When a decision to take disciplinary action is the real villain of the piece.
Published 26 February 2020
When cleaner Imran confronted a knife-wielding schoolboy and prevented him from attacking another pupil in the office block where he worked near a secondary school, he was righty hailed a hero.
He was praised for his courage but that quickly changed, and Imran found himself in a fight of his own - to save his job.
Police were called at the time and the teenager was arrested. He later accused Imran of assault. He alleged he was held by Imran, hit and suffered bruising to his arm and face.
The area outside the office block was covered by CCTV and the incident was captured on film. Police reviewed the footage and the following day arrested Imran on suspicion of assault. He was later released on bail.
When he returned to work Imran informed his manager about the allegation that had been made against him. The manager told Imran to wait in her office while she sought advice from HR.
After she did so Imran was informed that he was suspended from work as a serious criminal allegation had been made against him.
Imran insisted the allegation was false and said that if she looked at the CCTV it would prove it.
As part of the subsequent disciplinary investigation Imran was invited to attend an investigation meeting, held to establish the facts of a case and to see if there is actually a case to answer.
At the investigation meeting the CCTV footage was played to Imran. It showed a boy in a school uniform being chased across the car park. He ran by Imran, who was stood at a side door to the building, and into the office block. Imran was then seen to extend his arms to block the boy chasing him and prevent him from entering the building.
The boy then extends his arm towards Imran and jabs it a couple of times towards his face. Imran steps back to block the doorway and when the boy tries to push him out of the way Imran pushes him back. There is then a verbal exchange before the boy runs off.
Imran told the investigating manager that the boy threatened to stab him and kill the other boy, he was terrified, acted in self-defence and to protect the boy being chased.
A week after the investigation meeting Imran received a letter inviting him to a disciplinary hearing. The allegation was assaulting a child.
Prior to his disciplinary hearing Imran was informed that the police would not be taking any action against him. He told his employer this believing it would lead to it dropping the disciplinary case. However, he was told it would proceed.
Imran feared the worse and he contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for help.
Our representative met with Imran to discuss the case and they were able to review the CCTV footage prior to the disciplinary hearing.
Imran was understandably worried because as well as feeling as if he was being treated unfairly, he had an active disciplinary warning on his record for using his mobile phone at work. He appealed against that warning, went through the disciplinary appeals process, but his appeal was unsuccessful.
At the disciplinary hearing our representative used the CCTV footage to argue that Imran used reasonable force. He told the hearing that Imran was legally entitled to do so to protect himself from an aggressive teenager armed with a knife and to protect another child from harm.
The footage was used to highlight that Imran’s actions could not have caused bruising as alleged as he did not make contact with the boy’s arm or face.
The fact the police were taking no further action was presented by our representative as the best evidence to show that Imran had acted within the law.
The disciplinary hearing chair accepted the arguments and cleared Imran of any wrongdoing. She later praised Imran for his bravery.
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