Dismissal Advice needed(16 Posts)
A friend of mine was dismissed from her job yesterday for something absolutely ridiculous. She is going to appeal this but was wondering if anyone can answer this question.
She was suspended and told to come in for disciplinary meeting. Before meeting the person holding the meeting contacted her and arranged to meet for coffee before hand to "pre warn" her about what the outcome would be.
Is this allowed and acceptable? If not as I am sure it isn't and I am sure I have read it somewhere, does anyone know a link I can give her to use?
How long had she worked there? Did the reason constitute gross misconduct?
Unfortunately if she has been there under 2 years, she can be dismissed for very little unless she feels there has been discrimination.
I thought it was the done thing in order to give people the heads up as to the seriousness of the situation. It gives her an opportunity to get Union involved if appropriate etc. but if she's been there <2 yrs she can be fired just because so long as not discriminatory.
What did she do? You may think it silly but it could constitute gross misconduct
Where I work, you'd probably be given an unofficial heads up if the offence was likely to resort in sacking. That's because they like to negotiate leaves, and if you were sacked in this industry, you'd probably not find another relevant job. It means the person goes into the disciplinary ready to be negotiating a reference and an exit, rather than trying to defend what they did, and preparing to "fight" for a job that they have no real chance of keeping.
You could look at the disciplinary process to see if they followed it correctly, and if she tells the panel that she was given a heads up, the person who gave her a heads up may be investigated if the company don't condone this. I don't think it would be grounds for appealing the dismissal though.
I'm guessing it was a gross misconduct issue that she has been dismissed for? Did she take advice from ACAS/her union before the investigative meeting?
she had been with the company well over 5 years so. She was waiting for her work to print off and played an online game, something that people have been doing for years!
Unfortunately even though she was waiting for work to print off if there is a company policy of no online games then she shouldn't of been playing. It's completely irrelevant that people have been doing this for years, she got caught, they haven't!
Has anyone else been disciplined for online gaming and if so what was the outcome? Is this a new policy and if so had the company drawn attention to it? If it was a long standing policy they'd turned a blind eye to had they made employees aware they were tightening up on it? Was she gaming or gambling?
All of these may be relevant considerations if she wants to appeal or take them to a tribunal.
And in answer to your question they are not supposed to indicate any element of pre-judgement before they've held the disciplinary meeting and taken any mitigating circumstances into account so the coffee wasn't a good idea on their part. The person doing that could be open to disciplinary action themselves and it wouldn't look good in a tribunal.
most definitely an online game. Nobody has ever been sanctioned or faced any disciplinary action regarding this before. As far as I am aware it wasn't actually a policy, an email was sent round saying that they could not do it anymore and that was that.
Thanks for the advice about the coffee. What about one of the managers involved in the hearing telling another staff member that she was being sacked the day before and an email being sent by the person who was told to his other team members telling them this? I can only imagine that is a no-no!
Was she gaming before or after the email was sent?
If it was after then unfortunately she was playing with fire continuing to do it. I'd guess the dismissal was for gross misconduct along the lines of theft of company time or resources.
The manager flapping his gums was completely out of order. Any disciplinary matter is and should remain confidential and again they shouldn't have been seen pre-judging the outcome. Has she got a copy of their disciplinary policy? This should have been provided to her when she was suspended. She needs to check they've followed it to the letter.
There is a problem with employees playing online games when they are paid to be working. An email is sent specifically warning employees it was not allowed. Your friend
obviously thought that email excluded her ignored and she was the one that got caught. Not ridiculous, gross misconduct and a sackable offence.
What exactly did the manager say, did they say it had already been decided she was definitely being sacked before the meeting (not ok) or did they say she could be sacked for gross misconduct (ok). Would be hard to prove at a tribunal that they actually said the former.
Manager actually said she was being sacked, the manager is not a very popular person so she could well have a few witnesses. This was also sent out to others via email.
I have seen what she was provided when she was suspended and it was simply a letter saying that she had "ignored a reasonable managers request" and was to attend a meeting at such and such time the next day. Nothing else was provided to her. She is still waiting for all the paperwork to come through confirming dismissal etc which she was told she would get.
From what I can find when researching these matters, it appears the email that was sent out after her suspension was to give others a warning that what she did was now unacceptable and what the possible outcomes could be and in fairness to all everyone should have been sent this email as soon as management decided that this was the path they would be taking. If that is the case surely she should have had this opportunity?
I am not saying that she was right in her behaviour but she has had 5+ exemplary years of service feels harsh.
If she was caught playing online games when paid to be working it is gross misconduct.
Everyone knows that leaving work early, arriving late, not working when paid, stealing from office supplies, putting in false overtime etc etc etc is wrong but are still surprised when they get caught.
I have seen, several times, employers sending an email reiterating an action is gross misconduct, after an employee has been suspended/sacked for that action. There is nothing wrong with them doing that.
Can she can prove playing games when paid to work was common practice approved or accepted by management (not just everyone else did it too)?
The "coffee" before the meeting warning her of the outcome is not ok and would be in blatant breach of the ACAS code UNLESS it was done on a Without Prejudice basis to try and achieve a settlement.
The point of the disciplinary meeting is for the Company to put the allegations to the employee and the employee to explain their actions including any mitigating factors. No decision should have been made by the Company before the meeting or it would not be able to say that a fair procedure was followed. If it pre-determined then the dismissal would be procedurally unfair.
In relation to the actual offence, if there was no policy or company rule in place at the time which forbid employees from online gaming in these circumstances, then it would be difficult to be able to rely on this as a fair reason for dismissal.
She should definitely appeal.
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