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Case Studies

Case Studies

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Addressing multiple disciplinary allegations

Published 27 July 2022

When hotel manager Dennis faced 18 different disciplinary allegations at work he could have been forgiven for thinking dismissal was inevitable.

So you can imagine his huge relief when he was able to leave the role he had held for three years on favourable terms.

Relieved Dennis was able to reach a settlement agreement with his employer with help from our representative.

The disciplinary allegations levelled against him included a health and safety breach, complaints from guests, bullying allegations from staff, poor time-keeping and failing to keep areas of the hotel clean.

Dennis did admit some of the allegations he faced, which he claimed were not entirely his fault. However, he vehemently denied the majority of them.

He was convinced he was the victim of a witch-hunt led by his deputy manager when he refused to support her claim for discrimination in the workplace.

The majority of the allegations he faced were made anonymously and Dennis believed they were from his deputy.

When the allegations were first made and Dennis was suspended from work he was advised by the HR manager he would be better off resigning.

At the time he was desperate to clear his name and initially rejected the suggestion.

Dennis was invited to attend a disciplinary hearing to face a raft of allegations.

He thought if he attended on his own, explained what had happened and that it was not all his fault, everything would be ok. He later admitted that was naïve.

The hearing was volatile and it left Dennis feeling bullied and intimidated. The meeting was adjourned because he felt unwell.

Subsequently Dennis, who had suffered long-term with depression, was signed off work sick by his GP for six weeks.

When he was given a date for the hearing to reconvene he immediately contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for help.

Our representatives are experts in supporting employees who face multiple allegations. Upon reviewing the case it was felt that Dennis, although he admitted some allegations, was being treated unfairly.

Key in this was the fact he had suffered depression long-term, his employer was aware of this but had not provided any meaningful support and at the time of the allegations Dennis had suffered a mental health crisis.

As Dennis had suffered with depression for more than 12 months it can be considered a disability in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

It was felt the use of anonymous witness statements in the disciplinary case was unfair and unjustified and allegations were not supported with evidence or witness statements.

A grievance was raised on behalf of Dennis. It was on the grounds of disability discrimination and other unfair treatment including being put through an unreasonable disciplinary process.

Our representative requested the disciplinary process be suspended in accordance with section 46 of the ACAS Code to allow the grievance to be dealt with first.

The employer agreed to do so, but said it would not consider complaints about the disciplinary process as part of the grievance as they could be addressed at the disciplinary hearing.

At the grievance meeting our representative explained the treatment of Dennis can be considered to amount to disability discrimination.

It was because his depression can be considered a disability, the employer was aware but had not made any reasonable adjustments to support him and he was being disciplined for matters that directly related to his disability, as they occurred when he was suffering a mental health crisis.

Other aspects of unfair treatment Dennis had been subjected to were explained.

Important in any grievance process is the employee’s desired outcome.

At the time of the grievance hearing Dennis just wanted to be able to leave without being dismissed.

It led to our representative initiating a discussion about a settlement agreement.

This was discussed, some negotiations later took place, the terms were eventually agreed and Dennis was allowed to leave in the way he wanted.

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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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