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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48163
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My friend at work is suspended re: theft. She got a letter

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My friend at work is suspended re: theft. She got a letter today telling her to attend next Thursday in front of HR etc. They sent her copies of statements given by several people saying they thought it was her that had taken some small items, milk; bin bags. They had seen them in the locker room at home time under her hand bag in a carrier. One witness states that they had seen her leaving with a carrier bag but no statements say that they actually saw her with the items. She has to contact union again on Monday but she has no confidence in the union rep who was with her when she made her statement denying all of this.
She is terrified she will lose her job but I think that the evidence isn`t strong enough & I feel she should have had more notice of this meeting. I also feel she should demand the union provide her with legal help not just a rep who doesn`t seem to know much.
What do you think?

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long has she worked there for?

Customer:

I think 5 years

Ben Jones :

Is this a formal disciplinary she has been asked to attend?

Customer:

Yes, HR plus 4 others

Ben Jones :

I see no issue with the length of notice given for the meeting, the minimum notice required is usually 2 days so as she has been asked to attend on Thu that is sufficient notice in the circumstances. As to what the union should provide her with that depends entirely on what she is entitled to under her membership with them. Unions do not just provide legal help and she needs to check what her membership actually entitles her to. If she is entitled to receive legal help and meets any necessary conditions to make her eligible then she can certainly ask her union to provider her with such legal assistance as needed

Customer:

It`s unison, they say they do. Will they be able to at such short notice do you think?

Ben Jones :

depends entirely on their resources the level of assistance required, etc. Only they can answer that query I'm afraid and she needs to contact them ASAP if she requires their assistance

Customer:

OK, I told her to ring them ASAP. Do you know of people getting sacked when they weren`t actually seen doing it? They want rid of her because of poor sick record IMO.

Ben Jones :

yes it is entirely possible - the employer does not need to prove with 100% certainty that the employee was guilty of the allegations, employment law is not that strict.


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



  • Carries out a reasonable investigation;

  • Follows a fair disciplinary procedure;

  • Has reasonable grounds for believing the employee was guilty; and

  • Show that dismissal was a reasonable decision that a reasonable employer would have taken in the circumstances.

Customer:

Ok thanks. It`s not sounding good. A couple of busy bodies having it in for someone doesn`t seem fair. Let`s hope union will come up with help.

Ben Jones :

I would hope so too

Customer:

There are some discrepancies in the statements though, so she can point these out and some evidence is flimsy. Like one says some milk was missing from the fridge and she was on shift that day - so were several others. It was in a carrier bag under her handbag, how would they know it was her handbag etc. Do you think it helps to point out that a couple of people may do this to be vindictive?

Ben Jones :

yes if there is history to suggest this may be the case it is all relevant evidence that she can bring up at the hearing - that is her platform to try and convince the employer that she is not guilty

Customer:

Thank you for your advice.

Ben Jones :

My pleasure. Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service I have provided you with as that is an important part of our process. Thank you

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