Help! Disciplinary meeting tomorrow and anomaly scan

(49 Posts)
Barahmen Thu 23-May-13 13:47:55

I've namechanged as I'm thoroughly ashamed. I'm asking for genuine help to deal with my situation.

I am currently 21 weeks pregnant. The company I work for don't have a HR department due to cost cutting, so the GM is acting on their behalf.

I was suspended yesterday pending investigation for gross misconduct.
The investigation has nothing to do with my pregnancy.
My anomaly scan is due tomorrow on the day of the disciplinary meeting. I'm stressed as it is, I can't eat, I can't sleep.

What will happen if I don't attend this meeting? I really don't think I can.

Barahmen Thu 23-May-13 14:14:23


thekingfisher Thu 23-May-13 14:19:12

They should give you reasonable notice of the investigation meeting ( which is what this is) together with whatever evidence they have of your gross- misconduct.
As you have a pregnancy related ante-natal appt you need to ask them to re-arrange the meeting which is your right and suggest a date which would be appropriate.

When did you get notice of the meeting?

Pancakeflipper Thu 23-May-13 14:20:31

You have to contact the people organising the meeting and inform them that you cannot make it and why. They can reorganise it.

Poor you. Hope the scan goes well.

ExBrightonBell Thu 23-May-13 14:22:12

You do have a legal right for time off to attend antenatal appointments. I would tell your GM as soon as possible and get the disciplinary meeting rearranged. There is not really another option.

Barahmen Thu 23-May-13 14:36:36

Thank you all for your responses.

I received notice of this meeting only yesterday. I thought it was a legal requirement but due to the circumstances i thought those might be overwritten.

BriansBrain Thu 23-May-13 23:13:19

Can you go to the meeting and make it to the scan?

Did you advise the company that you have a scan booked when the appointment was made, provide them with a copy of your appointment card for your file?

Is an investigatory meeting, a fact finding meeting which you can ask to be rescheduled if appropriate.

OverAndAbove Fri 24-May-13 06:20:41

Had you informed them tat you needed time off a that time or your scan appointment? You should be able to ask for a deferral, but it might be tricky if you hadn't notified them already.

Hope the scan goes well!

aftermay Fri 24-May-13 06:27:04

Good luck with the scan. Ask for the meeting to be re-scheduled, perhaps so you have time to put your thoughts together and build your case or have time to ask fir advice or ask someone to come along (union rep etc). Gross misconduct or not, you have a right to be treated with respect. Godd luck.

flowery Fri 24-May-13 20:26:54

You should have immediately told them you couldn't make the meeting because of your scan and they would have rearranged. I'm sure they still will but don't leave it any longer.

flowery Fri 24-May-13 20:28:05

Just realised I'm way too late!

toomuch2young Fri 24-May-13 20:29:37

I hope today went as well as it could for you.
What a worrying time.

Roshbegosh Fri 24-May-13 20:31:12

hope the scan was ok
Gross misconduct means normal rules don't apply doesn't it? Hope the OP follows up.

Queenofknickers Fri 24-May-13 20:36:14

That doesn't sound right to me - if what is alleged against you is serious enough to be gross misconduct then I am doubtful it can be reasonably and properly investigated in one day! Did they hold the meeting?

BriansBrain Fri 24-May-13 21:01:33

Queen it would be the first of two meetings, this one being an investigatory/fact finding meeting and then an outcome meeting on a different day (I think it may be within 5 days but could be wrong)

How did it go Barah?

Barahmen Fri 24-May-13 21:51:37

I didn't go. I rescheduled. I didn't think it was fair of them to give me a days notice and the fact I told them that I was due to have the scan today. (I'd given notice of the scan 2 weeks before) they tried to tell me to come in when I rescheduled but I didn't have childcare at the time.

The meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday.
It is highly likely I will be dismissed for gross misconduct. This means I won't receive smp. I'll have to claim benefit (though I don't know if I can after gross misconduct) sad
If there was any other choice!

I have worked for the company for 12 years.
There has been a change in management and a mass dismissal of staff atm.

BriansBrain Fri 24-May-13 22:11:31

Have they told you it's gross misconduct ie a paragraph in your invite letter advising you? Have you looked at your company handbooks?

Do you think or realise they are right or do you think you may be able to give enough evidence to prove other wise?

At least you now have time to prepare.

How did the scan go smile

Barahmen Fri 24-May-13 22:43:34

The scan went well thank you Brian

I received the letter today. I don't have enough evidence to prove otherwise.

I can only place blame. Which I shan't. I'll just have to face the music.

All is not lost though. A member of management (that is currently being threatened) has offered to find me a job. However as I'm visibly pregnant and I need to be on my feet for long hours for this type of work. I have more chance of winning the lottery.

aftermay Sat 25-May-13 10:15:16

I'm glad to hear your scan went well.

I'm sorry about the dismissal as I imagine you hadn't set out to make whatever colossal mistake it was.

Good luck on Wednesday. You don't have be noble and not blame a colleague if it was someone else's fault. Just do what you can and still live with yourself and keep your self-respect.

Good luck with the job hunting.

flowery Sat 25-May-13 16:28:56

You don't have to prove otherwise. Its all about balance of probability and reasonable actions by your employer.

And if there is blame to be placed that would save your job at a time when you really need it, then you should consider doing that.

BriansBrain Sat 25-May-13 21:19:17

The first meeting is there for you to provide facts on events that may be a factor into why you are being investigated, try not to see it as blame or needing to provide complete evidence.

Examples of situations for them to investigate would work better, don't see it as blame, it's not personal.

NomDeClavier Sat 25-May-13 21:27:56

Are you in a union? You need to get them involved if you are.

If you're not then I'd co sider talking to a lawyer and at least take a friend with you to the meeting.

Barahmen Sun 26-May-13 15:15:30

It really is fine. I would have had to become a sahm anyway as the cost of childcare would far out weigh my wages. Plus the hours I work are anti social. Dh works ridiculous hours with only 1 day a week off.

I've been offered work at my friends business (she is the owner) But it would be difficult.
The plan was to retrain all along.

Just wondering how it will affect in the long term.

NomDeClavier Sun 26-May-13 17:00:31

That is what a union can help you negotiate. Or you can go in prepared to bargain about with someone to support you.

Dismissal for gross misconduct will stay on your record. It'll be difficult to get a reference from your previous company and if you wanted to retrain in anything like law, teaching, nursing/midwifery/medicine then it won't look good, depending of course on what the details of it are (which you absolutely shouldn't share on here).

Hawkmoth Sun 26-May-13 17:20:29

Agree you should try for a compromise. And if anyone can help you out with a few more weeks work so you qualify for maternity allowance that's an option to look at. It works out at not much less than SMP.

Hawkmoth Sun 26-May-13 17:21:45

Compromise agreement.

nextphase Sun 26-May-13 17:54:19

I can't help with the main problem - you've already got some very knowledgable people about, but if it helps a little, you may still qualify for maternity allowance. It actually says you may be able to claim if you've recently stopped working. If you've worked for the same company for 12 years, you should meet the 26/66 weeks worked

Barahmen Sun 26-May-13 18:24:10

Yes, I definitely qualify for ma.

The problem is I know my employers are ruthless. They don't care about their staff, not those with families not those employed from the beginning. They replaced the md with someone who is on par with the coalition govt. It's all about profit and maximising it.
They have already skimmed off the highest paid employees.

I can only hope for comprimise but am not counting on it.

NomDeClavier Sun 26-May-13 18:46:18

Is there potentially an unfair dismissal case here? Is what you've allegedly done usual treated as gross misconduct? Does it say so in your contract? Could your pregnancy have a bearing on their decision to investigate?

What they're doing seems grossly unfair and I wonder if they're pushing the boundaries a bit to get rid of you.

Barahmen Sun 26-May-13 18:59:38

Definitely nothing to do with my pregnancy.

However I do believe they tried to schedule the meetings so I wouldn't get paid whilst on suspension. I believe they just wanted rid of me.
I have no proof of that either, but the fact that they only gave me a days notice and that wasn't even enough time to recieve the letter of notification or prepare. sad

Virgil Mon 27-May-13 22:09:00

They can't fairly dismiss you on Wednesday unless you have less than two years' service (or less than a year in some situations) in which case it still wouldn't be a fair dismissal but you are unlikely to be able to bring a claim of unfair dismissal. If they have told you that this is an investigatory meeting then the purpose of the meeting is to establish facts so that they can then decide whether to commence disciplinary proceedings. If they decide to commence disciplinary proceedings you are entitled to sufficient notice to prepare plus written notice of the allegations and sight of all the evidence they will be relying upon. In all likelihood you therefore have at least another week.

If the allegations against you amount to gross misconduct then they might dismiss you without notice but if its just misconduct then you will be entitled to notice.

You sound resigned to the fact that you're going?

Barahmen Tue 28-May-13 00:53:00

Thanks for that Virgil I wasn't aware of the misconduct and gross misconduct notice. That is interesting.

Yes, I am resigned to the fact that I'm going. Tbh I would rather go. I've been put in a position where I'd be forced to work along side the GM and the MD. I'd find that very difficult after allegations even though it would only be for a couple of months.

If there isn't enough evidence to support dismissal I will resign. It isn't worth the stress this is causing me and my unborn. (I am a natural depressive by nature)

This has coincided with the company having to find me a different role to my normal work after a risk assessment. I guess I could claim unfair dismissal at a pinch. Perhaps?
Unfortunately I'm not a member of a union.
I contemplated joining one but it might be too late.

Dh is happy to have me at home and I can spend more time with DD before she starts school.

Virgil Tue 28-May-13 11:43:27

Don't resign, ask to speak with them about a compromise agreement. they may be willing to make a payment to you in return for you going. you might as well get something out of it, particularly with your baby on the way.

adagio Tue 28-May-13 12:15:16

SMP applies if they employ you @ 15 weeks before EWC - i.e. when you are 25 weeks pregnant. Thats only four weeks away…

I am not sure what your notice period is, but be mindful that if they want rid of you you hold the cards, and they are unlikely to be clearly aware of the detail behind maternity dates/pay, unless you draw their attention to it.

I would strongly recommend you offer (well, push as hard as you can) to work your notice period, or just long enough to get to the 25 weeks point and if they don't want to let you they put you on Gardening Leave for the period.

You could always use the pregnancy here and point out you will clearly be unable to find a new role this side of baby arrival and question their timing of the process - for example, the law states reasonable notice for a disciplinary investigation, 24 hours is not reasonable (48 hours is generally accepted).

If you need to go down this route then set your 'concerns' out in writing. Most employment tribunals are apparently won or lost on process and procedure details (not whether or not it was truly unfair or not) so they might be scared into just paying you off.

If you accept PILON (Pay in Lieu of Notice) then I suspect you might lose the SMP as your 'end date' would be (now) rather than (@ 25 weeks preg), so if this is offered please try and 'take it away to think about' and get some proper advice.

I would suggest advice from legal or ACAS/CAB

Disclaimer! I am not qualified these comments are just my thoughts/understanding

Barahmen Tue 28-May-13 21:16:12

I believe that this has been brought about because they don't want to pay me for maternity leave and accrued holiday.

They are trying to do everything in order not to unessasarily pay.

Since the start of the shake up it has been made clear that this is all about money. They've taken in legal ways from the staff. Ie cutting breaks to bare minimum and charging staff for "perks".

Oh well! Wish me luck for tomorrow. I'll let you know what my fate is.

aftermay Tue 28-May-13 21:23:54

Good luck tomorrow.

nextphase Tue 28-May-13 21:40:32

Good Luck tomorrow!
Fingers crossed you get to a satisfactory solution.

BriansBrain Tue 28-May-13 21:59:50

Wishing you lts of luck, you have had some great advice, stay strong!

Barahmen Tue 28-May-13 22:54:47

Thank you for your support everyone.

adagio Wed 29-May-13 06:41:26

Good Luck flowers

Barahmen Wed 29-May-13 10:18:22

Meeting lasted only 5 minutes.

I was informed that I could bring another member of staff or union rep to the next meeting. I had nothing to say. I await another week.

I wish I could just be put out of this misery. Why prolong? I understand procedure but this?

They could just dismiss without notice.

flowery Wed 29-May-13 10:28:00

As you are pregnant it would be incredibly risky of them to dismiss without notice and without following a proper procedure, so even though they could do it, that's probably why they aren't.

aftermay Wed 29-May-13 14:36:43

Good luck next week. It'll be over soon.

ZolaBuddleia Wed 29-May-13 14:46:03

Gosh, how stressful. Surely in terms of future employment it's worth fighting any attempt to dismiss you?

Virgil Wed 29-May-13 17:28:07

If you believe that they would have grounds to dismiss you then why don't you approach them and ask for a compromise agreement? Its got to be worth a go and they can only say no.

Barahmen Thu 06-Jun-13 11:17:50

Just an update.

I received a call on Tuesday. They said I'd missed that mornings hearing as I hadn't picked up my mail from the depot which arrived on Friday.
I was just leaving to pick it up.

Another letter was sent out and arrived yesterday informing me that I now have a meeting rescheduled for this Friday.

I'm scared, I really don't want to go to this hearing. But I know I must. I don't have anyone to bring with me. I know I just won't talk.

The hearing is taking place at another department by a manager I'm not familiar with.

I just want this over with now.

adagio Sat 08-Jun-13 17:46:03

Oh dear :-(

Just seen this, I really hope it was OK - a different manager is good it means impartial view rather than foregone conclusion.

On a brighter note, if this tails on much longer you will get to the magic 25 weeks mark which will give you SMP rights, plus its much easier to explain a CV gap with maternity as an explanation.


Barahmen Mon 10-Jun-13 15:49:20


I was dismissed for gross misconduct on Friday.
I knew that they would find a way of not paying for SMP.
I haven't been paid whilst on suspension so i'm not surprised.

It's a huge relief TBH as I'm now suffering from SPD.

Thank you all for your support.


BriansBrain Mon 10-Jun-13 18:18:07

Oh I am sorry sad

Do you believe they have a strong case against you? It sounds very unfair especially if you could prove it has all been about not paying smp.

SPD is a fucker too, I hope you have lots of RL help x

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