back is against the wall, do the things that you can within your power so when you see a door open, you can move quickly. In your case, that means looking after yourself, keeping busy, some ME time. Keep popping into this board, we are all behind you.

You have done nothing wrong, keep telling yourself this and make sure you are keeping all the documentation and doing what has been suggested above.

This too will pass.

DogEared Tue 24-Apr-12 09:41:28

Oh apple sorry to hear you're feeling down. It's completely understandable, of course.

redexpat Tue 24-Apr-12 13:51:00

Are you able to tell us what the good news was yet apple? I really hope things go your way.

tinkcantwaittomove Wed 25-Apr-12 10:08:35

Thinking of u xx

Adversecamber Wed 25-Apr-12 10:15:34

I am sorry I haven't read all the thread so hope I'm not repeating. I was a UNISON rep for years and if a case was ever getting close to someone being dismissed a full time officer was bought in to represent a member. I can honestly say I always did my best when it came to helping people but all of the reps are volunteers who also have a regular day job. The regional officers earn a good wage and have extensive experience. Tell your rep you want a full timer.

LittleMissMcFartyPants Wed 25-Apr-12 10:34:23

Thinking of you apple hope you get some good news soon.

Take care of yourself thanks

x2boys Wed 25-Apr-12 11:00:10

i,m sorry you are going through all this crap i have also had a lot of rubbish going on at work [ nhs] fortunatley my unison reps have been great and very helpful and supportive however can i jut remind you that unison have their own solicitors if you need them use them thats why we pay unison fees every month also demand another unison rep if yoursis unhelpful.

Hope you hear good news soon!

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 25-Apr-12 19:01:59

Lurking for news. When is the investigating officer back from his holidays?

Calamityboo Wed 25-Apr-12 19:16:35

Hi Apple, just sending {hugs} your way. Hope you are ok. thanks

applecrumbleandcream Wed 25-Apr-12 20:10:01

Hi everyone, thanks for sticking with me and all your kind messages!!!

Still had no news and it is awful, I really don't know how they can treat anyone like this. How people could be left in this situation for months is shocking. Investigator was back last week so thought might have heard something this week, although if they have read my response that will probably need investigating!! You never know they might have another Investigation Meeting and we could be going round in circles for months on end!! Sorry, feeling that as it's dragging on it's not going to be good news. Had a card from someone from work which was very thoughtful saying 'don't worry, I'm sure you'll be back soon', but I've got no trust in anyone now, I'm not sure I want to go back now anyway. Back to the GP next Thursday for more tablets, didn't want to but if it drags on will have to talk to him about being signed off. This terrible situation is affecting every part of my life, feeling so low. No jobs worth feeling like this sad

Calamityboo Wed 25-Apr-12 20:13:08

So pleased to hear from you apple. I am so sorry that this is still dragging on for you, I know how low it is making you feel, just remember you have a whole team of MNrs right behind you!

RandomMess Wed 25-Apr-12 20:18:33

It's so awful, so unnecessary and so totally mishandled sad

Bearcat Wed 25-Apr-12 20:36:57

Hi Apple
Been in your position for 7 months now.
You are not alone.
Use your friends and family for support which I have done.
I have my ups and downs, but my down has never been as low as the day I was suspended. After that I had to get stronger to support my case using very clever DH, union and other professional services for which I have paid for to support my case.
I am now waiting------and waiting.
Walk a friends dog every day Monday to Friday which has kept me sane and meeting other people and gets me out. He (the dog) as well as another dog owning friend have been my saviours in this situation that I could never have imagined myself in, in my worst nightmare.
Stay Strong!

omydarlin Wed 25-Apr-12 21:36:42

Yes Apple please stay strong - stay strong for your Mnet Apple supporters - and you Bearcat. You will both come out of this stronger.

But if you need us just rant!

applecrumbleandcream Wed 25-Apr-12 22:13:36

Bearcat sad waiting for 7 months!! That is truly terrible and heartbreaking.
What outcome do you want after all that time? Have you ever thought about being signed off sick by your GP? You sound as though you have made a positive structure to your day.

I've not heard anything from Unison rep, and he has never asked for my phone number or mobile number, he only knows my email address and it has all been on me to keep contacting him. It's as though I don't exist. No calls to say 'look, we're going to do this, this and this', this is the plan' etc etc. It's not on really. Part of me thinks would he be treating a middle aged man who works in planning or something like this?? I don't know, perhaps I'm over thinking things!!

ajandjjmum Wed 25-Apr-12 22:35:30

I'm a lurker - watching the thread and wishing you well. Just feeling for you and how despondent you must feel. But don't let the buggers get you down! They're the ones with the explaining to do. You have done nothing wrong. Hold your head high and take the time to do stuff you don't normally get chance to do.
Hope this gets resolved really soon for you.

applecrumbleandcream Wed 25-Apr-12 22:41:53

Thanks aj and everyone, it's great to know there is support for me, Bearcat and everyone else in a similar situation. I've not really done much this week, been full of a cold so just been stuck in the house. DH been taking dd to school and dad been picking her up, but tomorrow I am determined to get out for some fresh air and buck myself up!!! I must take a leaf out of Bearcat's book and do something!!!

Bearcat Wed 25-Apr-12 22:53:03

Apple have posted before on your original post.
No, have never been to GP since suspension. Didn't really know what to say. All seemed so embarrassing to start with. Who would have believed it, me, Bearcat, in this situation?
It's bad enough explaining to 3 neighbours what has happened to me, let alone some GP who I probably don't even know from Adam, who can probably only prescribe some sort of drugs, and really I don't need that.
Luckily other neighbours have never asked why I am always around, and now I would just probably mumble something about economic climate.
I am a bit older than you Apple and relatively financially stable, and that is a great comfort to me and gives me strength.
DH in particular is ready, willing, clever and bloody minded enough to take this all the way to tribunal if needs be.
Have been waiting for some communication from work since Mid January. So much for disciplinary manager keeping me informed!!!!!

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Thu 26-Apr-12 07:45:51

Re the union question, probably yes have to say I've never met a union rep I was impressed by.

Keep your spurts up as much as you can.

My friend went through a similar thing, she didn't want to go back just for her name to be cleared. She found a better job and is now much happier.

tinkcantwaittomove Thu 26-Apr-12 11:25:26

Thinking of u can't imagine what u must be going through!!
It must b awful to firstly not know what is going on
To not understand what u r being accused of
Not surprised that u don't want to go back
The whole situation is awful
Thinking of u xxxx

MummyPocPoc Thu 26-Apr-12 18:12:04

Apple - can't believe this is STILL going on - don't your employers have budgets? Don't they have to justify paying people who aren't at work?!?! shock

Have you seen a solicitor / senior union rep / union-funded legal person yet? I think by now it is really overdue. Has your crap rep been in touch with you at all? He sounds shite. Bin the fucker. Now. And have a wine tonight from me smile

Good luck with it all. I check this thread daily to see how you are btw smile

WorriedBetty Thu 26-Apr-12 18:23:09

Hello - note that if they drop investigation remind them that suspension without grounds is a stigma - when they hope you will go away with a flower or something else patronising..

It is a rollercoaster emotionally this stuff - try hard to remember the positive insights more (write them down) and hang on to them during the negative bits - some of the negative bits will be a kind of grief about not having to do anything work-y each day (like retired people get) so don't worry too much about them, but do tell your GP as it is an effect, no matter how normal, of your treatment by employer.

Don't draw conclusions from time - usually it is just uselessness - or lack of respect rather than any indication, instead use the time to think about and rehearse strategy..

Keep on keeping on! smile

smurkle Thu 26-Apr-12 23:46:36

Hi, I'm new here but has been 13 weeks for me. I know exactly how you feel and how hard it is. I think what is hardest is the feeling of loneliness. Doesn't matter how much I do, who I speak too, whom visits they have no idea what this is doing to me, so the over-riding emotion is loneliness. I hope you are coping, that's all you can do is cope x

Calamityboo Fri 27-Apr-12 17:17:11

Hi Apple, any developments? Hope you are managing to relax a bit.

fedupworking Fri 27-Apr-12 17:42:27

I have also been in this situation TWICE within a year (think it could be personnel between manager and myself him not liking me) out of my work for 5 months on each occasion to be found not guilty at the end of both accusations, keep strong as you are Innocent until proven guilty.

mayaswell Fri 27-Apr-12 18:03:52

Oh apple you poor sweetheart, your Dad sounds lovely. Hope you're ok xx

Calamityboo Mon 30-Apr-12 10:10:52

Hi apple, hope this new week brings you news of an end to this terrible situation. How are you doing? Hope you had a good weekend.

mamasin Mon 30-Apr-12 19:46:10

Hoping, like calamityboo, that you had a good weekend, how are you now?

Queenofcake Mon 30-Apr-12 23:51:45

Hi Apple. I have been thinking of you and following this thread. I really hope you have had some news since last time you posted. I am disgusted at how this is being dragged out.

I hope your cold is easing and you able to get out and about a bit more.

applecrumbleandcream Tue 01-May-12 00:30:42

Hi everyone and thanks for thinking about me. Nothing to report I'm afraid. Still in limbo. It will be 6 weeks on wednesday since l was suspended, feels like an eternity and I've aged 10 years in that time. What the hell can they be doing? Feel like going to the local paper and Councillor to tell them this is what they are wasting tax payers money on!!

Hope all those in similar situations hear something soon...

applecrumbleandcream Tue 01-May-12 00:43:18

Smurkle, you are spot on, the loneliness and isolation of coping with the situation is the worst thing about all this. It is like a pain in your chest that doesn't go away, it's there first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Psychologically I am broken, my health is suffering, my relationship with DH is suffering, I'm a nervous wreck!!! Somedays I just feel like getting in my car and just driving far far away and never coming back!!!

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Tue 01-May-12 05:43:02

Apple feeling like tgat is totally normal in these circumstances, all of us would feel tge same. Some peopke may try and tell you to enjoy bring off, being made to not go to work must be a dream, but they don't understand what it really means sad

Unfortunately this shittyness infects your every waking moment, you can't think of anything else, but to work it isn't like tgat, it really is just another task on their to do list.

Try and do something you enjoy everyday, no matter how small. And remember you haven't done anything wrong x

marmiteonmykeyboard Tue 01-May-12 08:22:04

Hi Apple, I posted on Previously's thread a few days ago because she is in that horrendous limbo too. I'm scared of saying to much but I do empathise. It is the remembering in the morning that feels like a punch in the stomach. Try to break the day down into sections and get through each section. It's the sameness of the days I find hard. Keep posting here.This is a wonderful "community". You have so much support. Do something kind for yourself today. A glossy magazine or a bag of chocolate buttons (I am obviously a simple soul!). I will be thinking of you.

marmiteonmykeyboard Tue 01-May-12 08:24:34

And that's a hello chin up message to BearCat too.

ajandjjmum Tue 01-May-12 09:04:23

As you work for a local authority (I think?), maybe it would be worth going to see your local councillor, as they can make things happen - and at the very least might get things moving?

MainlyMaynie Tue 01-May-12 13:29:07

I wouldn't advise talking to your Councillor, but if you do you need to check a few things first. It may be a breach of rules on employee-Councillor relations, so check the guidance. Your authority may have a Councillor committee who act as a final appeal on dismissal, so check they're not on that so you don'r create a conflict of interest.

Have you asked for an Occ Health referral? May be a way to put some pressure on the investigators about the delay.

tinkcantwaittomove Wed 02-May-12 17:32:27

Keep ur head up hope u hear something soon grin

MamaMary Wed 02-May-12 18:21:49

I feel for you apple. Take it one day at a time. You can get through this.

Get some exercise every day.


msrisotto Wed 02-May-12 18:22:49

Eugh I can't believe this is still going on for you apple. Hugs x

TheFarSide Wed 02-May-12 18:24:44

Is your union rep chasing them up? I would have thought he needs to be making the point that the wait is highly distressing for you.

applecrumbleandcream Wed 02-May-12 19:44:26

Not heard a word from the Unison rep, still waiting to hear something from management. Been for a walk today, while the sun is shining.

Thanks everyone for keep checking in.

Calamityboo Wed 02-May-12 21:34:18

thankswine for you apple.

mamasin Thu 03-May-12 17:31:08

sending positive vibes am very angry on your behalf tho'

FriedSprout Thu 03-May-12 17:45:27

Not sure how they can sleep at night.

Am also very angry for you, nothing to add, other than to suggest you take it up with the Union at higher level. If this fails get yourself an employment lawyer.

My friend was having trouble with her boss and the only way things got moving was when she got herself a shit hot employment lawyer. If you are in the Midlands pm me if you want her details. She did not take crap from anyone, just cut through all the bullshit. The company friend worked for ended up paying the lawyer's bill too, so that may be something to ask.

Keep your chin up and try to get this moving again.

Holy shit is this still going on angry. Do you work for l govt or nhs? can i ask that?

I would ring your unison branch - tell them that you are not happy with your rep. The rep has been unsupportive and you need an update asap.

Awful that it is dragging on like this.

Calamityboo Thu 03-May-12 19:32:06

Hi apple, I would agree, get on the phone and see what is happening. I can't believe this is still going on!

Groovee Thu 03-May-12 19:37:20


Bearcat Thu 03-May-12 19:51:36

Hi Apple
Thinking about you.
Had a bit of a down day myself really after feeling OK for a very long time.
You'll know what I mean!
<<Hugs>> and wine to you. Join me in a glass!

treadwarily Fri 04-May-12 07:09:40

Oh Apple, your employers are treating you abysmally. So sorry for what you are going through.

ThePinkPussycat Fri 04-May-12 14:18:36

De-lurking to say I have been through similar with a LA and it wasn't nice. Have nothing to offer except a word of support, and to let you know you are in my thoughts.

DukeHumfrey Sun 06-May-12 08:48:51

I can't believe this is still going on. Poor you!! What evil, evil people you work for.

applecrumbleandcream Sun 06-May-12 11:38:16

Thanks everyone. Well, I've received letter for disciplinary hearing in next couple of weeks. It arrived with a big file of papers, witness statements, wads of papers to do with internet usage!!!, time sheets etc. Feel sick as currently got tonsillitis and can't cope with it all...

Feeling disgusted that one of the women I work with, the bullying one who makes you feel inferior, has been keeping tabs on me, lying about the times, colluding with the manager.

I can't believe it. Don't want to go back there now. Sorry not very well, just wanted to update... Will come back soon when I feel better.

DukeHumfrey Sun 06-May-12 11:42:05

shock - well that should be interesting, given that they seemed to have no evidence at the investigation stage.

Someone's been very busy...

myBOYSareBONKERS Sun 06-May-12 12:04:39

I think I would now consider getting legal representation

NatashaBee Sun 06-May-12 12:13:20

Is the Internet use actually yours, given you mentioned that you use different computers for some tasks?

applecrumbleandcream Sun 06-May-12 12:22:30

No hardly ever use the internet, just occasionally. These internet usages have all different websites I never use or know existed. I would never use facebook either as I know it is frowned upon. Can only think it is the internet usage for all the staff in the building. What has it got to do with me?

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Sun 06-May-12 12:27:45

Apple when you use tgese pcs do you have to sign in with your sign in details and password?

WorriedBetty Sun 06-May-12 12:31:40

Excellent! They have nothing and are trying to get you to admit to something so that they can take action. Or for you the read in their list of bollocks something you did briefly and panic and resign. Screw them for behaving like this. They have royally screwed up.

You might be in for a long fight, but you are on to a winner.

A friend of mine has been through almost exactly this. I will ask him in detail and get insight or even if he would have a look at what you've got for you. He has said very clearly that he wants to use what he has learnt to protect people..

My advice here would be read the evidence and be clear on what it is, but go to the investigation and ask them what they think it all means, nod sagely and don't be drawn into speculation. Ask for an adjournment so you can consider their accusations and ask that the investigation meeting be continued after a few days. Make sure your request (and their refusal) is minuted.

But that's my first reaction.. will wait to hear more .. bastards angry

SerialKipper Sun 06-May-12 12:33:44

Oh how grim to receive all that. If there's someone lying about you it all gets so much worse.

Having helped a friend with similar, I have a few suggestions.

1) Get someone else to read through the documents. It's really, really hard reading lies about oneself, and difficult to forensically pick them apart because the outrage and nausea just take over. A friend/family member will have that little bit more distance and be able to see the holes more clearly.

2) Can you get CCTV of you entering and leaving the building? If you can find a couple of examples which contradict the times Ms Liar is claiming you arrived/left, that's helpful.

3) Get witness statements from multiple other members of staff to state that they too arrive at time X, do other work (egs), then log in. I know you were told not to contact them, but the investigation is now complete - and anyway what have you to lose? Get the friend to do the contacting if you prefer. My friend had accidental contact with colleagues who then proved key witnesses, and the employer couldn't raise a murmur - since obviously a competent investigation would have found those witnesses itself.

(I should add that my friend lost at the Disciplinary Hearing and then won at the Employment Tribunal, which was scathing of the employer. Friend took pay-off instead of reinstatement.)

Hope tonsillitis is soon better - all the more reason to get someone else onto the paperwork and running around collecting evidence if you can.

So sorry you're going through this.

mamij Sun 06-May-12 12:37:38

Sounds terrible. Unison should be able to offer legal advice too. Isn't that what you pay for too? Big hug anyhow.

WorriedBetty Sun 06-May-12 12:42:28

Some more thoughts:
1. Two weeks is not enough for you to understand an interpret highly technical evidence
2. Where is their 'person who can explain in a human readable form' the technical evidence?
3. it is not encumbent on you to prove you didn't use, it is on them to show that you have.
4. Ask for time to appoint an expert to interpret their 'extensive data' Two weeks is NOT ENOUGH (this will increase their salary bill - tough)
5. Witness statements - who are these from, what are they saying? Are they all bollocks?
6. Facebook - is it your page? Were you signed in or someone else? How do they know?
7. Hopefully they will 'change' the accusation from 'fraud' to 'internet use' and back again - indicating a will to move goalposts.
8. Just shows... looks like they are trying 'internet misuse' which they called fraud to increase the stress and push for resignation
9. Similarly 'fraud' is what would be a 'dismissal with severe consequences' By doing this (the stupid feckers) they have increased their duty to make sure their investigation is more thorough and with a higher burden of proof... OOOPs smile
10. Let me know if you want to find someone legal who has defended in a similar-ish case. I can ask my friend who he used.

WorriedBetty Sun 06-May-12 12:50:15

btw their investigation took, what 8 weeks but you have two weeks to respond? not acceptable.

RandomMess Sun 06-May-12 12:51:19

This is just disgraceful angry

It does make me wonder if someone else is up to something and trying to pin it on you!

Hope you recover from tonsilitis quickly and yes fight them as there are clearly massive holes in their allegations and you deserve the pay off.

applecrumbleandcream Sun 06-May-12 12:57:25

I have to log on with my username and password. I have never given these details to anyone.

Thanks everyone. Sorry feeling pretty grim at the moment. Started as a cold now tonsillitis, funny what stress does toPp you. Not eaten since Thursday, can't taste food or fancy anything.

Thanks worried, that would be helpful info if your friend has been through similar.

Serial kipper we don't have cctv to the building. I do have a sister who is very good and will go through all the docs with me. I am just worried about the short timescale. They need any paperwork etc by 10th and it is bank holiday on monday.

I am sure my other colleague would act as a witness that I come in at the times stated and that we work in an air with a bullying undertone, don't know how to word that.

RandomMess Sun 06-May-12 13:05:34

People in your ITU support would be able to gain your login and password...

WorriedBetty Sun 06-May-12 13:11:12

Don't say upfront that you have never given your login and password to anyone - it might feel like a good tactic but they may well use that to pin everything on you. I would say that you have been very careful, but you know IT and managers know usernames and the computers are open and shared so another employee could easily have seen what you typed or quickly used computer when you were logged in whilst your back was turned etc etc.

They are deparate for you to say 'everything under my login was me' so they can then say 'this evidence was under your login, so it was you'. Its more complex than that, and also depends on how your computers are set up, whether the computers are dumb terminals or stand-alone PCs etc etc

Each machine will have a user log, for example, each change on the PC is logged, cache files and automatic activity (tracked adverts, cookies etc) may transfer between users if temp files are used in a particular way etc etc etc...

RandomMess Sun 06-May-12 13:15:36

Also at work we have remote access so someone else (they have to ask your permission - but could do it without) can look at your machine and uses it with your login, usually they are installing stuff and sorting problems but they could easily use the internet on your machine whilst you were aware from the desk and be non the wiser!

LadyClariceCannockMonty Sun 06-May-12 13:31:05

Been lurking for ages, unwilling to add my two-penorth as there's so much going on on this thread, but I wanted to add my support and finally say something. I agree with WorriedBetty that your way forward is to familiarise yourself with all the stuff they've sent you, but go into the hearing with the attitude that they must do all the talking and interpreting of the material. Don't 'give' them anything but just ask what they believe these reams of paper to prove. Note down what they say/accuse you of and request a reasonable amount of time to respond to it all.

I think that even before all this, though, you ought to write to them pointing out the discrepancy in the time they took to investigate and the time they're giving you to do your bit. Try to get longer out of them.

And if you're not completely sick of unions, get yourself a new rep. Don't be shy about telling them exactly how and why the last one was unsatisfactory. You pay your dues; surely the least they could do is to come up with someone half-decent.

Good luck and stay strong! You have been so dignified and professional throughout this thread. I think you're handling it all exceptionally well.

Calamityboo Sun 06-May-12 13:47:50

Hey apple, as usual, I have no useful or practical advice, just sending all my good thoughts your way, and take the excellent advice on here. Clear your name and clear out. Can they transfer you to a different dept after your name is cleared?

Hope the throat feels better soon too. thanks

MainlyMaynie Sun 06-May-12 20:22:22

Do you log out every time you step away from the computer? There is no reason for them to send you internet usage for the whole building, so I would guess that someone has been using the internet under your log-in. If there's stuff like Facebook on it, that might make it possible to prove it was someone else.

When you say you use it occasionally, how often and is it only when you're logged out? I would ask whether your internet is higher than average. Virtually everyone will be using it occasionally for personal stuff and I have known someone successfully use this as an argument in a disciplinary.

cfc Sun 06-May-12 20:39:32

Apple, I strongly advise you to take your dad's money and go see a reccomended employment solicitor. The phrase another poster used above was 'cut through the bull' and she's so right.

If they are as incompetent as they seem, your dad may get his money back.

It's time for this to fucking END. It's affecting your health my love. No job is worth this. No job is worth this.

marmiteonmykeyboard Sun 06-May-12 22:00:01

Apple, I am computer useless so cannot advise but just wanted to say you are in my thoughts.

MamaMary Sun 06-May-12 22:01:47

Apple, this is unbelievable. Don't know what to say - hopefully you will get good legal advice from others and either a better union rep or a lawyer.

I hope you get over your tonsellitis too - you're under so much stress. Look after yourself.


thelittlestkiwi Mon 07-May-12 02:36:23

I think you should get a lawyer too. It might seem a lot of money but it is an investment in you and your future. You are worth it. Don't look back and wonder if you could have done things differently.

It may also be worth asking to see all the records they have with your name on them via the personal data/information act. I can't remember the details but you can request this information which I think would include any emails about you from your manager and might throw up something you could use against them.

emdelafield Mon 07-May-12 10:11:03

Morning Apple . I have been following this thread since the start but haven't posted.

I was hoping that matters would resolve themselves but I now feel that you ought to get specialist legal advice from someone in the field of employment law.

I say this because

Your health is suffering

There seems to be a lot of information / evidence/ allegations for you to process and act upon and I don't think you can manage this alone

Your union advice does not seem to have helped

Your dad has offered to pay

I have personal experience of getting specialist advice when I was in dispute with a large local authority employer. It made all the difference to the outcome for me but more importantly it gave me reassurance and support thoughout the lengthy process. It was expensive but well worth it.

If you want to PM me I can tell you more.

The very best of luck.

emdelafield Mon 07-May-12 10:12:48

Me again-meant to say my lawyer advised me to do a Freedom of Information Request to access emails/correspondence and minutes of meetings about my case.

Not sure whether this would apply in your situation but you could ask.

redexpat Mon 07-May-12 10:30:24

No advice but moral support. Come on Apple. Let's beat the bastards.

applecrumbleandcream Mon 07-May-12 10:33:01

Hi thanks everybody. I agree about the employment lawyer, however, the letter for me to attend the hearing says I am not entitled to legal representation and only either a union rep or colleague can attend. If I have any papers to present in the meeting, they need copies by this Thursday!!!

This doesn't give me much time to get in contact with union tomorrow, prepare something and post to them. It's all so unfair..

emdelafield Mon 07-May-12 10:40:35

Me again

I am not suggesting lawyer accompanies you to meeting but advises you prior to the meeting.

That is what happened in my case. I met the lawyer three times in total and he advised me what to say and what to do.

He wrote one letter on my behalf and then advised me on a financial settlement.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 07-May-12 10:49:40

Again, I'd say write to them pointing out how long they've had as opposed to how long they're giving you. Tell them that you need to talk to your union etc. The timeframe is completely unrealistic.

edam Mon 07-May-12 10:57:14

appple, have you called ACAS? There are legal requirements about disciplinary procedures and I suspect the deadlines your employer is demanding of you are unreasonable. Please call ACAS and check. If they agree, you can respond saying 'ACAS have advised me.... <whatever ACAS say> further as you are aware I am signed off sick and <get ACAS to spell out the right phrase for 'bog off I am off sick you can't demand I do X Y or Z'.

Newtothisstuff Mon 07-May-12 11:14:19

This is exactly what happened to me Apple (think I've mentioned it before) I got accused and suspended for one thing, sent evidence back proving my innocence then they came back with something completely different, they had definitely done their homework and like you had witness statements
I asked my boss over an over if I was being forced to quit as I'd rather do that than be sacked an he said its just procedure. I fought it and fought it and ended up being sacked for gross misconduct. I really struggled to get another job for a whole with that on my record and only a few years down the line and not disclosing it am I finally settled
If you can afford to fight it then go for it, my advice would be if they have taken it this far they are trying to get you out, I'd bow out with a reference and your was held high rather than being sacked !! (I know noone will agree I'm just speaking from personal experience)

TheFarSide Mon 07-May-12 11:50:22

Apple have you actually had any contact with your Unison rep since you got the letter? What is he saying?

I am appalled at the apparent lack of information and support coming from Unison. They get plenty of our money in membership fees.

Xales Mon 07-May-12 12:25:58

Wow Apple my sympathies [sad} you must be feeling like you have been kicked by a mule.

To give you what amounts to 2 days by the time you take out the weekend & bank holiday to look through all that, talk to a union rep etc is unreasonable. What are they saying they are actually investigating you for? Or have they just said we are having a hearing and here is the backing paperwork?

What about the witness does she always start before you and leave after you? If not can you ask for copies of her times sheets so that you can cross check that she was there to witness you coming in late/leaving early and fraudulently recording it?

Are they saying that you were the person on the internet for all these reams of internet sites? What information does the data contain? Do it has a time/date, pc logged onto, your log in ID plus the full internet link?

If any of it is for the day of the week you don't work, how are they saying that was you accessing the internet?

If any of this is where they had you down as logged into 2 PCs at once, how can you have been browsing the internet on 2 PCs at the same time?

If you never went near PC 3 which they had you logged in on, how can you have been browsing on a PC you have never been on?

To be honest I don't really know how this work however if you look at someone on facebook doesn't it come up with a /some sort of profile ID on the end of the link. Can you have a look at these from your facebook and see who they relate to? Check out who they belong to, also if there are any updates in work time as you would not have been updating other people's profiles...

I think they are up shit creek with this 'evidence' as it soon falls apart with your working week and their logging authentication errors.

I do think that a trip to a lawyer would be useful now.

Stay strong and feel better soon.

applecrumbleandcream Mon 07-May-12 12:27:32

No not had the chance to ring. Only got the letter on Friday and with having tonsillitis I was too ill to do anything. Still not well now. Will ring him tomorrow but not feeling well enough for all this atm if I'm honest.

emdelafield Mon 07-May-12 12:33:52

Please contact a lawyer. He/she will be able to advise you properly and take some of the pressure off you.
You should be able to see someone on Wednesday at the very latest.

applecrumbleandcream Mon 07-May-12 12:35:40

Thanks Xales, will look into all you have said. The problem is feel so ill, the most I can do is drag myself out of bed in the morning. Family been away so not seen them, dh been taking dd to gparents to help me get some rest. Hopefully tomorrow will feel bit better. I'm that sick of it all now it's taken over my life, the worry and pain it's causing.

MamaMary Mon 07-May-12 12:44:28

Agree with the others, everything you have said points to the fact that you need proper legal advice. Please get a lawyer - for your own sake.

myBOYSareBONKERS Mon 07-May-12 16:16:41

Hello - have been following this thread but I am really confused. What are they actually accusing you of doing? I cant seem to figure that out!

nkf Mon 07-May-12 16:25:14

Poor poor you. I hope it gets resolved and you get better.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 07-May-12 17:02:57

myBOYS, I think that's part of the issue! They seem to be throwing piles of papers and 'records' at the OP but not really stating clearly and simply what it is she's supposed to have done wrong.

WorriedBetty Mon 07-May-12 18:46:13

Done some research for you. suggestions....(fire this to your Union Rep first as you will need to keep him onside - and help with point 2..tell him that you are serious and angry - he needs to be able to tell them that)

1.. Ask your organisation how the data was obtained, the forensic safeguards they used and the qualifications of the people involved. (probably they have done nothing in the way they should have nor will they have the right quals).

2. Write to them, tell them you are unwell currently, and that you cannot defend yourself adequately without expert advice. You need 'time to evaluate your options'. (which you do - they will probably bully eg 'we wil have the hearing without you' get your union guy to do the 'she is serious, you can't go ahead without her defence, we will view bullying over this very serious as a union etc etc) (in your back pocket BTW is the fact that if they have NOT done this stage in a forensically secure manner the fake 'criminal' accusation of fraud will have been completely undermined (and the CPS hate that!) ... I don't think for a minute they really think fraud has taken place - otherwise where are the police??! - they are saying it to frighten you. You should stright-faced suggest that you ARE being accused of criminal activity and that that is why you are taking it so seriously). I am certain UNISON wil be able to get you an 8 week delay, or longer easily.

3.. Sign-off with 'I have been accused of fraud, a dismissal for which would have extremely damaging consequences for my career and health. I understand dismissal has been indicated as the sanction that will be applied should the investigation conclude that fraud has taken place. I am also concerned that if I am not allowed to defend myself appropriately that this will expose the organisation to legal action. I suggest that we postpone the hearing, to allow for me to obtain expert advice and guidance'..

4.. Suggest (provisionally of course) a date circa end of July,to allow you to obtain the correct advice.

[If you call an expert IT company they will tell you that there must be a properly conducted forensic analysis of the computer(s) involved -(I am assuming your organisation is reasonably big/has enough to pay). This would cost about £2K (but don't tell them - or worry about the cost- you may not have to pay.. ) They will also tell you that once engaged, it will take around 6 weeks to do the full analysis once access to the computer(s) is granted and they have attended.]

If the long time scares you, believe me it will scare them more - its salary cost and they lose the element of surprise and fear a little. It will also shake out some of their strategy - if they are just blustering to weaken your case for promotion or to prompt a resignation, when they start to see dollars racking up just to get to disciplinary, they may call off the accusation - it does happen. If they do, then I would (but you may not) then say that you don't want it to be called off, its very serious and you want to know why serious mistakes were made and use this to negotiate.. ).

Anyway being serious will either get them to drop, or negotiate, or harden. If they do any of these you are winning.

Sorry this is so nasty, but you really have to be defensive as much as possible until you get CERTAIN (ie written) signals that they have stopped being aggressive... for real..

Queenofcake Mon 07-May-12 21:14:14

Am absolutely no expert in this area but have followed this awful situation you are going through Apple from the start.

IMO I think that it was a very deliberate intention to deliver this latest wad of papers on you at the start of a bank holiday weekend. They can say on paper we gave Apple X days to respond but in reality how many of those days are working days??

They are being total bastards. I think I would be looking at doing 2 things tomorrow.

1. establish your right to delay this further until you have had time to digest and investigate the wad of papers they have sent you (and you feel fit to do so). Thankfully you have been under the Dr already, so producing Drs not/other evidence if you choose to go down the sick route (as opposed to just give me a fair amount of time) wont be a problem.

2) Make contact with an employement lawyer and establush your rights and get some good advice on how to move forward/fight this.

I am fuming on your behalf - they sound total shits. I am confused as to what exactly they are accusing you of. They seem to have changed the original accusations - Can they do that?? Why did they not produce this evidence in the last meeting?? All seems vert underhand imo.

As for the 2 faced bitch who has got herself involved in all this - I hope for her sake she was not one of your colleagues who recently got intouch with best wishes etc. Arrrggghhh! I am so so angry for you.

Sending you some hugs and pma. Hope you feel better soon.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 07-May-12 21:36:07

i just lost my was long and it vanished when i hit a bloody key i shouldnt....

but in short i was saying that i think the best possible outcome for you now would be to get a shit hot employment lawyer and get the best financial settlement you can before telling them to shove their job up their arse....

their case is flawed but i think they have an agenda and have had from the off - they dont give a monkeys about the facts - they want you out.

i would now concentrate of ringing them dry financially. In reality, how could you see yourself going back to work there after this?

im so sorry and this sounds so undeserved. hang the fuckers out to dry. get angry. get to a lawyer. This long drawn out limbo is having an impact on your health - i think you should take some control back.

fluffiphlox Tue 08-May-12 12:32:13

I've followed this off and on and I don't think I've posted before. I'm not sure what you're specifically accused of (are you?) or of the rights and wrongs of their/your case because I don't know you, your job or your organisation.
The procedure, as reported, however, seems dire. If my job was at threat (and would you really want to go back after all this performance?) I know I would get myself the best employment lawyer I could afford. if they haven't followed procedure then regardless of the merits of their case they are on very shaky ground. I wouldn't mess around with this union rep who seems to be a useless jelly. Get yourself a brief (as they say!).

WorriedBetty Tue 08-May-12 12:52:47

Be cautious though about focusing solely on procedure - also focus on things like unfairness, premeditation, deliberate stigmatisation, find out about any restructure/cost-cutting/redundancy plans (another advantage of extending the timeline - I have been close to a case where at the time of redundancy 'nothing was happening' as regards restructure.. but a year later at ET the restructure had gone through and surprise .. all the people accused of gross misconduct were those in roles that had been made redundant!

StillSquiffy Tue 08-May-12 13:51:22

I advise on HR policies, Employment issues, disciplinaries and grievances. I make money as a consultant advising on this stuff. I am not a lawyer but am pretty comfortable handling this area.

I CANNOT ADVISE YOU STRONGLY ENOUGH that you need a good lawyer at this point in time, for a number or reasons:-

1) You are not strong enough to handle it by yourself (not many people are, it's not a fault, its just the way it is)
2) At the very best, this is being handled badly, at the worst there is an agenda here. The company needs to be put on the defensive, and you alone cannot do that.
3) You need someone with a vested interest on your side. ACAS/union rep etc cannot provide this.
4) They would not have gone to the point of witness statements if they did not intend to pursue this to a conclusive outcome. Either they are sure of your guilt or determined to push this through for another reason.
5) Having a colleague make statements against you adds weight to their case and you need to counter this
6) We do not have enough detail here in your posts to support you and advise you appropriately.
7) If, as appears to be the case, there are serious flaws in their evidence, a lawyer will use that information to close the whole investigation down completely. Simply pointing out these flaws to them by yourself will allow them to remove the flaws and thereby potentially strengthen their case against you.
8) All time delays will count against you both in terms of the outcome here, and in terms of your health.

If you are near London then David Green at Charles Russell and Paul Daniels at Russell Jones & Walker are partners I have personally found to be very competent (though I didn't warm to either of them). Bindmans I have also found to be very good though I don't know the current partner in charge there. If you are outside of London then pls tell us where you are and we can make a recommendation. This needs a specialist Employment Lawyer with teeth, not a nice generalist lawyer. A 'big' name will also put the heebiejeebies up them. The fact they won't let a lawyer join the next meeting is neither here nor there - it is their advice that matters, and the letters they send.

WorriedBetty Tue 08-May-12 17:21:43

If you want my friend to have a look for you and/or to tell you any legal advice he used, PM me.

WorriedBetty Tue 08-May-12 17:43:27

by the way, if any other public sector employers/managers are reading this - this is NOT the way to save money or make changes, or even discipline people who HAVE done something.

1. It costs money. It does not save money.
2. It can put people on the dole - that costs the country money.
3. It makes people unproductive -that costs the country money
4. Badly managed dismissals/disciplinary/redundancy causes fear and discontent and erodes trust, confidence and productivity - that costs the country money.
5. Anything that costs the country money reduces your money, which reduces your out put which costs the country money.
6. Which means that by wasting money and effort on your crap political games, you are not doing what we need public sector staff to do.
7. If you behave like this, you are making legal action more likely - legal action, court time, legal aid administration and clerical fees.. cost the country money.
8. As does administration of the dole, housing benefit etc.. which you are reliying on to pick up the pieces.. and that costs the country money.
9. It also means that bad managers keep their jobs because they have gotten rid of the staff that may threaten them. Paying salaries to bad managers is a waste of public money and costs the country money.
10. In the end, we all pay the price of bad, unscrupulous and incompetent managers and workplace bullies in the public sector.

Well done OP for not letting this happen. We are with you.

MainlyMaynie Tue 08-May-12 18:02:01

WorriedBetty, I can assure you that everywhere I've worked it would be unheard of to use disciplinaries to replace redundancy. As many places still have a final appeal to Councillors, Id say its actually less likely than in the private sector. We're not all so dim that we need telling that bad management costs money.

Queenofcake Tue 08-May-12 20:23:06

Excellent post StillSquiffy

Apple - Hope you are feeling a bit better today. We are all still behind you. xx

WipsGlitter Tue 08-May-12 22:17:20

I just want to occur re getting legal advice. I had an employment issue and eventually saw a lawyer. It was good because she wasn't personally involved so was more objective with her advice, dp and my family were indignant on my behalf. She helped me with letters (used legal language so my employer knew I was also getting legal advice etc). I did end up leaving but she helped me hold my nerve and negotiate a substantially improved financial package.

Good luck.

WorriedBetty Tue 08-May-12 22:49:32

MainlyMaine - great! No worries then! Unfortunately I have a) seen this quite a lot, especially with redundancies in ones and twos b) read plenty of case law where this has happened (and lets not forget case law is the small tip of the iceberg as most sensible employers settle before a case is completed), and c) when I followed along with a friend to ET, the ENTIRE CLAIMANT'S WAITING ROOM was cases from the public sector. and d) the tribunal's clerks told me that there were massive judgement backlogs because of A BIG RUSH OF CASES FROM THE PUBLIC SECTOR.

PLease don't be naive about this - of course the overt message is different.

Sorry Apple - I was angry when I wrote that as have just heard of another case like this from another public sector employer sad

MainlyMaynie Wed 09-May-12 09:27:29

I'm not naive about it worried betty. I have been a senior manager in several local authorities. I have seen good and bad management. More bad than good tbh. Local authorities are different to the rest of the public sector, because they are so close to direct lines of 'democratic oversight'. One thing which is very common is using redundancy instead of disciplinary. One thing which is not common is using disciplinary instead of redundancy. I would be absolutely amazed if that was what was happening here and I don't think it's helpful to Apple to suggest it. This is probably a simple case of appalling management of a disciplinary, unfortunately. The vast majority of disciplinaries don't lead to dismissal.

mamasin Wed 09-May-12 19:18:48

Just wanted to add to the chorus of disbelief who are rooting for you apple. WorriedBetty thanks so much for your comments as a public sector worker I have concerns about the procedures followed by some and I'm glad but saddened ?! to know I'm not being paranoid grin

Queenofcake Thu 10-May-12 13:35:29

Hi Apple,

I was just wondering how you are and if things have progressed anymore this week. Am hoping so in your favour.

Still thinking of you and hope your cold and tonsillitis have done one!


BerylStreep Thu 10-May-12 23:13:11

Holy shit! Have just read both of your threads. What utter bastards. Need to gather my thoughts and will post again.

BerylStreep Thu 10-May-12 23:57:04

I agree with squiffy - you need to get a lawyer.

I join the queue of posters who are utterly confused as to the actual allegations. Is it flexi fraud, or internet misuse? Or both? Has any cognisance been taken of your explanations that you were off on certain days / didn't use specific computers? There seem to be massive gaps regarding the integrity of evidence,especially IT records.

Were the allegations relating to internet misuse raised during the investigation meeting, or are they new allegations, which you haven't had an opportunity to respond to?

The witness statements from ubercow - when are they dated? Is it before or after the investigation meeting? Was she one of the ones texting you? If so, this is highly relevant, as a key witness was making inappropriate contact with you during an investigation. (well done btw, for restraining yourself about contact during this time). You need to get on record that you believe these are malicious and unfounded allegations by this individual, driven by her dysfunctional relationships in the workplace, as can be evidenced by other staff.

You need to get your other colleague to provide a statement, if she hasn't already - both to support your timekeeping and also the difficulties with this other individual. Can she dispute the allegations? What about the member of the other team who you say you were cringing about when ubercow was really rude to her? Can she provide evidence? You need to start slinging mud to defend yourself.

Having said that, the burden of proof lies with your employer, not you, albeit that they are proving on the balance of probabilities, not beyond all reasonable doubt.

These are questions / tactics that come to mind, but as Squiffy says, don't try to address them by yourself - your lawyer should be doing this, it will carry much more weight. You also need to get an adjournment to the disciplinary in order to allow you to prepare - whether you argue this on the basis of unfairness or illness is really a matter for your legal advisor, but it needs to be done.

I also come from a background in misconduct matters, albeit in a specialist field.

Thinking of you.

ThePathanKhansWitch Fri 11-May-12 17:14:00

Hi Apple, just popped in to say hello and I hope your ok.x

TheFarSide Fri 11-May-12 20:58:39

Also thinking of you Apple. Hope you are recovering from your tonsillitis.

Hi Apple - I hope you are beginning to recover from your tonsillitis. I have been following your thread from the beginning with disbelief. I cannot recommend ACAS highly enough for support in this situation. I have linked a pdf of their guide to discipline and grievance at work which may be worth you looking through to see if your employer has been following their guidelines.

I really hope this concludes very soon and that you are vindicated.

marmiteonmykeyboard Mon 14-May-12 06:41:36

Whatever is going on now, Apple, I wish you all the best and hope you are drawing some support from the good wishes and thoughts offered on Mumsnet.

Princesslovelyboo Mon 14-May-12 11:35:57

Hi Apple, I have been on both the threads you have had, I have name changed calamityboo how is it going for you, did you manage to look at any of the documents? Did you get a lawyer? How is your throat? How are you in general?

MOSagain Mon 14-May-12 13:42:38

Hi Apple, I'm sorry you are going through this, the way they are behaving is disgraceful.

I'm another who feels its time to take the gloves off and consult an employment lawyer. I also agree with sparkles soiree regarding ACAS.
Their Code of Practice on Disciplinary and grievance proceedures (2009) provides basic practical guidance to employers, employees and their representatives and sets out principles for handling disciplinary and grievance situations in the workplace. If, at some point in the future you take them to the Employment Tribunal, then the ET can take the Code into account when considering cases and ultimately could increase any award payable by up to 25% if they feel that an employer has unreasonably failed to follow the guidance as set out in the Code.

I have lurked for a while and know that what you wanted initially was to go back to work but am wondering how you feel now? Do you think that even if they accepted you'd done nothing wrong and apologised you could go back? Very difficult, if not impossible to re-build a good working relationship after something like this. Something to consider for the future (I know it was mentioned at the start) is to resign and claim constructive dismissal.

Good luck

PineappleBed Mon 14-May-12 13:53:59

Hi apple, I'm just a useless lurker wishing you well. Fingers and toes crossed for a swift end to this insanity!

zebrafinch Tue 15-May-12 00:29:21

Apple please please get legal advice before considering anything like resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. Legally, it can be difficult to prove and it has to be done in the right way. someone who,has been badly treated by an employer can still lose a constructive dismissal case at tribunal. I am sure it was mentioned further up the thread but check your house contents Insurance and any other insurance you may have to see if legal expenses cover is included. Given the impact on your health apple you need to get legal advice to stop this continuing , you need to at the very least get a new union rep

AllOverIt Tue 15-May-12 16:46:16

Another useless lurker, wishing you well. Hope you start to feel better soon so that you can kick some butt! wink grin

notjustamummythankyou Tue 15-May-12 17:53:23

Hi Apple - have been following your story from the start. Am delurking to also encourage you to a contact a lawyer.

While this isn't the place for my story, I too had an awful time with a previous employer. It sent several letters through its own solicitor which were upsetting verging on threatening. I hired an employment lawyer because I just couldn't fight it on my own. It took some of the stress out of the situation simply being reassured I was on legal high ground. I think I would have caved in otherwise, and the company would have got away with its outrageous behaviour.

The outcome was that I won with compensation, and the employer got a serious ticking off from the judge.

Don't go through this alone. Good luck.

HermanMumster Tue 15-May-12 21:27:54

Any news? Hope all good.

tinkcantwaittomove Tue 15-May-12 22:00:11

Hope all ok

redexpat Wed 16-May-12 13:21:52

Are you feeling any better Apple? It's over a week since your last post. Is everything OK? Or as OK as it can be under the circumstances?

JulesJules Wed 16-May-12 16:44:55

Hello Apple, still thinking of you.

Queenofcake Wed 16-May-12 20:12:54

Hi Apple - you are still in my thoughts. I hope you are feeling better by now.

I am hoping your absence from this thread is because something positive for you is happening with regards to getting this awful mess sorted out. I am wondering of perhaps you have sought proper legal advice and been advised to stay away from this thread.

I hope its nothing awful.

What ever the reason Apple, we are all thinking of you and willing you on to draw this matter to the best conclusion possible in your favour.

ThePathanKhansWitch Thu 17-May-12 13:31:42

Just wanted to echo what Queen has said, thinking of you and wishing you all the best Apple.

Princesslovelyboo Thu 17-May-12 17:54:09

Hi apple, its been a while since we heard from you, hope you are ok.

mamasin Thu 17-May-12 21:48:22

Queenofcake has said exactly what I wanted to say, hoping that you are feeling better and that you are getting some strength from the many many people on MN who are willing you on ...

DeepPurple Fri 18-May-12 16:47:44

Hope you are ok

klaxon Fri 18-May-12 16:59:02

I'm going to place money on ubercow being the one being shat on by the karmic pigeon for the rest of her life frankly.

Apple I'm sorry you are still going through this - get a lawyer, the biggest, shit hottest one you can afford and take them to the bloody cleaners. They deserve it. So many people are being pushed out on trumped up charges from the public sector. sad

Haberdashery Sat 19-May-12 20:15:20

Thinking of you too, Apple. Hope all is well.

RubyrooUK Sat 19-May-12 21:13:37

I'm also thinking of you Apple and looking out for an update, hoping that your terrible experience is now over. X

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 20-May-12 21:32:24

hows things apple? am hoping you have some resolution to this by now.

Princesslovelyboo Mon 21-May-12 09:18:38

Hi again Apple, fingers crossded this is over for you and you are relaxing and putting it all behind you.

treadwarily Mon 21-May-12 11:08:21

Checking in daily for an apple update...

applecrumbleandcream Mon 21-May-12 13:03:01

Hi everyone, so so sorry to have not given any update...

I'd love to be able to come here to update that everything is resolved, however, I have been signed off work by my GP for a month. Head all over the place, feel so sad and crying all the time. I have had a letter to attend a Hearing but not well enough or strong enough at the moment to attend. I'm sorry if I start to ramble, I actually feel like a bit of a zombie at the moment.

I have received a large package through the post containing all the documents management have built up on me, these now include usage of the internet including sites including Natwest bank (don't even bank with them), Jackpot Joy bingo!!! (never ever been on this in my life), William Hill!!!, Facebook (never go on this as I know it is frowned upon). Now I will hold my hands up and admit that I do occasionally use the internet, but then so do all the staff. I certainly don't use it as much as they have said, the wads of paper are massive and include loads of technical sites I've never heard of. The information is all built on my colleague's recording my times including when I had a car accident in December (skidded into the back of another car), mum's operation dates (my mum is actually livid about this as these documents will be paraded in front of other people and my mum is upset about her lack of privacy). All her recordings are lies. She even stalked me when she was on leave for a week by asking the cleaners!! what time I went home. I am so so upset. I knew she was wierd but this has just about tipped me over the edge. When I spoke to my unison rep about it he said at the hearing they will just cut through all that and it looks like it will probably be a dismissal as a couple of occasions I cannot confirm I was definitely in work. One of the occasions I was upset in work because of my mum not being well, she even said "go home apple, there is no one in we won't say anything", but I didn't go home. Now I know she was looking for things to hold against me. She has been colluding with the Manager who has never once asked why would x do all this to find out if she had a problem with me, they have all just believed her story and it seems there is nothing I can do about it.

I am not able to have a legal representative at the hearing as I have been told it is not LA policy. I have, however, made an appointment at a solicitors for legal advice. The unison rep said that if I appeal on unfair dismissal and it goes to a tribunal it is up to the union's solicitors whether they will fight it or not, they don't just take the case automatically. So seems like I have been paying 16 years of unison fees for nothing... waste of time!!!

woahwoah Mon 21-May-12 13:31:55

I've been reading your threads from the start but never posted because I didn't know what to say. It's all so dreadful and I'm so sorry you are going through this. I can't do anything but send my sympathy. I really hope that things go well for you at the hearing.

MainlyMaynie Mon 21-May-12 13:44:24

Bloody hell, is your union rep Eeyore? It might be time to speak to your union's regional office.

Have you got anyone who can go through all the information logically with you? It sounds like you could really do with that sort of support.

Am I right in thinking that there are two basic allegations? 1 - that you have claimed to be in work longer than you have been on your flexi record and 2 - that you have used the internet for personal use while clocked in according to your flexi record?

And there are 4 sources of evidence -
1 - your flexi record
2 - your computer log on times
3 - your internet usage records
4 - your colleague's bizarre stalking record?

From your comment that you can't confirm you were in work, do you mean you don't have evidence to prove it or do you think you may have made some errors with the flexi when you were upset?

Honestly, don't give up hope. I still think you have a chance with this.

emdelafield Mon 21-May-12 13:50:28

Hello Apple

I know it doesn't feel like it but things are coming to a head now and will be resolved at some future date( hopefully soon).

I just want to say I am very glad you are taking legal advice. Please make sure you go to a specialist in employment law.

The one I had was fantastic and I think the fact that I engaged him made my employers take me seriously.

You need someone who is an expert and is on your side.
Please feel free to pm me if you want more help.

Good luck .

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 21-May-12 13:51:12

So sorry it's all still going on, apple. I know you say you feel awful (understandably) but if it's any consolation, you're coming across on here as measured, logical, clear and calm.

I think the legal route is the only way for you to go at this stage. Your employers bombarding you with huge parcels of bumph without any actual clear statement of what they are accusing you of is wrong as well as unfair. The solicitor will see you right.

And, I'm biased because I've had a couple of bad experiences with them, but I'd say cancel your Unison payments.

Keep looking after yourself and remember, you have nothing to hide or feel bad about. Keep telling the truth and stay calm. Very best of luck – and come back and update when you can!

mamasin Mon 21-May-12 15:49:39

oh Apple it sounds so overwhelming! Please do think a bit more about legal support and the lovely HR bods on here, flowery et al, are always so considered in their advice...

marmiteonmykeyboard Mon 21-May-12 15:51:05

Hi Apple, thank you for posting. That was brave of you. I am so sorry to hear what is happening now. You will feel like you have been hit by a train. I am glad you have decided to use a lawyer. It may seem impossible but try to disengage from the process. Look after yourself. Keep eating, getting out into the fresh air and take up any offers of help you can. I remember your father kindly said he would assist with the financial aspect. He sounds a lovely man. If the money part worries you, try CAB. Take all the bumph along. Also try to e-mail your UNISON head office. You seem to be getting very odd and unhelpful advice. I am aware you can end up taking too much advice though and you might be better plonking for the solicitor if you have started with him/her. I cannot assist you with the technological side of it but I am here for a shoulder to cry on. I agree with emdelafield - there is now an end in sight in that you have been given a date for a hearing. Who can support you there? Would you be prepared to take another UNISON person in? Or a good friend? I'm rambling a bit now. Thinking of you, M.

OhNoMyFanjo Mon 21-May-12 16:59:31

Apple I'm so sorry.

You do need some help with this, do you have a y friends in hr?

BerylStreep Mon 21-May-12 17:12:19

Thanks for updating - a lot of people are thinking of you.

So sorry this is still going on. Your colleague keeping tabs on you is utterly, utterly bizarre, and if your manager had a problem with your time keeping, it should have been raised with you long before now (by him, not your colleague).

I'm glad you are seeing a solicitor, and I also agree with whoever said about seeing the regional Unison rep as the one you have sounds useless. I wouldn't cancel your Unison subscription though.

Is there anyone who can help wade through all the material and identify inconsistencies? For example, are there internet uses when you definitely weren't there (as per your flexi sheet)? Or conversely, are any of the alleged internet uses at times when they are claiming on the one hand that you weren't there, but on the other hand that you were on the internet? IYSWIM.

If you, or anyone you know, is any good on excel, this would be fairly easy to do - set up on a sheet outlining MainlyMaynie's 4 sources of evidence:

1 - your flexi record
2 - your computer log on times
3 - your internet usage records
4 - your colleague's bizarre stalking record

Have columns for each of these sources, then meticulously record on each row the details for each day from each of the sources. If you want I will PM an example to you.

Have you been given an opportunity to address all the issues in the documentation they have sent, or have you not been asked about it?

I wouldn't be too quick to handing the fact that you may have used the internet on occasion to them on a plate. They are playing dirty, and don't make it easy for them. Remember, the burden of proof is on them, not you. If it was me, I would be focusing on discrediting the internet evidence to the point where none of it stands up. For example, raising that you don't bank with Natwest etc. (I wonder who, in your office, does bank with them? Your payroll section should have that information, if someone's salary is paid in to Natwest - perhaps you should ask the investigator to check that. It may also be worth bringing statements from your bank to prove that you bank elsewhere.) I would also be referring to the evidence that the computers they say you use aren't even your computers.

The 'evidence' from the cleaner is hearsay.

What about your other colleague? Has she provided any evidence? Has she been asked by them?

I asked up thread - out of interest, this colleague making the allegations - was she one of the ones who was texting you & sending flowers? If so, that sort of duplicitous behaviour should be highlighted to the investigator.

Have you checked with your household insurance to see if they cover legal fees? (Check before you see the solicitor, because some of them will say that you need to consult with the insurance company from the outset, otherwise they won't cover it).

I would ask for copies of your grievance and bully & harassment policies. Your solicitor would advise, but I think you need to seriously consider submitting a grievance covering the following:
Your manager has never raised an issue of your timekeeping with you before.
It appears that your manager has been asking your colleague to keep tabs on you.
The investigation has been unfair, as you have not had an opportunity to answer the 'evidence' presented to you.
Your colleague asking cleaners to check your time-keeping is harassment.
Your colleague has made unfounded and malicious allegations against you, encouraged, it seems, by your manager.
The investigation is relying on hearsay evidence of the cleaners.
From the 'evidence' presented thus far, it is clear that your log-in details have been compromised (evidenced by use of web-sites you haven't visited, and use of terminals you don't use), yet the LA has failed to take any steps to investigate.

I'm sure there is more, but I can't think at the moment.

I went through an awful time at work last year (and MNers were brilliant in giving me support), but even with that I can't even start to think what you are going through. I'm sure the last thing you have is the energy for a fight, but you simply can't let them away with this. I don't want to come over as a bossy boots, but these are the glaring issues that come to mind.

One final, but extremely important thing. The hearing can continue in your absence if you are off sick. You MUST make sure you, your union rep or your solicitor (solicitor is probably the best bet) agrees with the employer a new date for the hearing. Don't assume that because you are signed off that the hearing will automatically be postponed.

ThePinkPussycat Mon 21-May-12 17:42:40

Do you have copies of the notes from your one-to-ones with your line manager? Mine were monthly. If not, ask for them.

I have a diagnosis of bi-polar, which I declared to my employers when I initially applied for the job. I took a Rethink mh advocate into my meetings - the job I gave her was to take reasonably full notes of what was said, as I knew I couldn't do this myself. As you are signed off sick with stress this route could be open to you. An accompanying mh advocate should be allowed to attend with you under LA policy. I could have had a union rep accompany me (if I had joined the union, which was Unison). I did speak to the Unison person, the words chocolate fireguard spring to mind.

Yy to specialist employment lawyer, preferably a partner at the solicitors, and preferably one who has been in practise for a couple of decades or more. (This is how I found my excellent family law solicitor for my divorce).

All the best, I truly remember how it feels, I would not wish it on my worst enemy. It seems clear that you are not the person who should be summarily dismissed.

Also happy to PM with support if you would like, it wouldn't be of a technical nature though...

tinkcantwaittomove Mon 21-May-12 20:52:31

Thinking of u

tinkcantwaittomove Mon 21-May-12 20:55:42

Oh apple sad feel so sad for you

RandomMess Mon 21-May-12 21:01:50

Their treatment of you absolutely disgusts me angry your colleague sounds utterly uttly deranged and your manager incompetent.

I have recently resigned my membership of prospect union due to their appalling non-help of very dodgy job matchi ng and redunancy going on at work.

Gumby Mon 21-May-12 21:08:08

What about your other colleagues/ friends at work?
Can they confirm this woman is a stalker loon?
And how can they go by cleaners hearsay?
Beggars belief sad

Princesslovelyboo Mon 21-May-12 21:21:18

The thing is Gumby one of the first conditions of Apples suspension was that she was not allowed to contact any of her colleagues, now we know why!!!!!

Apple, I hope you clear your name and recover from this and find a job where you are valued!

FriedSprout Mon 21-May-12 22:42:41

Please, please, please go to a specialist employment lawyer. I can still give you details of shit hot female lawyer in midlands. You need some experts on your side, as others have said go higher with union, or ditch them completely and go with lawyer. Don't just believe what work say as regards representation, your job and self belief are at stake, and this does not sound right. Can I sneak in a quick in-mumsnety hug ?

mirry2 Mon 21-May-12 22:55:19

Your colleague sounds deranged and so malicious that do you think she could have logged onto these internet sites using your computer?
How long have they been collecting' evidence'. It all seems so underhand and excessive. If your manager really thought you were misusing the internet, surely she would have pulled you up on it during your appraisals?

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 21-May-12 22:57:35

thanks for the update apple - if i were you now i would be declaring all out war and seeking the advice of the best employment law lawyer your dad can afford and going for the biggest settlement possible - there is no way you can go back but i would be fighting tooth and nail for a huge cash payout for unfair/constructive dismissal.

all they are bothered about is getting you out - dont go quietly and without a fight - i know its hard to keep going when you feel so shit on from a great height - but you must because this is all wrong on so many levels and i think you would have a very good chance were this to go to court, their evidence is so flaky.

give yourself a bit of time and run with the sick note - but in the meantime make sure you are getting legal advice from the best specialist source and go for them.

so sorry apple. the stress you are under must be immense by now. make the bastards pay for it.

mirry2 Mon 21-May-12 22:59:26

Also why don't you have conversation with some of your colleagues now. What have you got to lose? They probably know what's been going on

treadwarily Tue 22-May-12 04:11:34

How utterly awful for you apple. You have been so badly betrayed and let down.

So many questions - if there were doubts, why on earth didn't your manager just clarify things with you?

You have one colleague from hell there, and a useless management to boot.

Surely between us here at MN we can turn this round??

What can we do for you???

Lougle Tue 22-May-12 07:07:31

Apple, don't let them push you around. You are NOT to ill to deal with this. Think of this as a wound with bits of glass in it. Much as it hurts to deal with it, the passion won't go until the glass is out, so you have to just grit your teeth and go for it.

thelittlestkiwi Wed 23-May-12 04:53:19

Hang in there apple.

I hope in a few months time you will have a big payout and a brilliant new job. Living well is the best revenge.

zebrafinch Wed 23-May-12 06:50:03

apple did you download the free publication from the London Law Centre "Facing disciplinary action a guide from employees....". I cannot link but you can find it a It does not replace legal advice from your solicitor but gives good advice to employees for before during and after the disciplinary hearing.
Mainly above gives some good advice. You have to sit down hopefully with a friend helping you and write down all the evidence which you have against each of the allegations which have been made. Can any staff member provide a witness statement in support of some of the facts that are in dispute?
you mentioned your mother had an accident/been ill? discuss with your solicitor whether there are any grounds for discrimination against you because you are a Carer??? Could there be anything about you that underlies the behaviour of the staff member towards you???
How organised is your paperwork?? get a lever arch file , put your letters emails, meeting reports, evidence etc. in a logical format with separators along wth staff policy documents on disciplinary action and procedures. Do a separate sheet listing the relevant dates and events. This will help you when you discuss your case with your solicitor especially if you are stressed.

zebrafinch Wed 23-May-12 13:55:41

Include in your lever arch file any staff policy documents, emails, memos on Internet usage and flexitime.
Apple, have confidence that you can do this. Spend an allocated amount of time each day on getting organised and preparing your defence to each specific allegation. Try to treat it as a work project and then spend the rest of the day doing some activities which hopefully can take your mind of all this. Go for a swim or a walk. Take care of yourself.

zebrafinch Wed 23-May-12 13:58:45

apologies just re read my post above. The publication Is a Guide FOR employees not from. Download it.

Nyac Wed 23-May-12 14:10:12

Just seen your latest post Apple. I was thinking "workplace bullying" just as I was reading through your thread, and now it turns out that a colleague and your manager have been conspiring against you.

I don't know if anybody has mentioned it, but this is quite a good resource on workplace bullying:

And if you haven't already, you do need to talk to a good employment lawyer. This is appalling treatment of you.

Best wishes to you.

Nyac Wed 23-May-12 14:16:18

As other people have said too, it is important that you now lodge a grievance about their treatment of you. If this goes to tribunal it will show that you've gone through the process correctly in objecting to their behaviour.

klaxon Wed 23-May-12 14:22:21

Wow! What a heinous bitch your colleague is! Is there not a house we can drop on her head? shock

I think the outcome is pretty inevitable now - perhaps you should start working on what you will do after the fire you (other than have a good cry). Onwards Apple, you are better than this!

BerylStreep Wed 23-May-12 16:45:10

But Klaxon, is it inevitable? Surely we (and apple) need to have faith that somebody in the discipline hearing will see this for what it is? That's why apple needs to go through all the allegations in a logical manner to show how unreliable all this 'evidence' is and to show that she is an honest, hard-working individual who has been subject to malicious allegations, harassment and bullying.

Assuming she wins her disciplinary hearing, I wouldn't be too quick to automatically assume that it is impossible to continue working for the LA. Sure, she could never work with that colleague again, or her manager, but in an ideal world they themselves will be facing investigation once she lodges a grievance, and may not be with the LA for much longer themselves. She may surprised as to how supportive the rest of her colleagues and other managers are.

Perhaps apple could get a new role elsewhere in the organisation? I think with jobs thin on the ground, she needs to keep her options open.

It may sound naive, but I think apple needs to fight this as best she can in the hope that someone will see sense.

As an aside, my experience is that part-time workers' timekeeping is always subject to more scrutiny. I wonder how many other people apple's colleague has been keeping tabs on?

klaxon Wed 23-May-12 18:07:37

Beryl - on present information, I'm not sure that anyone in the investigation WILL be fair. The problem is that once someone is assumed by the majority to be 'a bad 'un' evidence will be found to fit and they'll get her on a technicality which, if they didn't want her out, would just be ignored. sad

I'm sorry to sound negative but I'd be planning for the future and saying 'okay it's shit but here we are, where do I go from here'.

mirry2 Wed 23-May-12 18:20:47

But the op needs to believe she will win and fight for all it's worth because it wil affect her prospects of getting another job to have a dismissal on her CV.

Sge is going to have to fight this all the way to an independent tribunal if necessary so it's important that she starts the grievance procedure now, with a very justified complaint of bullying.

zebrafinch Wed 23-May-12 18:42:26

Apple whilst this might look like a stitch up you have to fight it in a detailed almost clinical way. I agree with Beryl above. Jobs are hard to come by. I knew of someone working for a public body who was suspended fighting very serious allegations and facing dismissal. With the proper preparation, detailed evidence gathering and documentation , every single one of the serious allegations against him by another staff member were found unproven during the disciplinary meeting. The other staff member was shifted to a different building and the the accused kept his job, his pension and his dignity. Please dont be hard on yourself apple all the decent people at work will be rooting for you and thinking there but for the grace of God go I. Hold your head up high apple.

I should add however that the accused was helped by a very good union rep which unfortuntely you seem to be lacking.

Catkinsthecatinthehat Wed 23-May-12 19:07:42

A lot of the sites you are wrongly accused of accessing are ones which need personal accounts - banking, facebook, gambling etc. Is there a way of showing that the accounts aren't yours? Password info won't be retained but the cookies on the computer might have some other evidence.

eg. I bank with Lloyds. If I go to their login page from my usual computer my account number is already there, I just have to put in my password. A discussion forum I use welcomes me back with my username, and again I just have to put in the password.

Jux Wed 23-May-12 20:15:57

I have no expertise, but I think - if you can face it - that you should fight for all you're worth.

I was constructively dismissed years and years ago, because I was really ill and it was potentially a long-term, in fact lifelong, condition, and my employers knew it, and didn't want me. I was going to fight it but got exhausted so quickly that I just gave up and handed in my notice; it was just easier.

Indeed, it is a lifelong condition and yes, I would have stayed working there on my nice salary for as long as I could, and they'd have moved me sideways, but that salary would have made a heck of a lot of difference to me over the next few years, and the pension, and the early retirement they'd have got rid of me with or the redundancy.

Instead, they gave me cash payment and a month's salary (which they didn't actually have to do).

Yes, I regret it.

Fight them, op, you know you're innocent, and they're swaggering at you like the playground bullies they are.

MainlyMaynie Thu 24-May-12 08:04:55

I wouldn't be too pessimistic about no one questioning the evidence at the hearing. It will be someone not involved in the situation chairing the panel and if that was me and the start of the evidence was a malicious colleague's records I would not begin with a good impression of the case. Disciplinary hearings like this are not uncommon in LAs and often don't lead to dismissal. Apple does need to get someone to sit down and help her sift logically through the evidence though, hopefully the employment lawyer will be able to help with this.

If there are days when she has accidentally recorded herself as being in work when she wasn't, due to the upset of her Mum's illness, then this is where she really needs specialist advice. Regardless of the utter nonsense that the rest of the evidence is, the hearing would have to take this seriously unless they are given good reason not to.

tinkcantwaittomove Thu 24-May-12 14:00:56

thinking of u stay strong xx

eurochick Thu 24-May-12 14:14:41

Hey apple. I followed your earlier thread. I didn't realise there was a second one. I'm glad you have decided to engage a solicitor. They will be able to advise you behind the scenes for now, even if they can't come to the disciplinary hearing with you. If you get a good one, this help will be invaluable.

Please keep your chin up and get this nasty bully put back in her box!

CheeseandPickledOnion Thu 24-May-12 15:57:19

Hope you're ok Apple.

oohh apple, i have nothing constructive to add, but just to let you know i am thinking about you

Y, y to putting in a grievance about bullying.

KittieCat Sun 27-May-12 22:09:48

Hi apple I've been checking in regularly and really hoping things improve for you. It WILL get better, look after yourself and I hope there is better news soon. Got everything crossed, hope you feel stronger soon.

MummyPocPoc Mon 28-May-12 21:54:25

Hi Apple,

I worked for a LA a couple of years ago, and they had a clear internet usage policy which allowed 20 minutes a day internet usage for personal use. This was in addition to any net use required for doing your job.

Please check this is the case with your employer, so if you have had any reasonable use of the net you can defend it as it is allowed.

Good luck btw, I check this thread regularly. Appalling story, and your colleague is a bunny boiling evil cow - I really hope the pendulum swings to shine the light on her evil doings, and she gets booted grin

Putthatbookdown Mon 28-May-12 22:28:57

I would still have a good lawyer in the background IF YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR CAREER. Employers are obliged to think not only of themselves but also how their behaviour impacts on your FUTURE career. With bullying (and especially so with harrassment ) it is known that people are sometimes so disappinted that they leave the field altogether. I am NOT saying this WILL happen to you and I hope it will not but it is ONE factor. It is important for YOU and your future. Another factor and more likely is that claims for bullying attract UNLIMITED DAMAGES so a lawyer will be vital later. Meanwhile you must exhaust all internal procedures (without a lawyer ) Also if any corruption is going on you have a duty to report it . This is possiblysomething to have up your sleeve-are there whistle-blowing procedures ?

DogEared Mon 28-May-12 22:40:23

I think the fact that they've stated such bloody ridiculous websites that you've never visited is a good think. You can prove you don't bank with Lloyds TSB (or whoever they said): You can bring in bank statements to prove you never deposited money to online bingo.
Thinking of you a lot... Remember you have a mumsnet army behind you here...

Bearcat Tue 29-May-12 06:57:14

Hi apple
I'm exactly same position as you now and having to prepare for disciplinaryshock
Found out a week ago after 8 months of suspension.
Sleeping is difficult. Eating is very difficult (never thought I'd be one to say that, and have lost half a stone in a week).
My everyday is consumed with the injustice of it all, I was a whistle blower.
I haven't watched TV, listened to the radio or read a paper for a week. I only look at MN for 10 minutes going to bed, and am doing this whilst DH in shower. I have no idea what is going on in the outside world (except that Harlequins won the Aviva Premiership trophygrinand I was there, but even then my mind was wandering.)
I am working all day until 11pm at night trying to pick apart the evidence against me, even with evidence my employer had in their file that certain things have not happened (incompetence).
I am starting to feel slightly calmer, the more work I am doing in forensically trying to take this case against me apart, but will be unable to settle again until I have done this.
DH as usual being fantastic, going to work and then working on my defence until midnight or 1am.
I am not doing this for my job (how can I no longer care about a job and career that Ioved?) but for my reputation and to try and see that justice just might prevail (but I'm not holding my breath).
Sorry to hijack your thread again apple, but just wanted to say again you are not alone.
Got tears running down face now. Good job DH down stairs!
Rebecca Brooks (Leverson inquiry - or is it enquiry?) is my hero now. I want to be as strong as she looked there, and outside court after she had been charged. I try and think of her in my flakier moments, and hope I can maintain that composure in my disciplinary (as I did manage to in fact in my investigation meeting).
Lots of hugs to you apple. I'm sure we're not alone.
Got to get up and get working now.

Princesslovelyboo Tue 29-May-12 18:17:49

Hi apple Just another good luck hows it going post from me.

PreviouslyonLost Tue 29-May-12 21:09:35

Long time lurker on this thread...Bearcat and apple, I am (just) on the other side of a possible disciplinary matter. apple sounds like an Industrial Tribunal is the way to have been treated appallingly.

Bearcat...cannot imagine 8 months of such torture, though know of a colleague who endured a year of similar injustice (and who is now back at work, but very bitter) Wish you both the very best of luck to come through this difficult time.

mamasin Wed 30-May-12 16:40:54

Am very very happy at the support being shown to apple, indeed others contributing their experiences, this is what Mumsnet is about!

marmiteonmykeyboard Wed 30-May-12 20:05:43

Hi apple and Bearcat (hope you don't mind being clumped together). Thinking of you both and sending you my hope for light at the end of the tunnel. Remember sometimes (and you are the only ones who can make the decision) the best revenge is no revenge at all. Though imo you are seeking justice.

Portofino Wed 30-May-12 20:13:35

I am a lurker too. I have no real advice, though it sounds as if the scurrilous evidence they have presented you with should be easy to pick apart with good help! The way they have treated you is disgusting. Definitely get a good solicitor! And keep calm!

Bearcat Wed 30-May-12 21:56:54

Got to fight on Marmite!
Feeling more upbeat tonight after a fantastic Skype call today with an expert.
Can't say too much.
It's not the job anymore, it's the fact that I cannot give up. I have to try and prove the lies that are being told against me, and I believe with the help we are getting, DH's great intellect and me spending my days I should be at work trying to pick this case apart I will have some sort of closure, because I will know that I didn't go down without fighting for my reputation of the last 30 years.

ThePinkPussycat Wed 30-May-12 23:01:49

bearcat undoubtedly you've thought of this, but did your employers have a whistle-blowing policy?

Keep on keeping on.

WetAugust Thu 31-May-12 00:43:42

Wishing you both well Apple and Bearcat.

marmiteonmykeyboard Fri 01-Jun-12 07:36:29

Hi Apple, thinking of you. Please let people know how you are when you are up to it. You must be feeling very isolated. You are not. Many people here bearing you in mind.
Bearcat (apologies for hijacking)did not mean to imply you should give up/walk away. I appreciate your integrity and probably your income are worth fighting for. I think of you. Concerned you are not getting support bar from your husband. CAB? Public concern at work (the "whistleblowers" charity), ACAS? Where's your union?
Sending you both my best wishes for the best outcome possible for you.

tinkcantwaittomove Fri 01-Jun-12 13:05:08

Thinking of u

Princesslovelyboo Fri 01-Jun-12 21:33:25

Hi Apple hope you can enjoy the weekend, hope for a resolution soon.

Groovee Sun 03-Jun-12 19:13:28

Oh Apple that is terrible. Sounds like the weird stalker colleague may be hiding things sad

Hi Apple. I've just found this thread after following the first one. I know things must seem pretty bleak right now but stay strong. Your employers and this bitch trog from hell colleague of yours are the ones in the wrong, not you. Get yourself a lawyer and put the shit up them. You have nothing to lose by fighting tooth and nail for your reputation. You can do it!

redexpat Wed 06-Jun-12 16:10:33

Still thinking of you. Wishing you all the best x

Hi Apple
that stupid bitch colleague ! I cannot believe someone would act like that - and that a workplace would accecpt such pathetic behaviour as gospel and to use it against you ! I would take a formal personal grievance against her myself.
I had a horrible older lady i worked with years ago who was a bit like that - years later shes still working the same job, still being nasty (according to friends who still work at same place) and is a sad bitter old lady who no one likes or trusts. Karma will bite your colleague on the a$$ ! maybe not now but in the future definitely.
Stay strong Hun XX

MummyPocPoc Sun 10-Jun-12 22:22:45

Apple are you OK?

Your absence is worrying confused

BerylStreep Mon 11-Jun-12 15:48:39

I think the last time Apple posted was 3 weeks ago, on 21 May.

I hope things are ok.

ThePathanKhansWitch Tue 12-Jun-12 12:33:33

Hi Apple, we are all here and thinking of you, do hope your well, well as can be expected under the circumstances. x. Keep strong.

tinkcantwaittomove Tue 12-Jun-12 13:40:14


tinkcantwaittomove Tue 12-Jun-12 13:41:15

Hope u r ok

Princesslovelyboo Tue 12-Jun-12 20:28:55

Hi Apple, how are you feeling? I really hope you are starting to feel a bit stronger.

omydarlin Wed 13-Jun-12 19:50:28

Apple just to let you know am thinking of you .

Queenofcake Thu 14-Jun-12 11:15:45

Hi Apple,

Have also been wondering about you and how you are. Are you any further on with this?

Hope you are feeling a little better.

mamasin Thu 14-Jun-12 19:00:29

Apple hope you are making good progress with regard to your health and that work stuff is rapidly diminishing. Am thinking and wishing you all the best smile

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Fri 15-Jun-12 19:47:56

I was thinking about you today. Sorry to see there are no positive updates . sad

ThePathanKhansWitch Wed 20-Jun-12 14:08:20

Hello Apple, hope you're well, do hope this has come to a sane conclusion for you and that perhaps you're enjoying a lovely holiday somewhere!smile, we've not heard from you in a while. Wishing you the best.

MummyPocPoc Thu 21-Jun-12 10:44:09

Apple are you back to work yet? Your doc signed you off for a month I think? I hope all is well smile

OneLastSoul Mon 25-Jun-12 22:13:29

Another one thinking of you.xx.

Gumby Fri 29-Jun-12 22:16:06

Hope Apple is okay


VivaLeBeaver Fri 29-Jun-12 22:18:14

Another one hoping you're ok apple.

maples Fri 29-Jun-12 22:27:40

Apple we are all thinking of you.

sad at how you have been treated.

prettybird Fri 29-Jun-12 23:12:15

Also thinking of you and hoping for good news.

bigpants103 Tue 03-Jul-12 19:31:39

Any news? Hoping you're ok and get some good news soon x

Queenofcake Tue 03-Jul-12 23:17:47

Wondering how you are Apple.

Please come back and let us know how you are.

mamasin Wed 04-Jul-12 10:23:28

yes, do come back and let us know that you are ok

CheeseandPickledOnion Thu 05-Jul-12 14:56:05

Hope you're ok Apple.

ZebraLeg Tue 10-Jul-12 13:23:00

Still thinking of you Apple x

treadheavily Wed 11-Jul-12 00:11:44

I have been checking this thread for ages. I wish there was something I could do for apple. She sounds such a lovely person and in such a horrible situation.
Apple if you are checking in at all, do let us try to help even if only with moral support. x

mamasin Wed 11-Jul-12 08:06:17

Echoing treadheavily am v worried about apple sad, does anyone know her in RL?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 11-Jul-12 08:08:18

Do hope she's ok and that this has been sorted out by now.

Hello Apple - hope you're OK.

Queenofcake Fri 13-Jul-12 09:04:11

Just thought I would check again to see if Apple had commented.

Hope you are doing OK Apple.

thegreylady Sat 14-Jul-12 20:33:51

I too have been looking for an update-poor apple sounded so desperate and has been treated so shabbily-has anyone pm'd her?

ThePathanKhansWitch Tue 17-Jul-12 19:46:14

Just popped back to say hi, hope you're ok.x

Haberdashery Wed 18-Jul-12 11:45:03

I am still thinking of you, too, Apple.

TheCraicDealer Tue 24-Jul-12 16:37:46

I keep checking this thread to see if Apple has been vindicated.... thinking of you OP

* waves Apple flag *

SophySinclair Tue 24-Jul-12 23:26:17

Apple - hope you're doing well.

trixymalixy Wed 25-Jul-12 08:21:44

Thinking of you apple. My Dad is also going through a really stressful time as he has been suspended from work, it has really affected him, he seems to have aged overnight. I'm hoping both you and he get good outcomes.

propercharlie Wed 25-Jul-12 08:43:20

All these random sites will be adverts/banners on the page you are viewing.

I was involved in a case exactly on this. We worked out from the log in times that it would have been physically impossible for the person to have visited all the sites in the allotted time. We then realised that each site had 5 or 6 adverts on and these kept reloading and redownloading every 10/20 seconds. These were saved on the internet usage record. The gambling/bingo sites is a dead giveaway. They are adverts on the page you really were visiting.

BigFatCushion Thu 26-Jul-12 16:13:00

Crikey - that's scary Charlie.

OhDoAdmitMrsDeVere Tue 31-Jul-12 16:03:42

Just checking in.
Sorry we havent heard anything sad

ThePathanKhansWitch Tue 31-Jul-12 20:05:28

Apple, lots of thinking about you.x

Haberdashery Tue 31-Jul-12 21:22:43

Does anyone know Apple well enough to contact her? Only I think she'd be really interested in propercharlie's comment. Do you think I should PM her on the off chance she notices?

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Tue 31-Jul-12 21:41:41

I have also have been thinking of you Apple.

Whether you return to this thread or not I hope justice has won out.

DottyFlowers Tue 31-Jul-12 22:14:10

How are things OP? Thinking of you smile

mamasin Wed 01-Aug-12 08:14:05

bumping and hoping op is well

Groovee Wed 01-Aug-12 08:25:19

Hoping that everything is on the way to bring resolved x

bleedingheart Wed 01-Aug-12 09:00:49

Thinking of you apple. Horrible situation for you and yours. I really hope it is resolved in your favour asap.

fuckwittery Wed 01-Aug-12 15:27:23

I have just read this
which is exactly the sort of case ProperCharlie describes and I hope Apple you read it and it gives you hope x

BerylStreep Tue 07-Aug-12 20:01:50

I have also been wondering about Apple, and hoping she got it resolved.

I also hope karma has cmd back to bite that witch of a colleague.

iklboo Tue 07-Aug-12 20:22:51

Keep wondering about apple too. Hope she's ok.

SophySinclair Tue 11-Sep-12 00:50:42

any word from apple? hope she is ok

dysfunctionalme Tue 11-Sep-12 01:27:48

God WHERE is she?!

I have felt worried about her for ages sad

hope you are ok Apple x

GreenShadow Fri 14-Sep-12 21:48:20

She's still posting on other threads.

DancehallDaze Sun 16-Sep-12 22:38:49

Yeah, shopping for ankle boots without a care in the world so it seems.

MamaMary Mon 17-Sep-12 15:52:58

I've just posted on an ankle boot thread she started asking her how the work thing panned out.

Groovee Mon 17-Sep-12 20:34:44

Any update?

MamaMary Wed 19-Sep-12 12:35:10

Someone at Apple's work found the thread and she's too scared to post on it now.

The situation has not been resolved and is still ongoing.

So, bad news really. I hope Apple doesn't mind me posting this and I won't link to any other threads - she says she's really grateful for all the support on this thread and will update as soon as she can.

SweetSeraphim Wed 19-Sep-12 12:53:16

Someone at her work found the thread? How? confused

onlymeee Tue 19-Feb-13 12:02:43

Pleased to hear you won a Christmas raffle at work, OP. I take it that means your problems were resolved then.

annh Wed 20-Feb-13 10:33:50

It seems a little odd that if someone from Apple's work recognised the thread she did not have the thread pulled, and continued to post on a variety of other topics in the same user name? Presumably she doesn't mind her work colleague knowing all about her Christmas shopping and clothes buying?

Napsalot Wed 20-Feb-13 23:55:21

I too have wondered if this got resolved and hope OP had a good outcome.

BadMissM Fri 22-Feb-13 12:46:52

I am involved in a case very similar to Apple's, wonder if it is the same employer in fact? Mine at Tribunal currently... My ex-employers have been spying on me all over the net (crazy but true), so I'm not surprised. Have just read all of this thread, our cases are identical. Would have loved to be able to talk to her so we could swap advice...

BadMissM Fri 22-Feb-13 12:48:09

I'm not surprised it's not resolved.... I was suspended for a year and a half, and still going through tribunal several years later.... Apple, if you're reading this, PM me!

NewYearNewBoo Fri 22-Feb-13 12:49:47

Ooh I was thinking about this the other day after browsing the thread about threads that stay with you.

Presumably you got sorted Apple or is this with a new employer?

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 22-Feb-13 12:52:44

Hey, not really seen all of this as very long and u plainly have lots of regular posters... However I do know a fab set of employment lawyers. Happy to recommend them if u pm me.... I had sh&te off an employer and they were very good. Just paying forwards....

Best wishes x

BadMissM Fri 22-Feb-13 13:02:26

Don't know what's happened to Apple... personally, haven't been able to afford an employment lawyer, or any lawyer. Union backed out first day of tribunal....

onlymeee Fri 22-Feb-13 16:16:40

It must have been resolved one way or another as she said in another thread that she won a raffle at work.

Very strange behaviour not to come back and update people after all their time efforts and support.

Bearcat Fri 22-Feb-13 18:56:04

See what Mamamary posted:

*Someone at Apple's work found the thread and she's too scared to post on it now.

The situation has not been resolved and is still ongoing.

So, bad news really. I hope Apple doesn't mind me posting this and I won't link to any other threads - she says she's really grateful for all the support on this thread and will update as soon as she can.*

Poor Apple went through a really awful time as others have done on this thread. She poured her heart out to us to give her advice.
I think we need to leave it now, she may well be in the same job and having to settle down, or maybe she's moved jobs but still can't comment as she could be taking legal action.
And why shouldn't she post on other threads?

applecrumbleandcream Sat 23-Feb-13 11:00:54

Hi I'm here. Thanks Bearcat your right, I just wanted to let the situation settle down for a while. As I said previously somebody from work (not the stalker) had seen the thread and asked if it was me. I didn't feel able to post again in case it landed me in more trouble but this person has left the Authority now and things have been resolved. Sorry to all those who think I shouldn't be posting about other subjects but ya know life goes on!

I received tons of advice and support on here that I must admit was overwhelming at times. I eventually through support of my family and my GP felt able to attend the Disciplinary Hearing. I requested the 'bully' be there to answer my questions. I couldn't believe her behaviour as she had been stalking me for over 12 months. She admitted she had a grudge against me and the Hearing Officers completely disregarded her 'evidence' totally. None of the information about being on the internet or logging on or off the computer was taken into consideration either (I don't know but was this because she admitted she had a grudge against me and that some of her recordings were not accurate she stated and were guessed). I was eventually given a Final Written Warning. I did not return to working with her despite my Manager offering to sit in the same office or offering mediation. I told them I did not want anything whatsoever to do with her, nor want her knowing anything about me or my family. I said that I want her moved. They have not done this though as we are currently in an administrative review and they say they cannot move any members of staff whilst this is proceeding as they would have the unions crawling all over them!. So I am stuck in a job in limbo with colleagues who I do not really know in a job that I don't like until the end of the review.

I know this sounds like I'm waffling on but that's the situation at the moment. I am still on the anti depressants and anti anxiety medication. I am very angry with the Local Authority that they allowed the bullying and stalking to continue and seemingly encouraged her to do it over the course of over 12 months. This added to my stress. I did go to the unions solicitor to see if I could start a case about this but it was declined.

At the moment I am just going into work, keeping my head down until the review is over (I think it may be next week) and then taking things from there.

Thanks again for the support and helpful advice !!

BadMissM Sat 23-Feb-13 17:37:18

Apple, you are lucky that you had a chance to state your case at the disciplinary.... and lucky you were believed. I'm in the other case scenario....

thisisthestory Sun 24-Feb-13 21:52:08

Apple - I've followed your thread from the beginning, and been horrified by the totallly disproportionate amount of disciplinary action / suspension for trivial allegations.

You got a final written warning? For what? After Ms Stalker admitted a grudge? WTAF?

But I am glad to see you are back at work. And posting on S&B about clothes! smile wine

applecrumbleandcream Sun 24-Feb-13 21:59:35

Yes they said I got the final written warning for 2 days that they said I had not accounted for. This was inaccurate as I have always informed them when I've had to take emergency leave but the woman who was my manager hadn't recorded it. I could not prove this though.

I'm not happy at work though but it's a job for the moment.

thisisthestory Sun 24-Feb-13 22:44:01

So - you could not prove your innocence, and they could not prove your guilt. So, you had to take the rap for that hmm

All that fuss. Months off work. Stress and grief. And paying a salary when you're not at work. For what - 2 days not accounted for and really no concrete proof of your guilt.

Will the Stalker get a disciplinary for admitting she has a grudge against you? Probably not.

I used to work with shit like this, it was awful. I do feel for you. Much wine to you smile

applecrumbleandcream Sun 24-Feb-13 23:21:56

Exactly right thisis. I feel so angry over what they've done and the fact the stalker had not been punished and is still comfortable in her job where she has always been. However, thinking about it, they would not punish her as it was they who encouraged and colluded with her in the first place to continue it so how can they punish her? . It has made me completely mistrustful of people, I'm not the person I used to be. I think to save face they had to be seen to
give out some form of punishment to me.

BadMissM Mon 25-Feb-13 20:08:58

I don't think I can trust an employer again after what happened to me either. Don't even think she'll (my stalker) be punished if I prove it at Tribunal....

thisisthestory Wed 27-Feb-13 11:20:40

Apple yes, you have to be found guilty, even if it is on the most trivial thing possible, like coming to work 1 second "late" or something. My last employer was the same. They have to justify their behaviour, all that suspension stuff, so therefore you must be guilty.

If you aren't guilty, then they are. Therefore you are guilty. sad

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