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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, Solicitor
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38689
Experience:  Expert in UK Employment Law
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Background: After 4 spotless and successful years, I resigned

Resolved Question:

Background:

After 4 spotless and successful years, I resigned to join a competitor and per my contract was placed on garden leave. With less than 2 weeks remaining I have been "invited" by the firm to be "interviewed" in connection with an investigation into an allegation that I may have breached the terms of my garden leave.

The company's representative would not provide me any more details on the allegation or investigation until I meet with them.

While I am 100% confident that I have not contacted any clients or breached the terms of my employment contract it garden leave I am understandably worried that this may be an attempt to "convert" my resignation into a dismissal.

Questions:

1. Should I agree to meet with them before my contract ends?
2. If I delay things until I am no longer contractually bound - will that change anything?
3. In the unlikely event that they decide a breach has occurred are they obligated to provide reliable evidence to support a disciplinary decision?
4. Can a disciplinary decision be enforced/added to my record if the investigation and issue pertains solely to my post resignation period?
5. I am concerned that this could damage my reputation (making future employment very difficult) and potentially impact my ability to start with my new employer (I.e. they could be induced to withdraw the offer). Is this a reasonable concern and if so, what is my recourse?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you have any idea what the employers allegations may be? PS: I am just travelling so may not be able to respond immediately, thanks for your patience

Customer: Not really. The relevant part of the email from the firm is below:
Customer: At this meeting we will discuss matters arising in connection with the following issue: • A telephone enquiry regarding a client’s account/transactions This is not a disciplinary meeting, however, a summary note will be taken and you will be given a copy of the note for your own records. In addition, depending on the outcome of the investigatory process, the Bank may instigate disciplinary proceedings (which may, or may not, involve you) and the findings of the investigation may be relied on in this process. On this basis, you must keep the fact of and issues discussed in this meeting confidential. When we have completed our investigation, our findings will be passed to Human Resources for review.
Customer: This is the frustrating thing - the lack of information.
Customer: One more thing. The proposed meeting is tomorrow afternoon. I was contacted about this on Friday.
Customer: Hello Ben. As stated in my original question,I require an urgent response to my enquiry. I will wait for another hour and then try another expert.
Customer: Actually, after thinking about it, I'll wait to hear from you. Ots a weekend, I Understand you're travelling and there's still time before my potential meeting tomorrow. Please come back as soon as you can.
Ben Jones :

Thanks for your patience. To answer your questions:


 


1. Should I agree to meet with them before my contract ends?


 


If they have asked you to attend a meeting whilst you are still employed by them then you would have an obligation to meet them as you are still under their employ and subject to their rules and policies. Refusing to meet them could be seen as insubordination and a potential disciplinary matter


 


2. If I delay things until I am no longer contractually bound - will that change anything?


 


Once your employment has terminated you would no longer be bound by their rules and decisions and they cannot retrospectively dismiss you if they continue with their investigation and find out reasons to dismiss. Once your employment has ended you do not answer to them and they cannot force you to do anything.


 


3. In the unlikely event that they decide a breach has occurred are they obligated to provide reliable evidence to support a disciplinary decision?


 


In order to justify that disciplinary action on grounds of misconduct was fair, the law requires that the employer:



  • Conducts a reasonable investigation;

  • Follows a fair disciplinary procedure; and

  • Shows they had reasonable grounds to believe the employee was guilty.


 


4. Can a disciplinary decision be enforced/added to my record if the investigation and issue pertains solely to my post resignation period?


 


If you mean the period between you handing in your resignation and leaving them, yes. Any period whilst you are still employed by them will be relevant and they can take it into account.


 


5. I am concerned that this could damage my reputation (making future employment very difficult) and potentially impact my ability to start with my new employer (I.e. they could be induced to withdraw the offer). Is this a reasonable concern and if so, what is my recourse?


 


It really depends on how the employer deals with this and what they do as a result. For example, if the employer decides to issue a reference and mentions this, they would need to be accurate and truthful in its contents. Refer to the case of Cox v Sun Alliance Life Ltd where it was decided that an employer will be negligent in providing a reference that refers to an employee’s misconduct unless the employer had carried out an investigation and had reasonable grounds for believing that the misconduct had taken place. That would then enable the employee to make a potential claim for negligence against the employer.

Ben Jones :

I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating - your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you

Ben Jones, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 38689
Experience: Expert in UK Employment Law
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