When being quick to judge can delay justice
Published 10 July 2019
Rightly or wrongly we may at times unfairly judge a person based on what we believe is right or wrong.
For anyone who has ever fallen foul of the law this can create significant problems when it comes to work.
Graphic designer Carla would be the first to admit that she was stupid and got into far too many booze-fuelled scrapes when she was younger.
The turning point in her life came when she avoided jail and was fined by a court for a nightclub incident in which a friend glassed another clubber.
The case made newspaper headlines when it was used to highlight courts being soft on violent crime.
It was the jolt that Carla needed to turn her life around. She gained a degree and worked in her chosen field at a company for nearly three years. She moved on when it started a redundancy consultation process, which resulted in her leaving.
When Carla started work for her new employer her conviction was spent and she did not disclose it. Carla quickly settled in at the firm.
Her problem started, just over two years into the job, when she submitted a formal grievance alleging a colleague was threatening and aggressive when the pair had a dispute over a job.
Carla was unexpectedly called into her manager’s office shortly before her grievance hearing was due to take place. The owner of the company and a HR representative were present.
Carla was asked about her conviction for the nightclub incident. The owner had been sent a copy of an online newspaper report of it by an individual who asked to remain anonymous.
The HR representative said the company would like to have an off the record conversation with Carla.
The owner said he was sickened by the incident, which he had known nothing about. Carla explained the conviction was spent.
Her attempts to explain the incident were brushed off. The owner insisted that she had lied on her application and as she had been convicted by a court she must have been at fault.
Carla was offered the opportunity to resign with immediate effect. She was told that if she did not do so she would be disciplined and dismissed for lying on her application.
She felt overwhelmed and bewildered. Carla was given until midday the following day to confirm how she wished to proceed.
Carla felt she was being treated unfairly. She declined the offer and was told to stay off work and to wait to hear from the company.
The following week Carla received a letter informing her that she had been dismissed for dishonesty. The letter said she had the right to appeal.
Carla submitted an appeal and was invited to attend an appeal hearing to be chaired by a director of the company.
Prior to the appeal hearing Carla contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for help.
Carla made it clear that she had lost all trust and confidence in the company because of the way she had been treated. Her desire was to have the dismissal removed from her record and to be able to walk away with a settlement agreement.
At the appeal hearing our representative initiated a conversation in relation to a settlement agreement. The owner joined the meeting and our representative asserted that Carla was being treated unfairly.
He put forward a settlement proposal on behalf of Carla, which was rejected because of the financial payment. The company made a counter offer, which was rejected by Carla.
There followed some further negotiations. A suitable agreement was eventually reached. It meant Carla would receive a five-figure tax free lump sum as part of the agreement. Importantly for her it was agreed that she would be put down as having resigned.
It what can be considered something of a career makeover, Carla used the settlement money to help to start her own interior design business, which is now flourishing
“A reputation built on success”
For free 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. 0333 772 0611