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Can I 'change my story' in disciplinary interview?

(17 Posts)
Bouncybear Sat 24-May-14 16:05:23


I am in some trouble at work.

I am currently being investigated for misconduct regarding an incident with a customer. The allegation is a bit 'he said/ she said'.

I gave a statement on the day of what happened and thought this was fine.

My disciplinary interview is coming up and I have been given all the evidence from the investigation.

I think what I say in my original statement can be used against me, as the complainant is arguing about things I say did happen that are in my statement. They are arguing that what I did was wrong, and at the time I honestly thought I was in the right. However, I have reviewed the procedure and it looks like what I did could be construed as not following procedure.

My friend suggested that I change my story in the interview as it is 'he said/ she said' and it is in the employer's interest to protect me as it in turn protects their business. So, for instance, if I say, yes that did happen (as it is already in my statement) and then add something extra that is not corroborated by my first statement, like, 'BUT then I said xyz and then it was all fine with the customer'. Can I get away with this? I know it is controversial, but my job and reputation is at stake and I want to save it. Unfortunately I am not in a union.

My friend said that people often change their stories in the disciplinary interview, once they have seen the evidence and can make up a story that fits, and they say things that are not supported by evidence from the investigation and they can sometimes get away with it as the interview is my opportunity to defend myself and give my side of the story. Is this right?

fascicle Sat 24-May-14 16:50:24

So you are thinking about adding extra details that aren't true? Disciplinary decisions are made on 'balance of probabilities' rather than 'beyond reasonable doubt', so if there isn't much hard evidence, the credibility of an employee's story will be important. If what you say does not hang together well, this may well count against you. So adding fictional details (if I've understood correctly) is not a good idea. Better to explain that you believed you were following procedure but have subsequently questioned this.

How serious is the allegation? Do you have an idea of the possible outcome, if disciplinary action were to be taken against you?

Unexpected Sat 24-May-14 17:18:29

Do NOT lie. Contrary to what you seem to think at the moment, it is not in an employer's interests to protect you if you are at fault. It will not protect their business if they appear to be covering up for you and depending on the circumstances is probably better for their reputation to admit to the error and be seen to have taken disciplinary action against you, as the individual at fault.

If you genuinely believed at the time that what you were doing was correct and it is a matter of interpretation as to whether it is right or not, then just stick to the facts. If you believed it was right but now know that you should have done/said something else, then admit that you have since accepted that your actions were unknowingly incorrect (or were correct but could be interpreted as incorrect - it's difficult to comment accurately on the few details you have given here).

On the balance of "he said/she said" surely the customer has less to lose by lying and wouldn't have raised a complaint if they didn't feel genuinely aggrieved? You, on the other hand, are worried you may lose your job so have every reason to lie.

lougle Sat 24-May-14 17:36:55

If it comes down to a balance of probability, the liklihood is that the main question will be 'is this employee likely to harm or business by doing similar again?'

If I was the employer and I had two employees, one who admitted their error and showed that having carefully reflected they would not make the same error again, the other who tried to avoid the error and fabricate a cover, I know which one would be getting a second chance.

Tell the truth. Tell them that you realise your error and have learned from it.

Bouncybear Sat 24-May-14 18:08:28

Ok thanks. The allegation is quite serious as the customer suffered an injury and thinks I contributed to it - I just thought my employer may not want to payout compensation so would defend the case.

The possible outcome is misconduct or written warning. It just looks bad on my file and I don't want my employer to be annoyed with me if they have to payout compensation.

LynetteScavo Sat 24-May-14 18:31:12

Your employer will have insurance to cover the payout. If you lie at all you are highly likely to lose your job. Just be honest.

Framboisier Sat 24-May-14 18:46:34

Do not lie.
When the lie is found out, it will only compound the initial misdemeanour...there will be a multiplying effect and you will definitely be worse off for it.

Accept that, in hindsight, you can see the way you handled things was not the best - this may mitigate the situation slightly and gives your employer the opportunity to err on the side of the lesser punishment.

Lie, and they will really have no choice.

Bouncybear Sun 25-May-14 10:10:48

Just to be devil's advocate - how will can they prove that I lied? It's just my word against theirs.

Eminybob Sun 25-May-14 10:27:22

Seriously? Maybe they won't find out but morally it's wrong.

If what you did was a genuine error, apologise and explain this.

If you did something wrong, you need to accept this, and the consequences.

Sorry to sound harsh, but I think you would be heading down a very rocky slope if you start lying during a disciplinary. Plus the reputational damage you could do to the company when the customer tells all and sundry that you lied and your company defended you.

LeBearPolar Sun 25-May-14 10:30:59

Maybe they can't prove that you lied. So if that's all that bothering you and not the fact that you're lying about something to get yourself off the hook, then I don't think you really need our input. It's not as if you seem to have any moral qualms about any of this hmm

Floralnomad Sun 25-May-14 10:33:01

If you gave the original statement at the time of the incident it's fairly unlikely that days or weeks later you will have remembered more of the conversation than you remembered at the time ,hence it will be obvious that you are now saying what you think people will expect to hear IYSWIM. Do not lie .

ClashCityRocker Sun 25-May-14 10:36:27

It will be blatantly obvious you lied because you will be saying something different from your original statement.

They will have seen this time and again, and even adding truthful details after the statement looks dodgy.

scarlettsmummy2 Sun 25-May-14 10:37:18

Don't be so stupid as to lie. What happens if you are asked to give evidence in court if the customer takes it all the way? Do you want to lie under cross examination too?

ClashCityRocker Sun 25-May-14 10:39:37

Don't listen to your friend either.

It isn't her arse on the line.

Were you unaware of the correct procedure? If so, this points to a training deficit which is the firms responsibility. If something like this comes up at my work, it tends to result in staff retraining (usually for all staff) rather than disciplinary procedures.

Primadonnagirl Sun 25-May-14 10:41:41

But you will know you lied..can you live with that?!

JaneParker Sun 25-May-14 10:50:55

You probably did not know the correct procedure at the time so not your fault you did not follow it.

Secondly do not lie.

Thirdly if the new evidence covers things not dealt with in your statement then it IS a good idea to make a supplementary statement on the new issues (but not contradicting the old).

Bouncybear Sun 25-May-14 10:56:00

True. I could not live with lying. And certainly could not be cross examined over a lie in court. Thanks.

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