Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded. For now please let me know how long you have worked there.
Many thanks for your patience. Being placed on suspension is not necessarily an indication of guilt and there is certainly no guarantee that this will go any further. Under employment law, an employer has a duty to conduct an investigation before taking formal disciplinary action and suspension is primarily used as a precautionary measure whilst that is taking place. The only requirement is that any period of suspension is on full pay, unless otherwise allowed by the employee’s contract of employment.
Nevertheless, an employer should not just go ahead and suspend, unless it is actually necessary in the circumstances. It is however acceptable to be suspended if there is an allegation of gross misconduct or if the presence of the employee in the workplace could potentially damage any investigation or have some other negative impact.
If the employer’s investigation collects enough evidence to justify disciplinary action only then should they consider going down that route. If that does happen the employee has the right to be informed in advance of the allegations against them and will get the opportunity to formally defend them at the disciplinary hearing.
On the other hand, if the investigation does not find enough evidence to justify a disciplinary, the employer should just drop the issue and allow the employee to return to work as normal.
If this goes to a disciplinary then I would expect this to result in a warning at worst. There is nothing stopping the employer dismissing but I do not think it would be fair in the circumstances and could be challenged as an unfair dismissal. If all you did was push the other person when you were being insulted and mocked, sand there was no physical injury or a fight, then this should not be regarded as a serious enough matter to dismiss.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) defines bullying as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.” Whatever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual.
So bullying can be the employee's acts of calling you names and insulting you, and your acts but usually only if you were not provoked. Also if this is an isolated incident, you should not be dismissed with the service you have, assuming you have no live disciplinary matters
Please let me know if this has answered your query or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?
If you are dismissed you can appeal with the employer first and if that is rejected, you can claim unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal if necessary. At any time during your employment you can also raise a grievance if necessary. If you are part of a union they could help with any of these, otherwise legal aid is not available for tribunals I'm afraid. Ideally they should have suspended you both if needed but it depends on what evidence they actually have so for example they may have more details about what you did and not enough about his actions
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