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Facing Disciplinary Action after Making a Formal Complaint

Tense Meeting

When Ben complained to his manager that he had been beaten up by a senior member of staff the response really did add insult to injury.

Ben suffered a cut lip and broken wrist trying to stop his fall when he was punched to the ground during a break.

When quizzed about the assault Ben’s attacker denied the allegation and complained that restaurant worker Ben had unnecessarily discarded food. Ben was called to his manager’s office and asked to explain his actions.

He acknowledged that he did throw the food away, but only after it had fallen on the floor and was therefore unfit for human consumption. Ben also admitted that he was visibly upset after the unprovoked attack.

Shocked Ben was suspended and informed no action was going to be taken against his assailant.

Ben attended an investigation meeting after which he was informed he was required to attend a disciplinary hearing to face allegations about the discarded the food and damaging company property.

Justifiably Ben felt aggrieved and he contacted Castle Associates for help. Ben believed the allegations were created in an attempt to cover up the attack he suffered, and although upset afterwards he denied a new allegation that he punched and broke a catering grill.

Our representative helped Ben to raise a formal grievance in relation to the assault and the company’s handling of it, and to request it be heard by a manager from another branch of the national restaurant chain. The disciplinary process was suspended as requested by our representative.

The Acas Code of Practice does say where an employee raises a grievance during a disciplinary process the disciplinary process may be temporarily suspended in order to deal with the grievance.

To support his grievance Ben was able to use witness evidence from the disciplinary case, medical evidence of his injuries, evidence of his attacker’s bullying behaviour and national newspaper coverage of his violent past.

The employer upheld parts of the grievance and later informed Ben that his assailant had left the business, but due to confidentiality it could not discuss the reasons why.

The employer then restarted the disciplinary process. At the disciplinary hearing our representative presented Ben’s case and he was cleared of both allegations.

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