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To think sisters boss is not going about this correctly? (Disciplinary)

37 replies

NapQueen · 01/08/2017 20:30

Dsis was asked to leave work on Monday until 10am Wednesday as she was being suspended whilst they investigate. Her "bad attitude" was sited as the reason.

Three things were raised;-
*she snapped at a fellow colleague, then immediatley apologised and explained she was having a bad day
*she said in a team meeting that she understood why a fellow colleague resigned as they were demoted - her boss told her on monday "you are not entitled to an opinion on this"
*she was alleged to have said that the apprentices should "demand a higher pay" - she didnt, she said the apprentices were very competent and doing everything a general employee was doing

Aside from my opinion or only being able to listen to her side of the story, I feel her boss is going about things in the wrong way.

She has been told to attend a meetinf at 10am wednesday. No official word from them whether it is a disciplinary or an investigation meeting or whatever. She had to ask today for written confirmation of the allegations made. She had to ask today for copies of the Grievance and Disciplinary Policies. She requested an extension on the meeting as she was only sent thw written allegations late today. That has been denied. She has been told that she can bring someone in with her but as the allegations were made by unknown team members she cant ask anyone in her team. The only other people who work there are the CEO and his PA (acting HR) who will be conducting the meeting, and her Line Manager who instigated the whole thing.

Her manager has told her over the telephone today that the outcome of the meeting is likely to be Serious or Gross Misconduct. Her copy of the policy says Gross Misconduct is classed as "theft, criminal damage, other". Vague as fuck.

She is unable to be accompanied by me or our parents as we are all working. She is unable to be accompanied by her boyfriend as he is away. She is unable to be accompanied by a friend as they all have work and/or are travelling.

Ive suggested she ring ACAS first thing in the morning to see what further advice they can give.

I dont feel her boss is doing the right thing. I think she is being bullied out if im honest. She has worked there over 2 years and had one negative comment raised in the six monthly performace meetings they have.

Understandably she has spent the last 48 hours upset and confused. I dont know what I can do but wondered if any of you had any advice?

OP posts:

Aquamarine1029 · 01/08/2017 20:36

She could hire an employment attorney, but other than that, I don't see how there's anything you can do other than offer a shoulder to cry on. Unfortunately, it sounds as though she's going to get fired.


NapQueen · 01/08/2017 20:39

Is it even possible to sack someone without following a proper disciplinary route? I fail to understand how the three things they raised (of which the first is true and probably something most people have done, the second is an opinion she was told she shouldnt have, and the third was untrue) class as Gross Misconduct.

Surely a verbal/written warning would be more appropriate?

OP posts:

alphabook · 01/08/2017 20:40

The fact that she's worked there over 2 years works in her favour as she has more rights. She should definitely ring Acas first thing.


Butterandsugar · 01/08/2017 20:40

Does she have a union she can contact?


LilyWhites325 · 01/08/2017 20:41

Get in touch with a union?


NapQueen · 01/08/2017 20:42

She isnt a member of a union. Its a pretty niche business, so no specific union for them, which I think is why ACAS should be rung first thing.

OP posts:

AlternativeTentacle · 01/08/2017 20:43

If it were me, Id turn up to the meeting, let them conduct it and then hit them with a tribunal as they had not conducted the situation properly:
They should suspend pending an investigation.
They should then investigate, which may mean a meeting with her with notice of what they are investigating.
Then if there is a case to answer they need to hold a disciplinary hearing which she has the right to be accompanied by either a trade union rep or a colleague. They also have to tell her that she has these rights.
There needs to be in writing, why the meeting is being held, and she needs enough notice to make her case/get evidence.
They need to present their case and allow her to state hers and then adjourn to let the decision be made.

They are not allowed to pre judge, ie tell her it is likely to be gross misconduct but they can say that the allegations could be construed as gross misconduct.

If she is sacked, then she can appeal, and the appeal needs to be held by a higher person than the one that dismissed her. Which if the CEO dismisses her, means that they would have to hire an external person to hear the appeal.

She can either point all this out and hope that they don't fire her, or let them go through the process and then appeal, and take it to a tribunal for not following due process, or just accept it and walk away.


NapQueen · 01/08/2017 20:45

Ive sent her the details for Unison and suggested she join. Their helplines are open til midnight so even if its just for support or prep advice for tomorrow.

OP posts:

FunSizedNinja · 01/08/2017 20:45

ACAS were very helpful when i needed help in the past. I fail to see how they can sack her without a verbal and written warning first? I dont see how this classes as gross misconduct! But i am far from a legal eagle. I wish your sister luck!


BoneyBackJefferson · 01/08/2017 20:47

Even if the third doesn't stand the other two are valid points.

She needs to remember what she "snapped" at the colleague. Whether your DSis thinks it offensive or not is not her call, it is for the colleague to say.

She was wrong to say in a formal meeting that someone left due to being demoted as she may not know the full details and could be/is spread rumours that undermine the management.

she needs to find someone to go with her, take her own notes, and request a copy of the official minutes from the meeting.

As this has been raised in a formal manner there will have to be a formal meeting and investigation, then a second meeting.


userofthiswebsite · 01/08/2017 20:48

No expert, but I don't believe it is permitted to draw a likely conclusion about the outcome of said meeting before it's occurred, investigatory meetings (stage 1) have to be entirely neutral. They've kind of come to a decision before the meeting. Sounds like process not being properly followed which may make it untenable. Again though, not an HR person.


BoneyBackJefferson · 01/08/2017 20:50

It is also possible that if there is found to be grounds for dismissal your DSis may be able to negotiate leaving with a reference instead of sacked with misconduct.

If she is being forced out and it can be proved then there is the tribunal route to consider.


userofthiswebsite · 01/08/2017 20:50

To poster further up, you can go straight to grosss misconduct depending on the severity of the incident.


Leaving confidential papers on a desk while you pop to the shops, someone looks at them and this gets found out (verbal warning maybe or written)

Boss gives you papers tells you they are confidential and then you go and email them to entire company (gross misconduct)


MeadowHay · 01/08/2017 20:51

I don't know much about employment law but man this is a case in point about why EVERYONE should be in a Union. Do people all just think this will never happen to them or what? Ringing ACAS is a good shout, other than that you'd be looking at contacting a solicitor which could end up very long and drawn out, not to mention costly, and stressful (as looking at unfair dismissal I guess), with no income in the meantime unless she secures different employment.

I also suggest joining a union ASAP but I think most service unions have rules now about how long you have to have been a member for before you're entitled to case work support (understandably as people tend to just join when they've got a problem and then stop their donation as soon as its resolved otherwise). On a personal level I would recommend Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) as a union. They take workers from absolutely every sector and don't have a time limit rule so can take on her case as soon as she joins if she wishes.

I wish her all the best. Sounds like a really horrible situation.


BoneyBackJefferson · 01/08/2017 20:53

even if she joins a union, they won't help with this as it is prior to her joining.


NapQueen · 01/08/2017 20:53

Ah ok

OP posts:

Aquathest · 01/08/2017 20:55

I am pretty sure that the ACAS code states that if an employee cannot be accompanied to the meeting by their chosen companion, the meeting should be cancelled and rearranged within 5 working days.
Even though the code is not mandatory, failure to follow it may go against an employer during an employment tribunal.

Get her to use the above - it buys her more time to discuss further with ACAS or actually be accompanied by someone who can better advise her


TyneTeas · 01/08/2017 21:00

Assuming you are in the UK, this may help


geekone · 01/08/2017 21:01

This sounds like constructive dismissal and she needs to get legal advice now. In the meeting she must say nothing and insist on a 3rd party to take minutes. She needs to read the minutes before they leave the room and if she agrees that the minutes accurately reflect everything that was said during the meeting she needs to sign them (each page) and ask for them to sign also. She should agree to nothing and sign nothing other than the dictated minutes. If a neutral party is not available then the meeting should be recorded. Gross misconduct has to be proven without doubt.

Raise a counter grievance against line manager or CEO on how the procedure has been handled. That can be done in writing tonight and handed in officially before the meeting. I would suggest sending an email also to say that an official grievance has been raised send it on a non work email.

Again get an employment solicitor now!


Moussemoose · 01/08/2017 21:02

ACAS and Unison - she may have to pay a years subs in advance. Different unions have different policies.

She needs to have all these conversations via email or they need to be confirmed in writing.

She should be allowed to postpone the meeting until a time she can get someone to attend with her. If they will not allow her to postpone until she has representation - they need to confirm this is in writing.

She should ask for copies of all documentation in which she is discussed - she can cite the Data Protection Act if they get awkward.

She needs a copy of the Grievance and Disciplinary procedure - is this easily available to staff? If not why not?

If she has been pre judged by a member of the panel she should email her boss to clarify the substance of the telephone conversation.

AlternativeTentacle gives good advice. Often as soon as it becomes apparent you are taking advice and they need to proceed correctly employers reevaluate their stance.

ACAS will help.


Sara107 · 01/08/2017 21:12

Definitely contact ACAS. I found them helpful and approachable and they will be able to tell her exactly what her rights are, and how she should approach the meeting. Failing any other better advice she should take a notebook and record in detail precisely what they say to her as you don't always remember things properly when you're in a stressful situation.


Bonesy1 · 01/08/2017 21:12

I know she is likely to be very stressed tonight, but I would suggest she records everything in a timeline, in as much detail as she cab remember. Context will be important, where and when things were said, in response to what were they said, and what occurs after. Full details of the manager 'predicting' the outcome of the meeting, and witness's to this should be named. ACAS first thing, using timeline as prompt. I imagine she is feeling very alone and scared, thoughts are with her


Whatthefucknameisntalreadytake · 01/08/2017 21:13

Geekone, how can it be constructive dismissal? She hasn't resigned?


Evilstepmum01 · 01/08/2017 21:15

Yeah, I had a dick of a manager like this.

You need your company handbook and/or a copy of your Grievance & Disciplinary procedure and a copy of your contract.

Definitely call ACAS-they are really good. Your sister is entitled to be accompanied, the company should be willing to postpone the meeting on one occasion.

This sounds like she's being pushed out tbh, so she needs professional advice. Never fear though, my friend was pushed out by our manager and with ACAS's help, claimed constructive dismissal. Their payout to her was just under £10000.

Best of luck to her!


Whatthefucknameisntalreadytake · 01/08/2017 21:20

Unless you mean she should resign and then claim constructive dismissal? It's a bit of a gamble, but if she's going to resign she'd need to do that immediately.

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