Testifying at an employment tribunal.(5 Posts)
A former member of my time has been sacked, after a lengthy process, for gross misconduct. The sacking happened after I had moved on, but I gave evidence. The case was compelling and there were a large number of witnesses.
I have just been told that he appealed and the case review by an independent reviewer is close to being completed. My former employer anticipates the former employee's next move being seeking a tribunal.
All the right procedures have been followed, and the gross misconduct was pretty awful. However, the employee is a narcisist/ fantasists; I know he will have another version of events and will try and take as many people down with him. For clarity - I am not aware of any wrong doing. But that doesn't mean he won't try.
I will be called to testify. I wondered if anyone has any experience of this - what happens? Will I be 'defending myself' against his counter claims? Do I need, particularly since I have moved on to another role, to protect myself?
Thank you for any thoughts, if you have got this far!
You will probably find that your employer is very supportive. Realistically in a gross misconduct situation, the respondents witnesses will be the investigating manager, the person who chaired the disciplinary hearing and the person who chaired the appeal.
The tribunal is only concerned with whether the employer had a genuine and reasonable belief in the guilt of the claimant - not whether they actually did what they're accused of. You've already provided your evidence to that effect. So, as a witness to the investigation, it's highly unlikely you'll be needed in a tribunal (unless a discrimination allegation is made against you).
The employee can't "counter claim" against you and tribunals don't care about mud slinging - he either committed gross misconduct or he didn't - most of the time any outside allegations without fruition are ancillary and tribunals are good at seeing through them.
The only claim he can bring against you is a discrimination claim (which must be on the grounds of a protected characteristic - age, sex, race, disability, marital status, religion or belief or sexual orientation being the most likely to apply). If he can't formulate that type of claim then don't worry.
As a final point - if he does start dragging outside factors into it then I would hope your employer/their solicitor would deal with it appropriately (cost warning, strike out application, deposit orders, etc).
Please don't worry.
Just to edit - that should really read that tribunals are concerned with whether the employer believed he committed gross misconduct or not (they can't substitute their view for what they think he did or didn't do). So he could have been bullied for two years, but if he stole from work, he's still guilty of gross misconduct so none of the background stuff matters. (Although it's not as black and white as that!)
That is such a thoughtful and clear message. Thank you very much for the reassurance. I will sleep better tonight for it.
Good stuff. Feel free to give me a shout if you're still worried!
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