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Employment - immediate dismissal for first instance ‘negligence’

(62 Posts)

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Freya202 Wed 13-Nov-19 21:13:22

Hi I’m hoping there might be some employment law specialists on here who might be able to help me please.

I’ve been dismissed from my job today (senior manager in small company) after an investigation into the conduct of people in my team and my handling of the situation. Their hearings were before mine and the people involved received written warnings. At worst, I was expecting a similar sanction but actually was hoping to persuade the disciplinary hearing that I had not been negligent in my handling of the situation. It’s hard to explain without being too outing but my assessment is that the company has massively overreacted and that my immediate dismissal (with payment in lieu of my notice period) is completely disproportionate. I was told today that the Board have lost trust in me and that there was a serious dereliction of duty on my part.

I’m obviously still in shock but just wanted to know if in these sorts of circumstances I have any kind of case? Can I argue that the punishment doesn’t fit the ‘crime’?

Namechangeforthiscancershit Wed 13-Nov-19 21:15:29

What a shock.

How long have you been with the company?

Freya202 Wed 13-Nov-19 21:22:03

6 years give or take. I’m numb I think. Just couldn’t think what I could usefully do tonight really so thought I’d post on here!

I actually think that my line manager (owner/ceo) has had some performance concerns about me though never raised these formally, just had a couple of chats asking me if I was ok. I think they’ve used this to incident with some of my team members to engineer me out. But I may not be being totally rational - that’s just my gut feel.

Freya202 Wed 13-Nov-19 21:30:42

Should have said for clarity - no prior disciplinary action against me in this job or any other that I’ve ever held - I’ve always been a model employee!

HermioneWeasley Wed 13-Nov-19 21:32:47

Sounds a little odd - immediate dismissal is normally for gross misconduct and no notice is paid- in effect they are saying you’ve behaved so bad,y that you’ve breached the contract and therefore no notice is owed,

If they have paid notice, they’re not claiming that logic, but are still dismissing.

I would appeal

Freya202 Wed 13-Nov-19 21:36:46

That’s what I thought was odd too. I’m waiting for the letter to arrive tomorrow confirming everything. I was told I’d be paid my notice period but I wonder if they are going to make that conditional on me signing something? They kept saying about losing trust and I didn’t know if that was significant, whether they are seeing it’s a breach of trust on my part though there’s no question of dishonesty on my part.

AlwaysCheddar Thu 14-Nov-19 06:12:00

Call Acas.

MarieG10 Thu 14-Nov-19 07:03:48

Don't sign any non disclosure notice. Yes contact ACAS. It would have to be very serious gross misconduct to justify not using normal disciplinary processes, ie theft would be justification

You may need to look at an employment tribunal

Freya202 Thu 14-Nov-19 15:28:50

Thanks for the replies so far. A disciplinary process has been followed. There was an investigation into the conduct of my team members and my handling of the situation. I had a disciplinary hearing and then yesterday was told the decision they’d made as a result of that disciplinary hearing was to dismiss me with pay in lieu notice. There is an appeals procedure but apparently my dismissal is effective immediately as of yesterday. I would have thought they would need to wait for the appeal to be heard first? I’m shattered today. Feel totally lost. I think I was in shock last night. Would really appreciate any thoughts especially from emp lawyers or trade union people. Thanks smile

APerkyPumpkin Thu 14-Nov-19 15:34:23

Did you follow or break a written protocol in your handling of the employees?

GrumpyHoonMain Thu 14-Nov-19 15:41:41

Will they give you the option to resign first? If so take it.

In cases of gross misconduct the manager often does become the fall guy if it’s serious enough, and in this case where multiple people in your team have received written warnings (that you should perhaps have given) it is safe to say that you didn’t do your job as a manager properly.

Freya202 Thu 14-Nov-19 16:55:52

I agree that I didn’t handle the matter satisfactorily. I took the action that I thought was appropriate at the time but it was deemed more serious by my manager hence the investigation and subsequent sanctions. I just feel that dismissal for me as a first offence is completely disproportionate. They’ve given me no chance to resign. I’ve been dismissed as of yesterday.

Freya202 Thu 14-Nov-19 19:17:00

Hopeful bump

HundredMilesAnHour Thu 14-Nov-19 19:52:50

I was told today that the Board have lost trust in me and that there was a serious dereliction of duty on my part.

This sounds extremely serious though. It's not as simple as you saying it's your 'first offence' when multiple members of your team have been given written warnings plus you admit you handled it badly. It sounds like serious mismanagement by you and I can understand why your employer might not want to risk giving you a second chance.

As soon as you get the letter from them tomorrow, you need to get some legal advice before doing anything else. I'd be extremely worried about what reference your now former employer will give you. Talk to an employment lawyer and see if they can help you negotiate an agreed reference as a minimum.

Freya202 Thu 14-Nov-19 20:05:43

I know it sounds very serious. I don’t want to put too much detail on here but everyone who I have spoken to about this during the investigation phase including very experienced HR people have told me it’s a storm in a teacup, that it looks like a witch hunt and that there was no way I’d lose my job over it. So my point is that whilst they’ve made it sound very serious, in my opinion and the option of others I trust, it really shouldn’t be. That was the main point of posting really - can I challenge the decision on this basis when it’s obviously very subjective.

Freya202 Thu 14-Nov-19 20:07:07

And thank you for the advice about the reference, that is one of my biggest concerns. It’s also going to be very difficult for me to get another job unless I refrain. My industry is very small. This is utterly devastating sad

Freya202 Thu 14-Nov-19 20:07:48


Elieza Thu 14-Nov-19 20:08:16

Look on the acas website and see if any of their advice clarifies things, there’s lots to read!

Lumene Thu 14-Nov-19 20:08:38

Definitely call ACAS tomorrow. You will be able to tell them the details in confidence and there is no fee for their advice.

Figgygal Thu 14-Nov-19 20:11:11

Absolutely appeal Their decision it does seem excessive

HundredMilesAnHour Thu 14-Nov-19 20:14:28

If you decide you need an employment lawyer, I can recommend an excellent one (founding partner in an employment law practice in the City). He's not cheap though but he usually gives his initial opinion about whether it's worth pursuing or not for free. PM if you decide you want his details, depending on what ACAS say to you.

Also think hard about what you want to achieve now this has happened. Sadly no-one can wave a magic wand and make it un-happen. So do you want your job back (or has the trust now broken down completely?) or would you prefer them to pay you off and give you an agreed reference? Take time to think about your options, especially given you say that your industry is very small.

Freya202 Thu 14-Nov-19 20:23:10

Thank you everyone. I don’t think there’s a way back now no. As much as I loved my job I don’t think my boss would have me back even if I could win an appeal. She’s made her decision and says she can’t trust my judgment. What I would like to do is try and make sure I have a reference and if at all possible get myself into a position to negotiate a better pay off. I’ve read a lot on the Acas site today but nothing that leapt out at me as especially useful to my situation. I will call them tomorrow.

Thanks for the offer of a referral to a lawyer. I have had some other suggestions already. One of my issues is not spending too much money on getting the advice. I think it’s going to take me a while to get a new job and 3 months pay isn’t going to last much longer than that. I really appreciate everyone’s advice on here, thanks.

HundredMilesAnHour Thu 14-Nov-19 20:40:36

If you do decide you want a lawyer, there are also a number of employment lawyers who work on a no win no fee basis i.e. you only pay their fee if they get you a settlement. Of course they therefore have to be careful which cases they take so it can often be a useful indication of how good your case is if they agree to take you on as a client.

Just an option that won't cost you anything (unless you do win a settlement). Some of them have quite informative websites so might be worth a look OP.

Freya202 Thu 14-Nov-19 20:42:47

Thank you again Hundred you’ve been very helpful. I’ll take a look.

clutchingon Thu 14-Nov-19 20:44:02

Have you got legal expenses insurance on your home insurance op? It should cover you if you do but you will have to use the insurers panel lawyer.

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