Asking for a friend..(10 Posts)
Employee turns up for work, calls employer & states the item for the job isn't there, employer says fine you can't do the job then, go home. The next day the client calls employer to say employee was drunk/hungover & states that employee took/hide missing item so the job couldn't be done. Employee not contactable for the week. What would you do?
If employer's claim is true, then employee is probably looking at gross misconduct.
Going incommunicado is not a sensible thing to do
Suspend the employee on pay pending investigation. This shouldn't take long.
The employer is entitled to hold a disciplinary hearing if the allegations warrant it based on the disciplinary policy of the company. If the employee was not sick, they should have reported for work. The company (not the person likely to do the disciplinary interview) should investigate what the client says and make sure what has been said is plausible and likely to be true. It has also brought the company into disrepute and was bad for business if true.
After the investigation, they should then write to the employee and ask them to come into a formal meeting to discuss being hung over/drunk, not being contactable and the allegation of hiding the tools, assuming the investigation says this is what happened. The employee can bring a friend with them. If it is agreed there has been a breach of company rules, the company then issues a warning (or dismissal) if sufficiently serious and true. If it's all untrue, the employee comes back to work.
Assume the company has the relevant disciplinary policies! Consult the ACAS website for further info.
The employee can bring a friend with them
Generally, there are restrictions on the employee’s choice of friend to accompany them to a disciplinary hearing.
A union rep or a colleague / co-worker currently employed by the company tend to be most likely to be approved.
The employer may take issue with “a friend” from the employee’s personal life? They would need to give a strong argument why the friend was appropriate and may be encouraged to choose one of the above categories ^ ^
A family member is more likely to be acceptable, especially if the employee is of a younger age category, an apprentice for example.
There would have to be extremely unusual circumstances for me to advise a client that they might want to let an employee bring a mate or family member. An apprentice under 18 bringing a parent would be one of those circumstances.
Thank you for the replies. Friend is the employer but it is a small business so no HR/union to speak of. Should have said employee is on a weeks prebooked holiday abroad hence the no communication. Friend/Employer is worried about it becoming a bit of a he said/she said situation, as they can't really prove either but it could definitely bring the company into disrepute & have huge repurcussions with future work.
So this is a job performed at the client's location? Who does the missing item belong to and has it turned up since? Has the job been completed by someone else in the meantime?
Why was the worker sent home (and was this with pay) rather than sent to a different location to work. Is it possible to send a different worker to that location in future?
The company's initial response (go home) seems a bit strange on the information given. I would recommend either a bit more investigation the next time this situation pops up or sending them elsewhere to work.
Employee not contactable for the week
Good that you clarified this ^ in your latest update. “was not contactable” made me think you meant the employee had gone AWOL when in fact they were legitimately absent on annual leave.
I’d get the employer (your friend) to document the facts as they understood them to be, including the actual conversation with the client, then when the employee returns, invite them to discuss the matter. I don’t see how you can avoid it being “he said / she said”, that’s exactly what these circumstances tend to be, unless there is CCTV footage or an independent witness.
If the employee behaved out of character and is normally a good employee then maybe they deserve the benefit of the doubt, and given a warning to never let it happen again. They may decide to resign voluntarily anyway...
"is a small business so no HR/union to speak of. "
Plenty of small businesses take professional HR advice, and I would gently suggest that your friend might want to consider this, rather than relying on her friend asking a bunch of randoms on the internet, which, lets face it, is all we are.
You say yourself there is great potential for reputational damage and therefore impact on bottom line. Isn't that worth investing in a couple of hours of proper professional advice?
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