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Case Studies

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When taking a break from work proves far too stressful

Published 27 February 2019

By the very nature of his job Randolph was a stickler for detail and for ensuring figures were correct.

As an accountant numbers were his speciality, so to be accused of dishonesty for a miscalculation was devastating.

When Randolph contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for help he was facing a single allegation of falsification and representation of his annual leave entitlement.

He had worked for the same employer and for eight years and was given the method to use to calculate his annual leave by his manager.

Randolph’s problems started when a new manager took over and she had new ideas about how to run the business.

Randolph was initially untroubled the appointment of new manager despite two long-standing colleagues quickly leaving with settlement agreements.

As time went on Randolph was often rebuked by his manager for his work in front of colleagues. He found this demoralising, but did not complain as it regularly happened to colleagues.

The manager’s behaviour became more aggressive and volatile towards Randolph. He was later diagnosed with work-related stress and off for six weeks. The company did have a stress at work policy

Randolph attended a return to work interview with his manager. He was asked some basic questions about his health before the focus quickly shifted to his annual leave.

His manager produced printouts of the time off he had in the last two years, she said it was more than permitted and accused him of acting dishonestly.

Randolph argued his leave was always checked and approved by his manager. He felt extremely uncomfortable and said he wanted to leave the meeting.

His manager suggested he could resign as it would be better than being dismissed for falsification of annual leave.

Randolph left the meeting and contacted the managing director to complain about his treatement. Following this conversation Randolph decided to submit a formal grievance in writing about his manager’s bullying behaviour and the damaging impact this was having on him. He did this the same day.

The following day Randolph received a letter from his manager inviting him to attend a disciplinary hearing for the falsification of his annual leave.

When our representative contacted the employer on behalf of Randolph he requested that the disciplinary process be suspended while the grievance was heard, investigated and resolved. He argued that as the grievance included a claim of bullying behaviour in relation to annual leave and if upheld it could have serious implications for the disciplinary process. The company insisted it would hear the case concurrently, and on the same day.

The grievance hearing took place first. Prior to the hearing our representative had requested the notes of the company’s return to work interview with Randolph and the policy and guidance as to how such meetings should be conducted. He was able to use this information to demonstrate the meeting was not conducted in accordance with company policy.

The disciplinary allegation about the amount of annual leave taken by Randolph claimed that the ‘method of calculation was incorrect’. Prior to the hearing our representative requested the correct method of calculation, which was not provided.

Our representative told the hearing that Randolph had calculated his leave in the same way for many years, was not aware of any other way to do so and evidence should be available to show it was always checked and approved by his manager.

Our representative insisted that in the circumstances it would be grossly unfair for the company to go ahead with the disciplinary hearing.

Following a lengthy discussion with the grievance hearing chair, who was also due to chair the disciplinary hearing, it was eventually decided to postpone the disciplinary hearing.

The following week Randolph was informed the disciplinary hearing would not go ahead. The letter contained details of a new annual leave policy containing details on booking annual leave.

Randolph’s manager had not been in work after she handed him the disciplinary letter, and she did not return.

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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

A reputation built on success

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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