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Misinterpreting emails

(43 Posts)
Sazzle41 Fri 31-Jul-15 16:40:14

My poor colleage got something approved in writing with the words, 'in this instance'. Actual words. Everyone concerned took that to mean for him, it was ok , both now for that stuffand going forward for more stuff. But: The person who said those words says now it meant for one time only, not going forward and financially there have been costs. They are now looking at taking action against my friend. Where does she stand legally, anyone know? She is on a fixed term contract ending in Oct. She is worried sick.

SunnySomer Fri 31-Jul-15 16:45:11

Not a lawyer, so couldn't say about your friend's legal position, but I would understand "in this instance" to mean "on this one occasion only". Sorry.

ACSlater Fri 31-Jul-15 16:47:48

It's a bit difficult to say without knowing exactly what happened.

I agree with, in this instance, meaning one time only.

PresidentTwonk Fri 31-Jul-15 16:48:45

I agree with Sunny, to me 'in this instance' means 'yes you can this once because you have mitigating circumstances/good reasons for me t change how things are done'

Preminstreltension Fri 31-Jul-15 16:48:54

It definitively means just this one time not generally. Not sure how everyone in this scenario has taken it to mean the exact opposite of what it actually means.

CrumbsThatsQuick Fri 31-Jul-15 16:49:01

In this instance could also mean "in cases like these"....imo.

RepeatAdNauseum Fri 31-Jul-15 16:50:29

In this instance would usually mean on this occasion only. This one instance has been approved, that is all.

It would be very unusual to construe that to mean that she has authorisation going forward too - that would be expressed with; "In your case", or similar, I'd expect?

But it's probably going to hinge on if there is anything else in the approval that makes it reasonable for your friend to believe that it applied to future instances too.

ProjectPerfect Fri 31-Jul-15 16:50:32

"In this instance means

ProjectPerfect Fri 31-Jul-15 16:52:06

"In this instance" quite clearly means on this specific occasion.

You say there have been financial costs incurred as a result for to the misinterpretation - were there not controls in place that flagged those costs at the time?

thatstoast Fri 31-Jul-15 16:52:39

Yes, only once. I'm failing to see what else it would mean?

CrumbsThatsQuick Fri 31-Jul-15 16:57:03

Just an example.....If an expenses claim has been submitted without signature but with verbal confirmation from a line manager, in this instance the claim can be approved.

In this instance means at times like these....imo, so applying now and going forward.....

Thurlow Fri 31-Jul-15 16:57:38

I would certainly have taken "in this instance" to mean "this time". If I needed to do that thing again, I would have clarified if it could be done again.

The definition of 'instance' is - an example or single occurrence of something.

CrumbsThatsQuick Fri 31-Jul-15 17:00:19

I think it can also mean....in these specific set of circumstances (whenever they happen) but maybe that's just me!

ProjectPerfect Fri 31-Jul-15 17:02:44

Crumbs - I think it's just you. Sorry!

RepeatAdNauseum Fri 31-Jul-15 17:10:33

Crumbs - If I had expenses approved with "In this instance", I'd presume that they weren't going to pay for the same thing again - it was a one-off approval.

CandOdad Fri 31-Jul-15 17:11:44

I can see it as meaning "for the duration of this situation/project"

As in "in this instance the process will have to change, however for all other projects it will be as standard"

Shakey1500 Fri 31-Jul-15 17:20:22

I think it can mean both. Rather depends on the circumstances regarding the initial ask. Could you give us a fictional example that's close to the original?

AliceAlice1979 Fri 31-Jul-15 17:30:09

Context is key here! But without any further details /clarification in this instance should mean both for this circumstances and at this time only.

Sazzle41 Fri 31-Jul-15 18:15:56

My friend regularly needs to purchase stuff for her role but cant usually have the more expensive which isnt always the best for her role. The email titled with the stuff she was wanting to purchase that month which she said worked better re her role's needs, said 'Hi can my permissions file be changed so i can buy the more expensive stuff'.

The reply copying Finance mgr was 'in this instance'. Finance took this to mean change profile permanently and did so on logic of dont normally change permissions profiles back and forth apparently. So friend got stuff more expensive every time. Losses have been incurred and now they are trawling her expenses looking for dirt and meeting company lawyer.

GraysAnalogy Fri 31-Jul-15 18:17:58

I don't understand how anyone can get confused with 'in this instance'.It clearly means yes but only this time.

Preminstreltension Fri 31-Jul-15 18:20:30

I think she's on thin ice tbh. Was there anything different about this instance to the previous circs that meant they were willing to pay more for the supplies?

GraysAnalogy Fri 31-Jul-15 18:25:41

I also think the finance changing the profile is irrelevant really. Just because her profile allowed her to do it, doesn't mean she should have when she was told 'in this instance' only.

However, I think they're treating her badly taking it so seriously. She made a stupid mistake, but it doesn't warrant what they're doing IMO. If she has used them for her role, then its not like she wanted to rip the company off

Sazzle41 Fri 31-Jul-15 18:26:37

Perm employees in same job are allowed to buy the more expensive stuff - I am not sure why a one off was approved as i dont get the technical side of what she does to be honest.

lougle Fri 31-Jul-15 18:28:02

Tricky. I was going to say 'of course it meant only that time!' but having read your further posts I think it depends on how the initial request was worded.

If the request was giving a specific scenario as justification, then 'instance' meant for that scenario only.

If, however, it was giving a general justification on the grounds that x is a better product, then instance means for that item (which may be ongoing).

Bubblesinthesummer Fri 31-Jul-15 18:28:29

I think she is clutching straws tbh. Sorry.

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