Wed 15 May, 2019
Fighting crime and left battling to save job.
What happens to a security guard when he does his job to the best of his ability and as expected?
This may sound like the start of a joke, and you may be waiting for the punchline, but the answer was no laughing matter for Dane.
When Dane contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre he was in desperate need of help.
During his seven years working as a security guard at a shopping centre he had to confront and deal with numerous shoplifters.
He had been punched, slapped, threatened and spat out, but managed all incidents without complaint.
So when Dane was notified to attend a disciplinary hearing for assaulting a shoplifter he was devastated.
Prior to the hearing our representative had reviewed the company’s evidence against Dane, which included CCTV footage.
Dane was warned in the letter inviting him to the hearing that dismissal was a potential outcome. He was determined to clear his name.
When Dane discussed his desired outcome with our representative he was clear that he did not want to leave, and ruled out the idea of a settlement agreement.
The CCTV footage showed Dane confronting a male shoplifter as he left the store, the man pointing aggressively at Dane, throwing and missing with a punch before running off. He is pursued out of the shopping centre by Dane and two other security guards.
The shoplifter later complained that he was assaulted by Dane while on the floor outside of the centre. Dane strenuously denied the allegation, and that part of the incident was not captured on CCTV.
Dane was suspended from work by his manager who advised it would be best if he resigned. Dane insisted that he would not do so because he was innocent.
Dane’s boss told him that a female employee was going to raise a formal grievance against him and even if he is cleared of the assault allegation, that complaint is likely to lead to him being sacked.
At the disciplinary hearing our representative went through the evidence that the company was using to support the allegation of assault.
It included a complaint from the shoplifter in which he claimed that Dane head-butted him knocking him to the ground before punching and kicking him in the head repeatedly.
Our representative highlighted that the man had no injuries consistent with the sustained and violent attack he described, and never complained of being injured as can be expected if subjected to such an assault.
The statements from the two other security guards confirmed that it was a male member of the public who stopped the man when he saw Dane chasing him. The guards said the shoplifter turned violent and reasonable force was used to stop him.
Dane managed to track down the member of the public who helped. He was a shop worker from a nearby store and provided a statement presented at the hearing, which said Dane did not assault the shoplifter.
The statements were used to argue that there was no evidence to support the allegation of assault against Dane.
The CCTV was referred to in order to show the shoplifter’s violent reaction when first confronted by Dane, and to support the fact he was aggressive from the outset.
Prior to the disciplinary hearing our representative had requested Dane’s training record. He used this to assert that Dane had not received the relevant training for dealing with the situation he found himself in, and that the company had not fully equipped him to do the job leaving him exposed to the allegation he faced.
Dane’s previous work and a commendation he received for his role in a major incident at the shopping centre were used to demonstrate his good character.
The disciplinary hearing chair asked a number of questions, which appeared to indicate that she felt Dane had been in the wrong. As a result he feared the worst.
Dane was relieved when he received a letter the following week clearing him of the allegation and informing him that he could return to work.
The grievance his manager suggested was going to be raised against him never materialised.
“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