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My husband has been asked to a disciplinary meeting on

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Wednesday regarding an incident at...
My husband has been asked to a disciplinary meeting on Wednesday regarding an incident at work involving a vehicle. Could I get advice on this matter please?
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: UK Employment Law
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8/24/2015
Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 2 years ago
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Basically, my husband is a logistics supervisor at an electronics company. Last week one of the vehicles broke down and the lease company will not replace it because it had not been serviced every 9,000 miles as part of the warranty agreement. This has now fell on my husband because he's the logistics supervisor and he's been called in for gross misconduct due to this happening. The issues we have with this are, he's been off for 16 weeks of the year so far (away from his role) for paternity leave, annual leave, training courses and 1 week sick. The company wanted to promote him into a new position within the company so two days a week he does that. There's a fleet manager that oversees the vehicles and a vehicle check that is carried out by another member of staff every 2 weeks. The sales team has this vehicle 3 days a week so logistics only has it 2 days. All other vehicles are serviced and up to date even though when my husband books them in, if he's off or in training, they don't get taken... This vehicle was new at the beginning of the year and no paperwork was passed to my husband to say how often the services needed to be carried out as it was from a different lease company. The fleet manager did not advise him of this. This meeting on Wednesday has said it could lead to a sanction or dismissal. Obviously, I'm worried about dismissal but I can't see how he's fully to blame, given that he's only been in that post 16 weeks of the 33 weeks so far this year. Please can you advise on this? Thank you!
Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 2 years ago
How long has he worked there for?
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
3 years 8 months
Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 2 years ago
I will explain how the law operates in such circumstances. Misconduct is a common reason for taking disciplinary action against an employee. It could be due either to a single serious act of misconduct or a series of less serious acts over a period of time.
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.
In addition, the employer is expected to follow the ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. Altogether, it means that a disciplinary procedure should be conducted as follows:
1. Investigation - a reasonable investigation is needed. What is reasonable depends entirely on the circumstances and especially the nature and seriousness of the allegations. The more serious these are, the more detailed the investigation needs to be. So they would need to investigate why there was a failure to service the vehicle and what led to this being overlooked.
2. Disciplinary hearing - if the investigation provides sufficient evidence of misconduct, the employee may be invited to attend a formal disciplinary hearing. They must be given prior notice of the hearing, including details of the allegations, allowing them time to prepare. They have the legal right to be accompanied at the hearing but only by a trade union representative or a colleague.
3. Decision and penalty - following the disciplinary, if the employer holds a genuine belief that the employee was guilty, then they can go ahead and formally sanction them. When deciding on the appropriate penalty, the employer should consider the nature and seriousness of the offence and the employee's disciplinary record. Unless the offence was one of gross misconduct, ACAS recommends that the employee should be issued with a written warning. So here is where the main defence would come – he may have been responsible for arranging the servicing but there are mitigating circumstances. The best he can do is to put them all forward – there is nothing which would guarantee he avoids dismissal but the more he has to show that this was not a deliberate or negligent act of failing to undertake his duties the better his chances of defending it in part and just getting away with a warning, even a final one.
In summary, an employer is not expected to prove that the alleged misconduct had definitely occurred. Disciplinary action will be fair if the employer can show that it had conducted a reasonable investigation, followed a fair procedure and held a genuine belief that the employee was guilty. Finally, it must show that the penalty was a reasonable action to take in the circumstances and one that a reasonable employer would have taken.
If there are any doubts about any of the above and there is belief or evidence that the employer has not satisfied these requirements, an appeal can be submitted to the employer immediately after the disciplinary outcome. If the disciplinary results in dismissal then a claim for unfair dismissal can be made in the employment tribunal. There are two requirements to claim: the employee must have at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer and the claim must be made within 3 months of the date of dismissal.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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Solicitor: Ben Jones, UK Lawyer replied 2 years ago
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