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disciplinary action after being arrested

Published 13 December 2017

You may be unsure what welcome to expect when returning to work having saved someone from a vicious beating – but the threat of the sack is not one of them.

This is the position Callum found himself in after intervening to stop a woman being beaten up when he was on a Saturday night out.

The admin manager was on his way home in an East Midlands town centre when he saw a man repeatedly punching a screaming woman in the street.

While others stood around watching, some filming on their mobile phones, Callum bravely stepped in to stop the attack.

He became embroiled in a furious fight with the man before police arrived, separated them and arrested a bloodied Callum. He pleaded his innocence to the officers with the support of bystanders, but to no avail. 

The other man was taken away in an ambulance and Callum spent a night in the cells. He was released on bail the following day.

Callum suffered cuts and bruises during the fight and took a couple of days off work. When he called in sick he did not inform his employer about how he had suffered the injuries, and he was not asked.

Unbeknown to Callum his manager had been wrongly informed he had attacked a woman, beaten up a man and been arrested and charged with GBH.

When Callum returned to work he was immediately summoned to his manager’s office. He denied attacking the woman and explained he acted in self-defence, had been arrested on suspicion of assault, not charged and released on bail.

Callum was suspended and sent home and told that the company would be in touch.

Just under a month later Callum answered bail at a police station. He was informed that he would not be charged. Relived Callum notified his employer immediately and he was told that it would now conduct its own disciplinary investigation.

The following week he received a letter inviting him to a disciplinary hearing. The allegation was that his actions had the potential to bring the company's image and reputation into disrepute. The letter warned that if proven the allegation may result in his dismissal.

Callum contacted Castle Associates employee support centre for help. Upon reviewing the case our representative was concerned that the only evidence against Callum was the notes taken when he was suspended and an anonymous statement, which provided the company with inaccurate information about the incident. The only other information included was a copy of the company’s disciplinary policy, with a section highlighted to show that bringing the company into disrepute will be considered an act of gross misconduct.

At the disciplinary hearing our representative presented the company with a letter Callum had requested from the police. The letter stated a file was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service who decided not to take any further action. This also proved the anonymous statement, the only evidence against Callum, was incorrect.

Our representative also highlighted that there was no evidence to indicate the company’s image and reputation had be brought into disrepute as Callum did not do anything wrong, there was no adverse publicity as a result of the case and there was nothing to suggest customers had withdrawn contracts as a result of what happened.

The employer was also informed that even if Callum had been arrested and charged dismissal should not be an automatic sanction. In accordance with employment law it would have to consider the effect of the charge or conviction on his suitability to do the job, his relationship with the company, work colleagues and customers.

Callum was cleared of the disciplinary allegation. Some months later he was asked to appear at Crown Court as a witness against the man who he had stopped from attacking the woman. He was praised by the Judge for his ‘enormous bravery’ in intervening while others stood by. The man was sentenced to two years in prison.


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