Being targeted and facing disciplinary action for all the wrong reasons
Published 27 March 2018
For an employee facing repeated disciplinary action the obvious conclusion is they are either not very good at their job or someone has really got it in for them.
Cleaning supervisor George was confident he knew the reason why he was facing disciplinary action, when he was notified to attend his third disciplinary hearing in just a few weeks.
His job was part of a TUPE transfer to the new owner of the company. Under TUPE, the new employer takes over employees’ employment contracts, including all the previous terms and conditions of employment.
It was obvious to George, after five years’ of previously uneventful service, that things had changed – and not for the better. He had been applying for new jobs prior to the business transfer.
George was told straightaway his role as a supervisor was being reviewed. He was presented with new terms and conditions, which included a change of duties and pay cut.
George was unhappy and submitted a formal grievance, based on a breach of TUPE regulations and feeling bullied and intimidated in the way it was being handled. The grievance was acknowledged by the company.
Later the same week George was notified to attend a disciplinary hearing for leaving work before the end of his shift.
He was not informed of his statutory right to be accompanied at the disciplinary hearing by a companion, and attended on his own.
George was able to use the records of him swiping in to gain access to the site and his rota to demonstrate that he left work on time, on the dates in question.
Two weeks later George was notified to attend another disciplinary hearing, and he could not believe what was happening to him. His grievance had still not been heard despite him chasing it up with HR.
George was informed two female cleaners had made allegations of bullying against him. He was not provided with any evidence prior to the hearing, and was told he would be given the evidence at the meeting.
George sought advice from an old colleague, who was former trade union rep. He advised him to point out that failing to provide evidence before a hearing is a breach of the ACAS Coe of Practice, which all employers are encouraged to follow.
George followed the advice and the disciplinary hearing was adjourned. He was informed the company would get back to him about what will happen next.
However, 10 days later George was notified a new allegation of racism had been made against him. This time he was provided with three anonymous witness statements, and invited to attend another disciplinary hearing.
George’s protests about his treatment, grievance not being heard and query about the previous disciplinary hearing, which had been adjourned were all ignored.
Justifiably feeling targeted and victimised George contacted the Castle Associates employee support centre for advice.
Our representative was appalled by the treatment George had suffered. She insisted the company suspend the disciplinary process and hear, investigate and resolve the grievance first as it implicated senior members of staff all involved in the three unfair disciplinary allegations George has faced.
After telephone and email correspondence the company agreed to hear the grievance first. Prior to the grievance hearing George had managed to land a new job.
His desired outcome to the grievance was to reach a settlement agreement that would allow him to leave immediately.
Our representative presented George’s grievance and highlighted breaches of TUPE regulations, the ACAS Code, employment law guidance and the company’s own policies to demonstrate how unfairly he had been treated.
A discussion and subsequent negotiations took place about a settlement agreement.
It was agreed that George could leave immediately, the disciplinary allegations would be dropped, and he would be guaranteed a reference and be given a five figure payment.