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Case Studies

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A delayed celebration for a disciplinary win

Published 28 August 2019

A delayed celebration for a disciplinary win

For any employee cleared of any wrongdoing after facing serious disciplinary allegations the relief is enormous.
Joel had a disciplinary hearing for fraudulently claiming overtime before the allegation was dismissed. He believed his nightmare was over - but he was wrong.
He had worked for vehicle maintenance company for over 12 years when a perturbed colleague complained Joel had claimed for overtime he did not work.
There was no structured system to log overtime hours. Any additional hours worked were simply written down by the employee, and they were paid.

The colleague produced a social media post on the date Joel claimed he worked the overtime in question.  It was alleged to show Joel celebrating his team’s victory at a sporting event that took place on the day, and at the time, when he should have been in work.
Joel was suspended from work for fraudulently claiming overtime. He was shocked by the allegation and asked for more details, but they were not provided.

He was invited to a disciplinary hearing the following week. The social media post showed Joel, wearing his team’s shirt, inside the stadium, celebrating and the caption read yessss!

The picture was posted on the day he claimed overtime and it related to a match that took place that same day. Joel was surprised by the allegation.

He explained that it was an old picture, one of his favourites, and he had simply reposted it during his break to celebrate his team beating their local rivals on that day.

Joel pointed out that the players of the opposing team could be seen on the pitch in the background. He highlighted that they were wearing the wrong colours for the opposition on the day in question, which proved it was an old picture.

He then showed the disciplinary hearing chair when the image was originally posted.
Joel was understandably angry and he had some very strong and choice words to say about his colleague who had complained.
The following week Joel was informed that the allegation had been dismissed. However, because of what he said about his colleague it had been decided that he would be transferred to a different site.
Joel cannot drive and his round trip to work was 40 minutes, with a transfer it would be just over two hours.
In the discussion about the transfer Joel was adamant he would not and could not move. His manager insisted he had no choice or his contract would be terminated.

Joel was dismissed the same day for failing to follow a reasonable management instruction. He contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for help.

In the letter confirming Joel’s dismissal the company said the proposed transfer was covered by a clause in his employment contract.
 
After Joel spoke to our representative an appeal was submitted to the company on the grounds that the decision amounted to an unfair dismissal.
The appeal letter triggered the disciplinary appeals process and Joel was invited to an appeal hearing.
At that hearing our representative argued a proper disciplinary process had not been followed before dismissal and that the transfer proposal was unreasonable.
The hearing was told Joel’s place of work had been established over 12 years and it was reasonable to assert that it was his fixed place of work. It was explained that the additional travel time would mean that he would fail to meet his child care commitments and caring responsibilities for his elderly parents.

It was pointed out his hours of work had been arranged with the company over three years earlier to help him meet his caring commitments. The hearing was told that changing this arrangement without his agreement could be considered discriminatory.
The disciplinary appeal hearing chair was informed that Joel was willing to work out any differences with his colleague, and take part in mediation to address any issues. Joel’s desired outcome to the appeal was to be reinstated.

His appeal proved successful and Joel was reinstated and allowed to return to his desired place of work. He took part in mediation, and as far as we know he has had no problems since.
 

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For free employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 0333 772 0611

A reputation built on success

For employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 

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