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Case Studies

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Facing the sack after raising a legitimate complaint

Published 12 June 2017

For an employee found to be responsible for a dereliction of duty the disciplinary outcome can appear inevitable.

Such allegations if considered proven will usually result in dismissal.

However, our representatives at Castle Associates are experts in dealing with such matters and securing successful outcomes for employees wrongly accused of serious misconduct.

This was exactly case with Julie, a support worker at a Nottingham care home for vulnerable children.

Prior to the disciplinary allegations Julie raised serious concerns with her manager about a colleague incorrectly giving medication to a service user and falsifying records. The male colleague had more than 10 years’ experience.

Julie raised the concerns verbally and in an email, but during the subsequent two-week period no action was taken.

She was eventually invited to the manager’s office ‘to discuss a few things’ and then informed she was being suspended for a dereliction of duty. The allegation was based solely on evidence from the colleague Julie had raised concerns about.

It was alleged that Julie had been sleeping while on night duty. In the company disciplinary policy the allegation was listed as gross misconduct.

Julie contacted Castle Associates for help. After reviewing the evidence our representative was immediately concerned about the fairness of the process, the lack of evidence to support the allegation and the fact Julie’s concerns had never been explored or acted upon.

At the hearing our representative highlighted these factors and the fact that Julie can be considered a whistle-blower. As such she should have been protected from unfavourable treatment.

An employee can be considered a whistle-blower if they report certain types of wrongdoing. As a whistle-blower the worker is protected by law and should not be treated unfairly or lose their job because they ‘blow the whistle’

Julie was cleared of any wrongdoing. However, she felt she could no longer trust her employer and did not want to return to work.

Our representative made the employer aware of this and took part in negotiations to reach a settlement agreement with the company. Julie was paid several months’ salary, her notice period, paid for her outstanding holidays and guaranteed a reference.

A settlement agreement is a legally binding contract made between an employee and employer, either during or after employment, which formally agrees the leaving terms between the parties.

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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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