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  • FIRST POST
    • madfiddler
    • By madfiddler 7th Jul 17, 3:08 AM
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    madfiddler
    Suspended but asked what I did wrong
    • #1
    • 7th Jul 17, 3:08 AM
    Suspended but asked what I did wrong 7th Jul 17 at 3:08 AM
    Hi all,

    A couple of weeks after the birth of my daughter I was suspended from work. They actually initiated it all the day before we went into hospital. When they emailed the request I asked what it was about as I was stressed and they said they had a couple of things to talk about and ended the mail with a smiley face.

    I was told I was being suspended due to an allegation into a breach of trust and confidentiality but not further details were given.

    There is a second allegation into attitude and behaviour but that's not what the suspension is about.

    I had to think hard what this could be and came up with something quite insignificant but in black and white could meet this description.

    At the investigation meeting I still wasn't told but was asked to tell them what I thought it might be. So I told them, but isn't this a tad unfair? I may be completely wrong and am just giving them evidence?

    They also didn't ask me the reason, or background, Which caused me to do what I did , but reworded what I said using the word knowingly, which it was not.

    Apologies if this is too cryptic
Page 2
    • andygb
    • By andygb 14th Jul 17, 8:26 AM
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    andygb
    My advice to the OP, would be this.
    Find out exactly why they have suspended you, and if there is another meeting, take someone with you.
    It sounds like the original meeting was a bit of a "fishing trip" for them.
    When I have been present at investigations/disciplinary meetings, any accusations/charges/reasons have been clearly outlined, usually before the meeting takes place.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 14th Jul 17, 8:40 AM
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    Undervalued
    My advice to the OP, would be this.
    Find out exactly why they have suspended you, and if there is another meeting, take someone with you.
    It sounds like the original meeting was a bit of a "fishing trip" for them.
    When I have been present at investigations/disciplinary meetings, any accusations/charges/reasons have been clearly outlined, usually before the meeting takes place.
    Originally posted by andygb
    The OP only has a right to be accompanied (by a work colleague or trades union rep) if it is a disciplinary meeting. That right does not extend to investigations, although it is possible the employer may allow it.
    • andygb
    • By andygb 14th Jul 17, 10:09 AM
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    andygb
    The OP only has a right to be accompanied (by a work colleague or trades union rep) if it is a disciplinary meeting. That right does not extend to investigations, although it is possible the employer may allow it.
    Originally posted by Undervalued

    Please read this advice by ACAS.

    http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5613



    I also think that the OP's employer has failed to follow ACAS advice on how to set up an investigation.

    http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/o/5/Conducting-workplace-investigations.pdf
    Last edited by andygb; 14-07-2017 at 10:19 AM. Reason: deleted incorrect information
    • andygb
    • By andygb 14th Jul 17, 10:18 AM
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    andygb
    I also think that the OP's employer should not have suspended them following the investigation.

    https://worksmart.org.uk/work-rights/trouble-work/employer-problems/i-have-been-suspended-work-while-investigations-alleged
    • ohreally
    • By ohreally 14th Jul 17, 10:19 AM
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    ohreally
    Undervalued is correct, there is no right to be accompanied at this point, it is purely discretionary. The disciplinary process starts when a hearing has been convened.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 14th Jul 17, 10:37 AM
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    sangie595
    Please read this advice by ACAS.

    http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5613



    I also think that the OP's employer has failed to follow ACAS advice on how to set up an investigation.

    http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/o/5/Conducting-workplace-investigations.pdf
    Originally posted by andygb
    There is a vast difference between "advice" and "requirement". Failing to follow ACAS advice is no longer a factor in law. Provided the employer follows a reasonable process, and there is no evidence that they are not, then the employer can do as they wish with any consequences from a tribunal. The fact that they do not operate as you or I might wish them to does not mean that they are acting in a legally unfair manner. The same is true of suspension. If an employer wishes to suspend someone on full pay, then that is up to them. It is their judgement on the matter that a tribunal will accept. A suspension, in rare circumstances, and after very many months, may be deemed unfair. But we are a long way off such circumstances yet.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 14th Jul 17, 11:02 AM
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    Undervalued
    Please read this advice by ACAS.

    http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5613



    I also think that the OP's employer has failed to follow ACAS advice on how to set up an investigation.

    http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/o/5/Conducting-workplace-investigations.pdf
    Originally posted by andygb
    I have seen it many times but what I said about the right to be accompanied is correct.
    • andygb
    • By andygb 14th Jul 17, 2:14 PM
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    andygb
    There is no evidence of any witness statements or evidence, and the OP has not been informed what he has done wrong.
    It is yet another example of employers running roughshod over their staff.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 14th Jul 17, 3:00 PM
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    Undervalued
    There is no evidence of any witness statements or evidence, and the OP has not been informed what he has done wrong.
    It is yet another example of employers running roughshod over their staff.
    Originally posted by andygb
    That it may be if you want to put a political or indignant slant on it.

    However, there is nothing here to suggest that the employer has (yet) done anything unlawful.

    Suspension is a neutral act and as Sangie has indicated, if an employer wants to suspend somebody on full pay whilst they investigate something they can. Financially the employer is the one losing out, not the OP. Unless they take it to ridiculous lengths there is no redress.

    If, and only if, they ultimately take disciplinary action and dismiss the OP can he consider the merits of an unfair dismissal claim.

    The precise technicalities of the procedure the employer follows is now of far less significance than was once the case.
    Last edited by Undervalued; 14-07-2017 at 3:10 PM.
    • andygb
    • By andygb 14th Jul 17, 5:10 PM
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    andygb
    That it may be if you want to put a political or indignant slant on it.

    However, there is nothing here to suggest that the employer has (yet) done anything unlawful.

    Suspension is a neutral act and as Sangie has indicated, if an employer wants to suspend somebody on full pay whilst they investigate something they can. Financially the employer is the one losing out, not the OP. Unless they take it to ridiculous lengths there is no redress.

    If, and only if, they ultimately take disciplinary action and dismiss the OP can he consider the merits of an unfair dismissal claim.

    The precise technicalities of the procedure the employer follows is now of far less significance than was once the case.
    Originally posted by Undervalued

    Well, I think an employment lawyer may take a very different view to that, because if I was suspended (even on full pay) and not been told why - no details whatsoever, then I would either take advice form my union, or contact a specialist firm of solicitors.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 14th Jul 17, 7:18 PM
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    Undervalued
    Well, I think an employment lawyer may take a very different view to that, because if I was suspended (even on full pay) and not been told why - no details whatsoever, then I would either take advice form my union, or contact a specialist firm of solicitors.
    Originally posted by andygb
    Well you may think that but I'm afraid you would be wrong.

    Currently the only way the OP could take this to a tribunal is to resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal. A risky strategy indeed!

    As I said, at the moment they are not in any way out of pocket as they are on full pay. Either the employer will drop the matter and lift the suspension or proceed to a disciplinary. If that happens they will have to put forward their "charges" and listen to the OP's defence. Should that result in dismissal then the OP can consider a tribunal if they consider they have been (legally) unfairly treated.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 14th Jul 17, 8:18 PM
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    sangie595
    Well, I think an employment lawyer may take a very different view to that, because if I was suspended (even on full pay) and not been told why - no details whatsoever, then I would either take advice form my union, or contact a specialist firm of solicitors.
    Originally posted by andygb
    Both of whom would tell you exactly what you have been told here! Not believing it doesn't make it incorrect. There is NO right to be told the details of the investigation, or to be given witness statements or evidence ( you do realise, don't you, that the purpose of the investigation is to obtain those???). These are rights attached to a disciplinary. Suspension is a neutral act, to allow for investigation.

    And regardless of what you think, so far there is no evidence of the employer riding roughshod over the employee. They are investigating. At the end of that there may be nothing. At the end of that there might be something. But if it is the latter, that does not mean that the something isn't true. We cannot assume any allegations at all, or guilt or innocence - all we know is that the employer is investigating something. And there is no evidence that they are not conducting that investigation within the bounds of the law.
    • Geoff1963
    • By Geoff1963 14th Jul 17, 11:57 PM
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    Geoff1963
    I'm somewhat with the OP on this.

    A suspension and an investigation, will come with formal letters from HR saying that they are carrying out a process which could lead to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Given the severe psychological effect this is likely to have, any employer which claims to value the mental health of its employees, needs to show restraint. Even if the OP is cleared on all counts, the stress of the event is a "punishment" ( in the psychological sense ).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mock_execution

    Imagine getting a phone call from the police, asking you to call in at your local station, and answer a few questions ; being told that you are under caution, and while you have the right to remain silent, it may harm your defence if you do not mention something which you later rely on in court. The police ( should ) only do that, if they have reasonable grounds.
    HR have to recognise that people could make all sorts of allegations against others, just to get those others threatened by HR.

    I can't see why the OP had to be suspended, nor even why an investigation couldn't be carried out without informing him. If the OP was acting badly towards a particular person, then a suspension would keep them apart ; but the OP works from home. If the OP was misbehaving commercially, then oversight procedures being focused on him, would spot anything amiss ; and allowing the OP to continue business as usual, oblivious to the investigation, would be more likely to provide evidence.
    • andygb
    • By andygb 15th Jul 17, 1:02 AM
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    andygb
    Both of whom would tell you exactly what you have been told here! Not believing it doesn't make it incorrect. There is NO right to be told the details of the investigation, or to be given witness statements or evidence ( you do realise, don't you, that the purpose of the investigation is to obtain those???). These are rights attached to a disciplinary. Suspension is a neutral act, to allow for investigation.

    And regardless of what you think, so far there is no evidence of the employer riding roughshod over the employee. They are investigating. At the end of that there may be nothing. At the end of that there might be something. But if it is the latter, that does not mean that the something isn't true. We cannot assume any allegations at all, or guilt or innocence - all we know is that the employer is investigating something. And there is no evidence that they are not conducting that investigation within the bounds of the law.
    Originally posted by sangie595

    You are deluded.
    Being suspended without being told why - unbelievable.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 15th Jul 17, 8:20 AM
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    sangie595
    You are deluded.
    Being suspended without being told why - unbelievable.
    Originally posted by andygb
    No, it is you who are deluded. There is a difference between opinion and fact. One that you appear not to have grasped.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 15th Jul 17, 8:24 AM
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    sangie595
    I'm somewhat with the OP on this.

    A suspension and an investigation, will come with formal letters from HR saying that they are carrying out a process which could lead to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Given the severe psychological effect this is likely to have, any employer which claims to value the mental health of its employees, needs to show restraint. Even if the OP is cleared on all counts, the stress of the event is a "punishment" ( in the psychological sense ).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mock_execution

    Imagine getting a phone call from the police, asking you to call in at your local station, and answer a few questions ; being told that you are under caution, and while you have the right to remain silent, it may harm your defence if you do not mention something which you later rely on in court. The police ( should ) only do that, if they have reasonable grounds.
    HR have to recognise that people could make all sorts of allegations against others, just to get those others threatened by HR.

    I can't see why the OP had to be suspended, nor even why an investigation couldn't be carried out without informing him. If the OP was acting badly towards a particular person, then a suspension would keep them apart ; but the OP works from home. If the OP was misbehaving commercially, then oversight procedures being focused on him, would spot anything amiss ; and allowing the OP to continue business as usual, oblivious to the investigation, would be more likely to provide evidence.
    Originally posted by Geoff1963
    Again, I am going to point out that this is opinion - not fact. You are confusing the two. The opinion is nice, and actually, nobody here would disagree with the opinion. It would be nicer if things had been done differently. But the fact is that the employer does not have to do them differently. There is no law that will force the employer to do this differently. So agreeing with the OP may be comforting for them, but it doesn't achieve any practical result.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 15th Jul 17, 10:35 AM
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    Undervalued
    I'm somewhat with the OP on this.

    A suspension and an investigation, will come with formal letters from HR saying that they are carrying out a process which could lead to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Given the severe psychological effect this is likely to have, any employer which claims to value the mental health of its employees, needs to show restraint. Even if the OP is cleared on all counts, the stress of the event is a "punishment" ( in the psychological sense ).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mock_execution

    Imagine getting a phone call from the police, asking you to call in at your local station, and answer a few questions ; being told that you are under caution, and while you have the right to remain silent, it may harm your defence if you do not mention something which you later rely on in court. The police ( should ) only do that, if they have reasonable grounds.
    HR have to recognise that people could make all sorts of allegations against others, just to get those others threatened by HR.

    I can't see why the OP had to be suspended, nor even why an investigation couldn't be carried out without informing him. If the OP was acting badly towards a particular person, then a suspension would keep them apart ; but the OP works from home. If the OP was misbehaving commercially, then oversight procedures being focused on him, would spot anything amiss ; and allowing the OP to continue business as usual, oblivious to the investigation, would be more likely to provide evidence.
    Originally posted by Geoff1963
    Which is all completely irrelevant to the OP situation. This is not a police investigation into a criminal matter.

    You can debate all you like about whether the employer could have behaved "nicer" but there is no doubt whatsoever (based on what has been posted here) that they are behaving perfectly lawfully.

    As I have pointed out the employer is incurring significant cost by having the OP suspended on full pay. However that is their choice and one that they clearly consider appropriate under the circumstances.

    Remember too that we have, inevitably, only heard one side of the story.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 15th Jul 17, 10:49 AM
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    Undervalued
    You are deluded.
    Being suspended without being told why - unbelievable.
    Originally posted by andygb
    No, s/he is not but you clearly have little understanding of employment law.

    There is nothing whatever wrong (legally) with being suspended whilst an employer investigates allegations and there is no automatic right to know what those allegations are. The employee may have a right to obtain certain information by making a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act but that is all. Some at least of information is likely to be exempt from disclosure and in any case the request could take a couple of months to be processed.

    As has been repeatedly explained, if and only if the matter proceeds to a disciplinary hearing then the employer will have to disclose far more information or risk the hearing being procedurally unfair. Even then, depending on the circumstances, they may be able to withhold some information or redact parts of documents.

    This is not a criminal court where charges must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. To dismiss fairly (in law) an employer only needs a reasonable belief that the misconduct took place.

    It really is not helping the OP to pretend otherwise.
    • Geoff1963
    • By Geoff1963 15th Jul 17, 7:36 PM
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    Geoff1963
    any employer which claims to value the mental health of its employees
    If the OP's HR department doesn't understand the effect on the OP, they need better training ; but if they do understand, but do it anyway, they need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

    I expect the OP's employer has some kind of internal policy, about not threatening or harassing one's co-workers. Threatening dismissal ( as any disciplinary procedure does ) with no explanation, is likely to have a long-lasting effect on the OP's performance. If they are cleared, I would be expecting some kind of apology ; for the stated lack of trust.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 15th Jul 17, 9:12 PM
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    Undervalued
    If the OP's HR department doesn't understand the effect on the OP, they need better training ; but if they do understand, but do it anyway, they need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

    I expect the OP's employer has some kind of internal policy, about not threatening or harassing one's co-workers. Threatening dismissal ( as any disciplinary procedure does ) with no explanation, is likely to have a long-lasting effect on the OP's performance. If they are cleared, I would be expecting some kind of apology ; for the stated lack of trust.
    Originally posted by Geoff1963
    But there is no disciplinary procedure yet and there may not be one at all! So, there is no threat of dismissal!

    They cannot be cleared unless they are "charged" with something and they may well not be.

    Why should the employer apologise for investigating a complaint? That surely is the proper thing to do? They have a duty to both parties.
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