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Acceptable workplace shenanigans?
- Breaking wind near colleagues,
- Defacing ID cards
- Switching language on their computers
- Kicking a colleague at their desk unconscious
Do these activities happen in your workplace?
Apparently, the answer is ‘yes’ if you work for a well-known telephone provider’s contact centre in Darlington. In fact, these actions led to a claim for unfair dismissal from an employee.
Ultimately, the claim went to an Employment Tribunal. The employee’s case won and the employer had to pay a five figure sum to its former employee. This expensive situation could have been avoided simply by following the Acas Code of Practice & the Statutory Disciplinary & Grievance procedures
Instead, the employer had not investigated all the areas vigorously. Doing so would have highlighted the team structure and task delegation involved. These aspects made it unreasonable to expect the employee concerned to have dealt with the unprofessional activities taking place. In fact, the Claimant had an unblemished record and was clearly valued. Employment Tribunal found that the decision to dismiss the Claimant had been pre-judged and the investigation “wholly inadequate”
All businesses dealing with misconduct must:
- thoroughly investigate the incident that has occurred
- give an adequate and reasonable penalty
- follow the correct procedures so that claims of unfair dismissal and potential financial penalties can be avoided
These steps are even more pertinent within a situation which may lead to dismissal.
“When dealing with performance or misconduct issues in the workplace, employers must ensure that the Acas Code of Practice is followed correctly,” explains Matthew from Consensus HR. “A clear, written invitation to an investigation concerning the allegations and any further investigations must be provided, with employees mentioned as being able to help in the overall investigation.”
“Only when this has been completed correctly, should the investigating manager decide whether to carry out a disciplinary or take no further action. The employee concerned must be kept fully updated. Adequate time should also be given to allow the employee the opportunity to gather their facts and information needed at the meeting so that a fair and reasonable decision can be made”
If you want to progress to a disciplinary, professional HR advice is suggested. If your employee decided to take you to an Employment Tribunal, this can cost £28,000 in legal fees alone and then payment of the award which could be unlimited depending on the initial allegation. Let’s work together to avoid this scenario. Contact Consensus HR to review your business’ disciplinary procedure.