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employment and dismissal

(15 Posts)
MamaDuckling Thu 11-Feb-16 14:42:04

Can anyone offer some advice?

Three weeks ago a family member was suspended from their job, of which they are a director in the company, with no prior written or verbal warning of disciplinary action against them. It seems based largely on personality clashes and internal politics. My relative has been employed there for three years, and volunteered there for many years prior to his formal employment.

It is a small, not for profit company. There are five directors, one of whom acts as chairman. This decision was made by the chair, without the approval or even knowledge of the entire board of directors. There is no HR team or representative. As office manager, my relative would have overseen HR issues.

In a nutshell, my relative has today been informed in writing that they are being dismissed for gross misconduct (I don't yet know the reasons). He has dedicated his life to this organisation and can't believe the treatment he is receiving.

Can anyone offer advice on whether this is legal? He can't afford a lawyer. Would CAB be able to help?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Thu 11-Feb-16 14:48:19

If he's been employed there for three consecutive years, that's good.

His next steps will boil down to whether he did do whatever he's been accused of, and if it is infact gross misconduct. Most companies will dismiss for gross misconduct, even if no prior warnings have been received.

CAB can be okay, as can ACAS, and there are good employment lawyers here. Nobody can advise further without knowing if he did what he's been accused of, though.

Did he go to an investigatory meeting and see the evidence against him?

MamaDuckling Thu 11-Feb-16 15:35:27

No he's only just seen what he's been accused of today. Until now he had just one meeting at which he was told he was being dismissed (and given the option of two months pay to go quietly). Gross misconduct wasn't mentioned...

He subsequently told them he was seeking legal advice and they have now come back with this.

I'll update a bit later when I know what they are claiming gross misconduct over

logfiresspit Thu 11-Feb-16 17:11:31

ACAS are great - really helpful and very knowledgeable.

prh47bridge Thu 11-Feb-16 22:21:35

If he was not told the nature of any accusations and given a chance to defend himself this is likely to be unfair dismissal. Employers must use a fair and consistent procedure when dismissing employees. If this goes to Tribunal they can adjust any award upwards by up to 25% if the employer has unreasonably failed to comply with any provision of the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. Amongst other things this requires that:

- the employer should conduct a proper investigation to establish the facts
- the employee should be notified of the allegations in writing
- the employee should be able to present their case to a disciplinary meeting
- the employee has the right to be accompanied to the disciplinary meeting
- no decision should be taken until after the meeting
- the employee should have a right to appeal

From the information you have posted it sounds like there may have been multiple breaches of the Code.

MamaDuckling Fri 12-Feb-16 12:22:29

Thanks everyone.

An update:

It appears there is no single accusation of misconduct, rather a list of trivial 'behaviours' that have upset stakeholders and other directors. The list is long and has only jaunt been provided to him.

He has been invited to a 'hearing' on Monday where he will have chance to defend himself but will ultimately be officially dismissed.

He has been offered 2 months salary plus his outstanding holiday pay.

He has also been informed that his direct report will be present at the hearing to take notes - surely this is inappropriate? The same person was indeed present taking notes at the time of his initial 'dismissal'.

He is inclined to take their offer and walk away. As its not for profit company he doesn't think it's worth taking them to a tribunal. He needs to focus his emerging finding alternative employment, not a legal battle.

What would you do?

MamaDuckling Fri 12-Feb-16 12:23:36

* only just

* focus his energy

DoreenLethal Fri 12-Feb-16 12:32:10

If there is no record of him being informed about any of these, and no proper investigation then he needs to let them dismiss him, appeal and once he has gone through the process, he could take it to an employment tribunal.

What has he actually done or who did he really piss off?

MamaDuckling Fri 12-Feb-16 12:56:46

He's pissed off his chairman (also a Director), and some of the organisations funders. He is marmite - some people like his outspoken approach and others clearly don't.

MamaDuckling Fri 12-Feb-16 12:57:22

And no, he was t informed at the time... The incidences are only being raised as grievances now...

Chippednailvarnish Fri 12-Feb-16 12:59:44

He needs to call ACAS, as people have already said.

Zazedonia Fri 12-Feb-16 13:01:10

It's possible that the company will argue that the initial meeting with him was a "protected conversation" - a discussion about the termination of someone's employment, which that person is not later allowed to mention in an employment tribunal.
He should get some legal advice - can he really not afford one hour of a (specialist) solicitor's time? I would really recommend investing that small amount of money.

Chippednailvarnish Fri 12-Feb-16 13:01:56

He needs to consider his reference as well.

prh47bridge Fri 12-Feb-16 14:29:37

A conversation is only protected if it is a pre-termination negotiation. If there was a conversation to try and negotiate a settlement that may be protected. If they simply told him he was being dismissed that is not a protected conversation. If he has been told before the hearing that he will be dismissed that is clearly unfair. If he has been told he may be dismissed depending on the outcome of the hearing that is another matter.

Zazedonia Mon 15-Feb-16 12:28:34

What the OP has written suggests to me that the company MAY have held a pre-termination protected conversation, in which case her relative will not be able to mention what was said if he is dismissed and it goes to tribunal. She posted:

"Until now he had just one meeting at which he was told he was being dismissed (and given the option of two months pay to go quietly)."

He was seemingly not dismissed at that time, as they are now going through a procedure with him.

This just illustrates how important it is to spend a bit of money on getting proper professional advice from someone who can have a sit down discussion with the actual employee, look at the relevant documents, etc. This is one of those times when you spend the emergency money that you have set aside for this kind of thing.

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