Disciplinary hearing appeal minutes

(25 Posts)
JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 15:06:46

I have just appealed a written warning which I feel is very unfair. During the appeal hearing they wouldnt look at my evidence, didn't talk to witnesses, and when I challenged their findings/evidence said that it wasn't about the detail but the bigger picture (is this fair??). They also brought up time taken off for maternity apointments (where the appointment time was made for me by nhs) and how quickly I went back to work afterwards despite having verbal permission not to come back until I was scheduled to work again (effectively a long lunch break). During the meeting the 2 bosses kept interrupting each other to say that it isn't about maternity time off. I haven't recieved the outcome but don't expect to win. Can I request the meeting minutes afterwards? I strongly suspect that this warning is not going to improve the situation as the conclusion is vague and not necessarily anything I have control over, so I need to collect evidence to protect myself. Thanks

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Moondust001 Sun 07-Mar-21 15:10:47

Yes you are entitled to ask for the minutes. Although what use they may be is another matter.

What are you actually being disciplined for? Taking short periods of time off for maternity appointments and getting back to work too quickly? Because that seems rather perverse!

JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 15:22:40

To be honest I am not really sure! What was in the letter wasn't really the issue. I having a particular colleague making complaints about me but I feel they are unjustified. I haven't been given proper details

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JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 15:31:27

I would like to see if they are accurate for a start

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cravingmilkshake Sun 07-Mar-21 15:34:00

You can request the minutes and should also be sent them as a matter of courtesy, however, the minutes will not be verbatim and will generally be an overview of what questions were asked and bullet pointed answers.

VerityWibbleWobble Sun 07-Mar-21 15:45:22

Where I work you are automatically given copies of the minutes because you are entitled to them. Did you request they interview witnesses? If I have an employee make such a request then I will interview the witness but be very factual and only ask relevant questions.

JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 15:49:54

One witness statement I had gotten was discounter as she doesn't complain, and the other I asked for them to contact and they didn't. Factual would be fine!

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JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 15:51:16

*discounted

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Moondust001 Sun 07-Mar-21 15:52:21

JustKeepSw1mming

To be honest I am not really sure! What was in the letter wasn't really the issue. I having a particular colleague making complaints about me but I feel they are unjustified. I haven't been given proper details

I don't want to suggest that you are wrong, but are you sure this was a disciplinary meeting and not an investigatory meeting? Because surely they told you what you were being disciplined for doing? It would be very common for an investigatory meeting to be a bit like a fishing expedition - so not being clear on all the details might be the case. But at a disciplinary meeting you should be told in advance what you are accused of, and given the right to be accompanied by a union rep or work colleague.

VerityWibbleWobble Sun 07-Mar-21 15:52:46

They may have asked them if they'd be prepared to be interviewed and refused or been interviewed and not confirm what you're saying.

Moondust001 Sun 07-Mar-21 16:04:04

This is a bit like shooting in the dark without any information, but .... if the there was some concern about the way you act around or speak to colleagues, whether or not that person complains is not relevant. If something is observed (and it must have been to be in this place) or a manager is told about it then yes, it can be fair that something is about "the bigger picture" even if people haven't formally complained about it. And that was what you asked - is it "fair" that one can get disciplined for a "bigger picture". Whether it is "fair" in this situation, well you aren't telling us what has happened, or don't know what it is about.

But here's the thing. If you don't like the result, you can appeal. Win or lose that appeal (and most people lose) then you go back to work. That's it. End of the story. So again - what do you want to get out of this? Because whether something is fair or not is only relevant in the playground - and whether the minutes are accurate is a matter of opinion. Yours and theirs may not be the same. You can ask them to amend them if you disagree, but so what?

Is this genuinely worth stirring up more, or letting it quietly drop and keeping your head down? And that is a genuine question. I am not suggesting you do either, simply wondering what you think will be the purpose and whether it will help or hinder you.

JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 16:05:38

It is a small business so proper processes haven't been exactly followed. Yes DH first, I was accompanied by a colleague, then I appealed and had another meeting other same colleague. The witnesses definitely weren't asked

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JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 16:20:30

Thanks moon dust. You aren't too far wrong. Sorry for not being more specific. This partly so I can't be identified, partly as I am a bit confused about what I am doing wrong. Some of the specific examples they brought up I think are wrong, and I have evidence but they won't look at it. I might be mistaken, but if they have triggered a formal process, do they not have to provide me with evidence, and then can I not dispute the evidence?
What do I want? I want to move on, and try to improve, and to see the bigger picture, but I am fairly sure it is going to happen again, so next time around I want to have recorded things better so I can defend myself. So i thought maybe getting the minutes might help if this happens again, but if I am wrong about this then I would much rather not stir things up!!.I feel as though the complaining colleague is unfairly targeting me and I am being singled out. While I can handle this generally, and would normally do as you suggest, given this is now a formal process I am being more robust in my defence

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JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 16:23:42

Ps I fully expect to lose the appeal!

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Jaxhog Sun 07-Mar-21 16:27:52

Have you spoken to ACAS? They could advise you more completely.

Moondust001 Sun 07-Mar-21 16:36:20

I can see why you would want to be more careful about the position you are in, but if you have already gone through the appeal stage then yes, you can ask for the minutes but I do wonder what purpose they will serve.

People often think that disciplinary hearing are like court cases. And sometimes they are, but they don't have to be. The situation I described wouldn't be unusual, especially where the issue is about relationships or how people work together. For example, I have a member of my team who is blunt, and often rude. She totally doesn't mean to be - she simply doesn't seem to have the capacity for social niceties! She will launch straight into a communication, written or verbal, by launching straight at the throat of the matter. Now that is a problem. But nobody has ever complained about her - although it could easily have come to that. I choose not to deal with it as a disciplinary because I have other alternatives and the ability to use them. I use gentle humour - and she knows and responds to being "teased" about something, and stops and thinks about putting some niceties in! Now that may or may not be similar to what is happening here. In her case she genuinely still doesn't notice she's getting it wrong, although she is getting better at asking if she could do something better. That's a win. Unfortunately very few people notice when they are doing things that grate on others. Because if they did they would stop doing it!

If you are genuinely still confused as to what you are doing wrong and how you need to fix that, can you not sit down with your manager and say so? I'm not saying that you are right or wrong (I have no idea!) but as a manager I would prefer that approach, so I can work out what I need to do to get us both to the place that we need to be. Even if the minutes say absolutely everything you want them to, in the way you want it expressing, that is not going to help if you still don't know what is expected of you.

JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 16:38:40

No acas, no HR, no union. I did speak to a solicitor who told me to appeal, but it was just one of those intro meetings so didn't go into specifics. They are expensive and he said not normally involved until dismissal/ constructive dismissal stage (which obviously I don't want to get to). So I'm on my own, trying to work out a strategy which protects me if the worst happens!

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Moondust001 Sun 07-Mar-21 16:42:43

Another thought - I would assume that your colleague who went to the meetings is someone you trust or you wouldn't have asked them. Can you ask them to be ruthlessly honest and tell you if they think there is something you are not getting and should be doing differently? Just because they went with you doesn't mean that they must also think you are perfect :-) Maybe they have a view on it - if you know them well enough for them to feel ok about being honest even if you don't like it.

Kgrzghtechh Sun 07-Mar-21 16:44:00

Acas is free. Why haven't you contacted them?

Moondust001 Sun 07-Mar-21 16:45:39

JustKeepSw1mming

No acas, no HR, no union. I did speak to a solicitor who told me to appeal, but it was just one of those intro meetings so didn't go into specifics. They are expensive and he said not normally involved until dismissal/ constructive dismissal stage (which obviously I don't want to get to). So I'm on my own, trying to work out a strategy which protects me if the worst happens!

You can join a union any time you like. But that isn't a get out of jail card if the employer is actually right! It is remarkably easy for an employer to dismiss if they want to. You can talk to ACAS any time you want, but honestly, I have never found them much use. A union is better.

LostForWords2021 Sun 07-Mar-21 16:53:52

How long have you worked there?

Did you get invited to an investigation meeting and then receive a letter inviting you to the disciplinary meeting which should have included any evidence for you to view prior to the meeting?

And of course you can have a copy of the minutes.

JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 17:10:51

Yes Moon dust, they are a level headed person who is quite neutral, and I value their opinion. They think the DH was very heavy handed and unnecessary. I will ask them for more direct feedback on where I can try to improve - it will be easier next week when it isn't all so raw and upsetting. I am definitely willing to work on any areas I can - I know I'm not perfect!
Re the employer being right - why wouldn't they talk to the witnesses? They could then confirm everything
Yes I know I can join a union but they won't help with immediate/current employment issues

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JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 17:16:23

I've worked there more than 4 years
Lost - they haven't followed acas process, but I'm not sure that picking holes in that will help much

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Moondust001 Sun 07-Mar-21 18:10:25

JustKeepSw1mming

Yes Moon dust, they are a level headed person who is quite neutral, and I value their opinion. They think the DH was very heavy handed and unnecessary. I will ask them for more direct feedback on where I can try to improve - it will be easier next week when it isn't all so raw and upsetting. I am definitely willing to work on any areas I can - I know I'm not perfect!
Re the employer being right - why wouldn't they talk to the witnesses? They could then confirm everything
Yes I know I can join a union but they won't help with immediate/current employment issues

Most will advise. You won't get legal representation for a while. But this hearing is over. Anything else counts as new. Don't be putting it off. Everyone always does that until its too late.

Here's the thing. I'll be blunt. Heavy handed or unnecessary are opinions. And not the ones that count! Get "fair" out of your head. It is a word that misleads too many people. In employment terms it doesn't mean what you think it does. It means legally fair. That is so different. Take the example I gave you of my team member. I choose not to make a disciplinary of it. I don't want to be heavy handed. But I could be. And I'd be within my rights to be. I can treat it as poor performance. That's legally fair. Another manager could do that - and it's their right to do so. It would be legal.

I may not be interpreting the information here correctly. But I think your are in that situation. The facts aren't in dispute, but what the facts mean is. You don't think that what has happened is what they think it is. But I suspect they may be within their rights to interpret the facts in that way. And if that's the case, if this goes to a dismissal, it may be fair. A small employer especially gets a little leeway in getting the processes 100% right.

You probably don't want to hear this, but if you can't get your head around it or change whatever the issue is, then I'd start looking for another job.

And join a union.

JustKeepSw1mming Sun 07-Mar-21 18:56:39

Thanks Moon dust, I take your point. I probably am similar to your colleague, although it is pretty much only an issue with 1 member of staff (as far as I can make out, as I am not given details in the main). I would love to sit down (outside of a DH) and receive clear instruction about what is required of me, and I have asked for more immediate feedback where I made an error rather than waiting weeks when all the details are murky and I can't really reflect on it. I have asked for both these things in the DH. I think (have been told) that I am good at receiving feedback so hopefully this will happen.
But the reason I think that this will happen again is that I think the staff member complaining doesn't like me, rather than everything simply being my fault. I never complain, although my manager is telling me that I should do (goes against my nature!). This staff member has been involved in lots of disputes in the past with other members of staff, and some of them have lost their jobs because of it. Other members of staff think they are a bully. I kind of hope that if I keep my head down for a bit then they will move onto the next person/drama (sometimes the drama involves people outside of work - and I think with winter and lockdown everyone has gone a bit crazy and bored which has contributed to this situation arising). There are a few new members of staff and I feel sorry for them as one is bound to be next!
I don't know why management can't see this pattern...

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