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Case Studies

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Reaching the correct destination after an unfair journey through the disciplinary process

Published 09 February 2022

There is a well-known saying ‘third time lucky’ - but for glass fitter Shay it was definitely third time unlucky.

Shay had been involved in two previous road traffic accidents when his employer is said to have received a complaint about his ‘dangerous driving’.

A member of the public reported that Shay, driving a company van emblazoned with his employer’s name,  jumped a red light and nearly caused a collision.

Following the two previous accidents, about 18 months before the new complaint,  Shay was invited to a disciplinary hearing. He was issued with a final written warning, which expired after 12 months.

When Shay, who had worked for his employer for seven years, contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre he explained why he needed help.

Shay said he was baffled by the allegation. He was adamant he had not jumped a red light and had a near miss with any other vehicle.

He explained to our representative that when summoned to his manager’s office he was expecting to discuss his holiday entitlement after he had complained about his annual leave.

Instead shocked Shay was informed of the complaint about his driving, and told that given his poor driving record the decision had been taken to dismiss him.

Distraught Shay  protested his innocence. His manager said he had checked Shay’s diary, which showed he was working in the area at the time where the incident was alleged to have taken place.

The brutal manner of the dismissal and the way in which it was done left Shay convinced it was an unfair dismissal. It was a view shared by our representative.

The decision to dismiss Shay was not confirmed in writing as it should have been. He was also not notified he had the right to appeal.

Our representative contacted the employer to ask for confirmation of the decision in writing and an explanation for it, pointing out the Shay was entitled to it.

Shay received a letter a couple of days later. It confirmed  his dismissal was for dangerous driving and based on his poor driving record. The letter notified Shay he had the right to appeal.

Our representative submitted a disciplinary appeal letter on behalf of Shay. The grounds for appeal were that the decision was grossly unfair and a fair process had not been followed.

Shay was invited to a disciplinary appeal hearing. Prior to the hearing our representative emailed the employer to request all of the evidence that was gathered, considered a used in taking the decision to dismiss Shay.

In a subsequent exchange of correspondence with the employer, our representative queried what tangible evidence there actually was to support the allegation e.g. notes or statement or written complaint from the witness or tracking information from the vehicle.

The employer confirmed the decision was based on what was said in a phone call from a member of the public and nothing was in writing, Shay’s diary that showed he was in the area where the incident occurred and the previous accidents.

Asked by our representative for details of the exact location of the incident and time it took place. The employer could only give the name of an A road and say it was in the morning.

At the appeal hearing our representative highlighted a number of significant failings in the case, which included the lack of evidence and details to support the allegation, failure to follow a fair disciplinary process which breached the ACAS Code of Practice and company’s own disciplinary procedure and unfair reliance on previous warnings that had expired.

Shay loved his job and his desired disciplinary appeal outcome was to be reinstated.

Two days after the appeal hearing he was delighted when he received an outcome letter confirming the decision to dismiss him had been overturned.

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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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