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Easing the pain of a car crash of a disciplinary process

Published 11 October 2023

When Mia was ‘knocked over’ by a colleague’s vehicle she never imagined the pain it would cause.

She suffered back and knee injuries in the low-speed collision in the car park adjacent to the office where she worked as a customer service advisor.

Her workmate was reversing out of a parking bay when the vehicle hit Mia causing her to fall to the ground. There were no witnesses, and no CCTV.

Alerted to the accident a couple of other employees came to help. Mia initially said she was shaken, but ok.

She was given a lift home by another colleague who would later say that Mia ‘seemed absolutely fine.’

What happened afterwards led to Mia losing the job she had held for three years.

She was dismissed because her employer felt she was being dishonest about the extent of the injuries she had suffered.

Her dismissal occurred after Mia found in necessary to raise a grievance because she was upset at being accused of lying, but it was ignored and she was dismissed for dishonesty following a disciplinary hearing that took place in her absence.

Our representative helped Mia to submit a successful disciplinary appeal on the grounds the dismissal process and decision were unfair.

At the disciplinary appeal hearing he highlighted and expressed concern the employer had not sought any medical evidence to understand the extent and impact of Mia’s injuries.

In preparation for the meeting our representative had asked Mia to get a report from her GP, which was presented at the hearing to show her claims were genuine and treatment was ongoing.

The employer’s disregard for Mia’s health in terms of her injuries and inability to attend the disciplinary hearing due to poor mental health at the time, were referred to in order to support how unfairly she had been treated.

Our representatives will always review an employer’s policies and procedures prior to any hearing. In doing so, he was able to point out the company had breached its own processes in what was a thorough presentation of the appeal.

The appeal was upheld, but because Mia had lost trust in her employer she did not want to be reinstated.

Following the appeal hearing a settlement agreement was discussed, negotiated and eventually agreed.

When Mia first contacted our Employee Support Centre, she explained that later in the evening on the day of the accident, the pain in her back and knee became worse and she went to her local A&E. She was examined, sent home and advised to take painkillers.

The following day she called in work sick and was off for six weeks before being invited to an informal/welfare meeting as part of the absence management process.

During that meeting Mia was told she was exaggerating her injuries because of the speed of the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Upset by what was said she decided to raise a grievance. The employer said it would attempt an informal resolution to the grievance in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice

The informal grievance meeting took place virtually. The manager hosting it said she was going to conduct a fact-finding meeting as part of a disciplinary investigation before discussing the grievance.

Images from one of Mia’s social media accounts were shown on screen. They showed her out in different locations and sitting at a table at a party while off sick.

She was effectively accused of being dishonest about her injuries. Mia strongly denied the allegation and insisted her injuries were genuine.

The meeting was abandoned because Mia became tearful and upset.

About 20 minutes after it ended she received an email inviting her to a disciplinary hearing the following week.

Evidence to support the allegation included witness statements from colleagues who spoke to Mia after the accident

Mia suffered with stress and anxiety following the informal/welfare meeting and was not feel well enough to attend the disciplinary hearing. It took place in her absence  and she was dismissed for dishonesty.

That was when Mia first contacted us for help, which would eventually resolve the matter to her satisfaction.

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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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