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Case Studies

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What is a Representatives Role?

Published 12 June 2018

Over the years our representatives have often had to salvage the best they can from some hopeless situations.
And when Kenny was dismissed for throwing a glass of water in his manager’s face during a disciplinary hearing…it’s downplaying it somewhat to say it was not the best position one of our reps have ever found themselves in.

However, after some discussion and negotiation a settlement agreement was eventually reached.
Kenny was accused of stealing returned items from the small fashion retailer where he worked. He categorically denied the allegation.

At the disciplinary hearing Kenny’s male manager was called by the company as a witness. The meeting was voice recorded with the permission of all present.

The ACAS Code of Practice guidance allows employees to ask questions of witness evidence.

While being quizzed the manager claimed he had CCTV of Kenny taking the items and other items in recent weeks.

Our representative and Kenny reacted in shock. No such footage had been referred to previously or provided as evidence.

When challenged the manager admitted there was no footage and he said it to see Kenny’s reaction and if he would confess.

Kenny lost his temper and reacted immediately. He threw his glass of water in his manager’s face before making it known in an expletive-laden verbal tirade what he thought. The hearing was abandoned.

Our representative wrote to the company to point out that if it wished to deal with the incident it should do so separately to the original allegation. The correspondence also contained an unreserved apology from Kenny for his actions under extreme provocation.

He highlighted that the company’s disciplinary procedure does state that before taking any formal action it will always hold and investigation meeting to establish the facts during the disciplinary investigation process.

But Kenny received a letter the following day informing him he had been dismissed for assaulting his manager by throwing water at him.

Our representative submitted an appeal on behalf of Kenny. It was on the basis the company did not adhere to its own procedure, did not hold a disciplinary hearing to consider the specific allegation or significant mitigating factors.

The company insisted that it would deal with the original allegations at the appeal hearing. Our representative protested at this proposed course of action as Kenny had lost all trust and confidence in the process and company, and did not now believe he would ever get a fair hearing.

Our representative encouraged the company to discuss the matter to try to reach a speedy resolution.

During the discussion he highlighted the extreme provocation Kenny faced in his manager blatantly lying to get a reaction, which was captured on the recording of the meeting. He also pointed out Kenny had been suspended from work, arrested and had his house searched before being cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by the police.  

There was also history between Kenny and his manager. They worked alongside each other and two months before he was promoted the manager had submitted an unfounded grievance against Kenny.

It was also emphasised that Kenny had worked for the company for eight years, had an exemplary disciplinary record, was in a position of trust training new staff, had expressed remorse and apologised for throwing the water.

The company insisted it was justified in its actions, but agreed it would be better to conclude matters as quickly as possible.

The settlement agreement ensured Kenny would be paid up until the date it was signed, paid his notice period and for his outstanding holidays. The dismissal would be removed from his record and he would be guaranteed a standard reference.

That reference helped him to get the first job he applied for with a well-known high street fashion retailer.

 

 

 

 

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