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Facing Malicious Allegations Made Out of Spite

Published 14 March 2017

Having been bullied in the workplace you can imagine the horror experienced by Martha when she was the one accused of bullying a colleague.

A female supervisor at the telecommunications company where they worked submitted a formal grievance against Martha.

Martha had previously raised a grievance against the same supervisor, which had been dealt with informally.

This type of tit-for-tat grievance is not uncommon and Castle Associates representatives are used to dealing with this type of situation.

Martha, a mother of five, did temporarily loose her cool when stopped from leaving work to pick up her youngest child who had been taken ill at nursery.

The supervisor claimed Martha was threatening during the incident, and alleged that she usually is towards her and others.

The company, which is a large national employer, suspended Martha and conducted an investigation into the supervisor’s grievance.

At an investigation meeting Martha denied the allegations and insisted that she was in fact the victim of bullying, but the company did not explore this.

Martha was later notified to attend a disciplinary hearing and contacted Castle Associates for assistance.

Having reviewed all of the evidence our representative attended the disciplinary hearing with Martha. He highlighted the fact that Martha was remorseful and had temporarily lost her cool after being treated unfairly yet again by the supervisor.

Our representative pointed out there was no evidence from any other member of staff claiming Martha had bullied them or supporting the supervisor’s allegation. He was able to use the supervisor’s statement as evidence to demonstrate that she had bullied Martha.

The supervisor stated she deliberately ignores Martha and had no intention of ever speaking to her unless it was absolutely necessary. The company bullying and harassment policy listed deliberately ignoring a colleague as an act of bullying. The supervisor also claimed that Martha may be hot tempered because of her African origin.

Our representative argued that the employer had ignored irrefutable evidence of bullying and racism by the supervisor and in choosing to do so Martha could justifiably claim she was the victim of a witch-hunt.

The disciplinary chair accepted that the investigation ‘could have been handled better’ and she cleared Martha of the allegations.

Martha wished to return to work and was happy to take part in mediation that enabled her to do so.

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