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Overworked and now under disciplinary

Discussion in 'Jobs and Employment' started by poppet35, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. poppet35

    poppet35 Type 1 · Member

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    I'm wondering anyone can offer advice regarding my employment - I have been suspended pending investigation into allegations of gross misconduct - my argument is that I have been working 7 days a week despite the job being advertised at 30 hours per week and as a result have become exhausted and unable to fulfil my tasks fully. It's not until now that I've been off for few days and looked back and realised how badly I've taken care of myself whilst working. I'm not denying that I haven't worked to standards my employer set and that I set myself but I knew that I was failing and so have actually quit twice and been persuaded to stay by my line manager
     
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  2. ally1

    ally1 Type 2 · Expert

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    The only advice I can suggest is if you are in a union, then please talk to them
     
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  3. poppet35

    poppet35 Type 1 · Member

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    Thank you - I have done, unfortunately both they and ACAS have pretty much said because I've been in post less than two years there's not a lot that can be done.
     
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  4. ally1

    ally1 Type 2 · Expert

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    Tricky situation, how about seeing the cab
     
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  5. poppet35

    poppet35 Type 1 · Member

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    I'll ring them tomorrow, they are only available for very short hours now - damned cutbacks!
     
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  6. Tipetoo

    Tipetoo Type 2 · Expert

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    This is what needs to be done.

    The union did not hesitate to take your membership fees for nearly two years in this particular place of employment, escalate this past the union rep / delegate to higher up the chain of union command asap.

    Edit: Clarity.
     
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    #6 Tipetoo, Feb 22, 2017 at 8:01 PM
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  7. poppet35

    poppet35 Type 1 · Member

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    I've only recently joined the union, I've been in post 9 months.
    If I had been in post over 2 years then I'd looking at putting a dismissal claim in.
     
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  8. mist

    mist · Guest

    Wouldn't be Tesco by any chance would it? I know that company runs people ragged and then gets narky when they are exhausted and struggle to perform.
     
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  9. Johnjoe13

    Johnjoe13 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi, all employers should have a procedure in place for disciplining their staff and you should ask them for this to maker sure they have followed this procedure to the letter, if they haven't then you may have a case against them should they dismiss you. Check out the links below which may help.

    Generally they have certain things in this procedure which are serious enough to warrant dismissal and so bypass the usual written warning and final warning etc, like if you hit someone or steal from them, that kind of stuff. So get this information and read it.

    You need to make sure that you have some representation or someone with you when you attend your hearing and even when they ask you in to talk about this, and you should not under any circumstances make any statement at that stage until you have taken some legal advice. Just ask them to give you written documentation or statement as to what it is they claim you have done that warrants the allegations of gross misconduct, you then need to take legal advice upon this before you respond. Most solicitors offer an initial free consultation for the first half to an hour, so find one that specialises in employment law who will be able to advise you on this.

    If you are letting your union get involved do not just accept the help of your local union rep or shop steward, get them to involve somebody that is a full time officer and if necessary tell them to contact the law firm that the union uses. Most unions retain a law firm for this purpose, I know mine does and I've even got an emergency help line that can put me directly in touch with their law firm.

    A long reply to your post but I hope it helps and good luck

    https://www.gov.uk/disciplinary-procedures-and-action-at-work/how-disciplinary-procedures-work

    https://www.gov.uk/dismissal/unfair-and-constructive-dismissal
     
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  10. poppet35

    poppet35 Type 1 · Member

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    Worse - a charity who supports people with disabilities in the community.
     
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  11. poppet35

    poppet35 Type 1 · Member

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    Thank you, they are very careful to follow procedures to the letter but as I've only recently joined my union they can only advise over the phone and cannot attend the meeting with me. I will make enquiries regarding solicitors tomorrow
     
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  12. poppet35

    poppet35 Type 1 · Member

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    Worse, a charity who supports people with disabilities in the community
     
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  13. Did they definitely say gross misconduct and not just misconduct?
     
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  14. Salvia

    Salvia Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @poppet35, Firstly, the 2 year rule applies if you are dismissed and want to make an unfair dismissal complaint to an employment tribunal. You could only do that if you have 2 years employment. It is a way of stopping frivolous unfair dismissal complaints and clogging up the appeals system.

    Secondly, you haven't been dismissed yet, only suspended pending investigations. Do you have a copy of your employer's disciplinary procedure? If not, get one asap, and read it thoroughly. Your trade union should support you through all of this, even if you've not been with them for long. Before any kind of disciplinary hearing, you should get full details in writing of what the charges are against you, and if you don't understand anything, then tell the trade union, and insist upon getting full clarification, so that you can properly answer the charges. The trade union rep (preferably a full time officer, not your local rep at work, because the full time officer will be far better able to handle something like this - gross misconduct is a very serious charge). At any hearing, you will (or should) be given full chance to tell the panel your point of view and how things have led up to this situation. From what you have said, your own line manager values your contribution, and you should ask them to attend the hearing as your witness. They will also be able to explain just how busy you have been, and how much work you have been asked to cover, even though the job is supposed to be only 30 hrs. You really need to know EXACTLY what they mean by "gross misconduct"

    Whilst you have time on your hands, sit down and write down everything you can remember about the job, the extra workloads that you had to carry, any incidents that might have happened, induction and training that you were given for the job, anything at all since you started working there. Note also how many other people there are in your department, what were their workloads like, why didn't you get any help (e.g. you gave notice twice & your manager persuaded you to stay - what did they do to make things better for you, did they reduce your excessive workload? Make a big issue about the fact you told your manager, they persuaded you to stay, but they still did little to put things right !!) (At least, that's how it seems to me, just reading your post). Try to keep things in a logical sequence. Find your job description, contract of employment, any local rules of your department, and any other documents that you were given when you joined, you may need to refer to these when you are formulating your defence. Particularly be clear about your contracted hours of work, when those times start and finish, and what the arrangments are for overtime. Did you ever get paid for any of the overtime that you worked? Were you given time off in lieu for the extra hours? Most of all, don't aproach this alone - insist upon talking to the trade union rep; this may involve the local rep first, that's ok - but keep pushing to get a full time officer rep. The full time officer should ask for evidence of what you've done that amounts to gross misconduct, and why that action is gross misconduct (as opposed to misconduct, capability, or anything else). Compare what they say against what is written in the company disciplinary policy - they may be exaggerating the charges - the TU can advise about this. What I'm trying to say is don't waste the time you have, be prepared for when you are called into a disciplinary hearing - but DON'T GO INTO A HEARING ALONE - EVER ! If they tell you it's just a meeting, still refuse to go without the FT trade union rep with you. They should arrange the meeting at a time that is mutually agreeable with the rep.

    I've just rattled this off the top of my head, so I hope it isn't too jumbled for you to follow. I've been retired from work for about 8 yrs now, so my knowledge about employment law is decidedly rusty - but the points I've set out aboove are ones that applied in my time, and let's face it, they are simple 'natural justice' principles.

    Last point - Attack is the best form of defence. I don't care how "nice" your manager is, you have to stand up for yourself in this life - nobody else will do it for you - so come out fighting !!! Your manager knew all about your workloads and that you weren't coping, but still they did nothing to support you - or if they, did, it wasn't enough.

    I notice that there have been other posts since I started this, so probably some of it will be repeats of what others have said. I'll post it anyway, because it will probably take longer to amend things. Have a think, and come back if you need further help.
     
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  15. poppet35

    poppet35 Type 1 · Member

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    Definitely gross misconduct.
     
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  16. Salvia

    Salvia Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    This sounds like a 'cop out' to me - why can't they assist you? They've taken your membership fees haven't they? What do you mean by "recently joined" - did you only join the union after you were suspended? If so, I can understand that they may be reluctant to turn out for you - but again, read up on the trade union handbook (which they should have given you) & see what it says about representation.

    BTW - some household insurance policies include legal representation cover, & it doesn't just have to be about home/contents matters. Check your insurance policy - could save a bit of money (though you'd need to check how good they'd be on employment issues).
     
  17. poppet35

    poppet35 Type 1 · Member

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    Thank you. We have had the investigatory meeting and they have decided to go ahead with the disciplinary hearing. I've gone over my contract and the disciplinary policy with a fine tooth comb as I was horrified that they believed I may have committed gross misconduct.

    The charges are "serious acts or omissions on the part of the employee which compromise the integrity of the organisation or bring it into disrepute financially or contractually will be dealt with as Gross Misconduct".

    However - I was open and honest with my manager that I could not keep up with my workload due to a lack of community support staff (I am the manager of a team of carers) hence my going to her in floods of tears completely unable to cope and a month later officially resigning citing my health and the safety of customers.
    Basically I go out and provide support in a morning, fit in an hour or two in office, go back out and provide lunch support, back in office for couple of hours and back out working in community til 8/9 pm ish.
     
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  18. Johnjoe13

    Johnjoe13 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Then you need to make sure that when you do meet with them next that you take a work friend in with you. Unless they contact you to invite you in to a full hearing in which case you really do need some legal representation.

    And it being a charity does surprise me
     
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  19. Salvia

    Salvia Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Off-the-cuff response - sound to me as if you are being used as a "scapegoat" here - I'm guessing because they've maybe received a complaint from a client about a service failure of some kind - but that is a guess. Don't let them make you the scapegoat - their own systems have to be examined here, because they've used and abused your goodwill over the past 9 months. Turn those around & challenge them about their excessive work schedules, lack of staff, and failure to support you, despite you making them aware of the problems.

    Also (forgive me assumptions here) as a charity, they may not be all that familiar with employment law & handling disciplinary matters, and you could end up being railroaded just because of their inexperience. I still say, stand up for yourself & fight. Think about it - If you let this go, will you end up hating yourself, feeling resentment, and looking back on it feeling less confident about yourself and your own worth - isn't that something valuable to fight for.

    What does: "serious acts or omissions on the part of the employee which compromise the integrity of the organisation or bring it into disrepute financially or contractually will be dealt with as Gross Misconduct" - mean? In plain English? What - exactly - did you do, or fail to do, that is a 'serious act' or an 'omission' how did it 'compromise the integrity of the organisation' how did it 'bring it (the org) into disrepute financially or contractually' ? See what I mean? You don't know (or don't say) exactly what charge you are facing - what did you DO ?

    Actually, I don't need to know here in this open forum - but you need to know, for when you go into the disciplinary hearing. It sounds to me as if it just might be a re-play of the investigation meeting. If the same people are sitting on the discipline panel, as sat on the investigation panel, then that in itself is an injustice - because then they become judge and jury - not fair.
     
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  20. poppet35

    poppet35 Type 1 · Member

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    I'm happy to say as much as is sensible in an open forum - I did not regularly provide one to one supervisions with some staff and they were working below their contractual hours and so accrued a backlog of hours owed to the company. ( I managed two areas, one area further away geographically was neglected by me)
    I felt it would be a more serious threat to the integrity and reputation of the organisation to fail to provide the support in my more local area
    I hope I'm making sense here
     
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