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  1. #1
    funkyphantom's Avatar

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    Default Another suspended with pay thread!

    Hi,
    I would like a little advise please. This may be a long post, so i will try my best to keep it short.

    I had a new manager start work at the beginning of last year.

    In August last year I became very ill with a mental illness and depression. This was brought on due to unnecessary stress from work due to me not having enough staff to do a good enough job. (I am a head greenkeeper on a golf course) The new manager was continuously berating me which led to me starting work at 6 am working 11 hour shifts just to try to get on top of the job and eventually I just broke down.

    I was off for a long time (7 months) keeping in regular contact with work, letting them know how I was etc etc. I tried to phase return into work after 5 months off but I broke down again in my office and was consequently sent home. Just before I started back to work I had a meeting with my two managers, both of whom asked me to sort out a full medical report for them to view, and they told me I could lose my job if the medical report didnt say what they wanted it to say. Luckily the medical reporrt was sound and I returned to work.

    About a week or maybe two weeks I received a 'Capability Procedure' from my manager, who advised me to read it. A couple days later I received a letter stating that my way of management was under question and I wasn't following the procedure properly, and I needed to attend an 'investigatory meeting'. I attended that and was put on a 2 week period to improve my management style. I should say that I have been at my particular place of work now for 14 years with absolutely no negatives against my name until this new 'manager' turned up. I started to worry about this 2 week period, and didn't really know what I could do. After the two weeks were up I received another letter basically saying that my improvement wasn't good enough and this was being taken to the next level. I began to think that this guy was after getting rid of me by bullying me out of my job. This was confirmed when we went for a 'quiet cup of coffee' at the local coffee shop and he asked me if there was a figure I would be happy with if I left the job, but told me to keep it under strictest confidence that he asked me that!

    I came home that night and discussed it with my wife and we decided to write a letter to the chairman outlining what my boss had done. The Chairman went straight to my boss with the letter and obviously discussed it with him, but i have not heard anything back from this yet. This was 2 and a half weeks ago.

    Since being back to work my boss has created a 'no smoking policy' bearing in mind I work outside this is pretty harsh but I decided to go along with it. After a particularly stressful morning I had a cigarrette and he caught me smoking (whilst still working) outside. I recieved another letter inviting me to an investigation meeting which was yesterday. In the meeting that I was not allowed to bring a witness to I told him I was recording the meeting. His face changed and said he is postponing the meeting with immediate effect. With that I went home as it was passed my finishing time, and at about 5 pm I received a letter via email saying that I was suspended from work and another investigation meeting is set up tomorrow.

    I feel as if he is trying to push me out, I have always had the opinion that he thinks he can do my job and I am just in the way of him achieving that. I am beginning to feel the same symptoms of my illness now and feel as if I am going back into my depression. My wife is disgusted with his actions and says this is no way to treat someone with a mental illness.

    Thanks for reading. What do you think?
    Regards
    Funky
    Last edited by Celestine; 1st May 2017 at 12:22:PM.

  2. #2
    Ula's Avatar

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    Default Re: Another suspended with pay thread!

    I am not sure from your post of yesterday whether you have had the investigation meeting today. If so can you post an update and then I can provide some relevant advice based on up to date information.
    I do my best to provide good practical advice, however I do so without liability.
    If you have any doubts then do please seek professional legal advice.


    You canít always stop the waves but you can learn to surf.

    You are braver than you believe, smarter than you think and stronger than you seem.

  3. #3
    funkyphantom's Avatar

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    Default Re: Another suspended with pay thread!

    Hi. I managed to postpone the meeting as I wanted some legal advise before I go to the meeting. I really aren't feeling up to all this and can feel myself slipping back into my depression as a result.

  4. #4
    Ula's Avatar

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    Default Re: Another suspended with pay thread!

    In the letter inviting you to the meeting you were going to record did it contain any details of the issues/allegations that were to be investigated. The same question applies to the letter contained in the email saying that you were suspended. If so can are you happy to provide me that information.
    I do my best to provide good practical advice, however I do so without liability.
    If you have any doubts then do please seek professional legal advice.


    You canít always stop the waves but you can learn to surf.

    You are braver than you believe, smarter than you think and stronger than you seem.

  5. #5
    funkyphantom's Avatar

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    Default Re: Another suspended with pay thread!

    Hi, I do not have the original letter inviting me to the investigation meeting because that was handed to me and I have left it on my desk. I do however have the suspension letter, which I have posted below. I have however edited out the names.

    Dear ********* 26.4.2017

    Re: Your suspension from duty

    A number of serious allegations have been brought to our attention regarding your conduct in the workplace. We, as your employers, are under a duty to fully and properly investigate this matter.

    We are therefore suspending you with pay with immediate effect pending the results of this investigation. During the period of your suspension, you will continue to be paid your salary and receive other contractual benefits in the usual way.

    Suspension is being implemented in your case because the allegations involve unauthorized smoking in the work place and covertly recording an investigation meeting on 26.4.2017. This suspension is in accordance with the Company’s disciplinary procedure.

    Please note suspension is standard procedure in matters of this nature and does not indicate guilt in any way. Suspension does not constitute either disciplinary action or a disciplinary sanction. Disciplinary action will not necessarily result.

    The purpose of your suspension is to enable a full and proper investigation to be conducted into the allegations against you. The investigation is being carried out by (name). Please be aware that it may be necessary to hold an investigatory meeting with you as part of that investigation and therefore you should remain available for work.

    Once our investigation is complete, we will contact you again to inform you of what action, if any, we will be taking and this may be to invite you to attend a formal disciplinary hearing in accordance with the Company’s disciplinary procedure. In the meantime, we would request you to refrain from entering upon the Company’s premises and contacting any of your fellow employees to discuss work-related matters (including matters related to the allegations of serious misconduct made against you), other than for the sole purpose of exercising the statutory right to be accompanied at any disciplinary hearing.

    Finally, during the period of your suspension from duty, we would advise you that you are required to:


    1. Return to ******* your office keys etc and to provide details of your computer password. Comply with such further conditions as the Company may specify in relation to your attending at or remaining away from the Company premises.
    2. Remain available for work during your normal working hours should you be required.
    3. Ensure you do not perform work for any other employer, or undertake self-employment, during your normal working hours.
    4. Notify the Company if you fall ill or are incapacitated and provide appropriate evidence of incapacity in accordance with the sickness absence provisions in your contract of employment.
    5. Apply for annual leave, should you wish to take it, in accordance with the holidays provisions in your contract of employment.


    Other than as may be set out above, all the terms of your contract of employment remain in force. [However, please be aware that your remote access to work e-mail and the Company’s IT systems will be restricted during your suspension.]

    If you have any queries during the period of your suspension, please contact **************


    Yours sincerely,

    ************


    ……………………………………………….
    For and on behalf of the Company


  6. #6
    funkyphantom's Avatar

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    Default Re: Another suspended with pay thread!

    I received this with the suspension letter via email from what I remember I think he used the same template letter as this for my first investigation meeting:

    Dear ********* 26.4.2017

    We are writing to ask you to attend an investigatory meeting on 28.4.2017 at 14.00 at ********. This meeting has been arranged because we are in the process of investigating allegations that have been made relating to your conduct in the workplace.

    Please note that the purpose of the meeting is entirely a fact-finding exercise and it does not form part of the Company’s formal disciplinary procedure. As such, you do not have a statutory right to be accompanied at this stage. If, once our investigation has been concluded, the Company wishes to institute disciplinary proceedings against you, you will be invited to attend a formal disciplinary hearing at a later date.

    The investigatory meeting will be chaired by ********************will also be present to take an attendance note of the meeting.

    If you are unable to attend this meeting, you are asked to contact **** as a matter of urgency so that an alternative date and time can be scheduled. We would advise you that it is in your interests to attend the meeting so that you can give your account of events before a decision is taken by the Company on whether or not to proceed to a disciplinary hearing. If you fail to attend without good reason, a decision on the institution of disciplinary proceedings will be made in your absence.

    Once the Company has completed its investigation, you will be informed of the outcome.


    Yours sincerely,
    *****************

    ……………………………………………….
    For and on behalf of the Company


  7. #7
    Ula's Avatar

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    Default Re: Another suspended with pay thread!

    As this is a public forum it is better to redact names etc. from anything you post so good to see you have done that, but looking at the correspondence you have received is very helpful.

    My main concern whilst this is still at an investigatory phase is to ensure that they are following correct procedure so there are just a few things I need to clarify. The timeline of recent events (which is what I am concentrating on at the moment) is that you were caught smoking (date not given) and invited to attend an investigatory meeting which was on 26 April. Was this to be carried by your "new" boss the person who had caught you smoking? Did you tell the person conducting the meeting at the outset you were recording the meeting and did you offer this information voluntarily?

    Just to let you know there is no statutory requirement for you to be accompanied at an investigatory meeting following suspension as it does not form part of the disciplinary process.

    Please can you confirm the whether the person who was chairing this meeting is your boss or someone else?

    Following that meeting which was halted after you declared you were recording it, you received the correspondence dated 26.4.2017 (posted 28 April at 22:10.) Is the person referred to (name redacted) as carrying out the investigation someone other than your boss?

    You then received the correspondence also dated 26.4.17 (posted 28 April at 22:13) inviting you to the meeting which was to be held yesterday Fri and is the one you managed to postpone. Again is the person referred to (name redacted) as chairing the meeting someone other than your boss?
    I do my best to provide good practical advice, however I do so without liability.
    If you have any doubts then do please seek professional legal advice.


    You canít always stop the waves but you can learn to surf.

    You are braver than you believe, smarter than you think and stronger than you seem.

  8. #8
    funkyphantom's Avatar

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    Default Re: Another suspended with pay thread!

    Hi Ula, thanks for taking the time out to help me. I was caught smoking on the 25th at about 1pm, he handed me the letter about the investigation meeting at 2pm which asked me to attend the meeting at 1:30 on the 26th. The meeting started with a note taker, and he was just doing the 'pleasantries' explaining why there was a note taker etc etc, and he quite 'snearingly' said "its ok, i'm taking notes too" whilst tapping away on his computer, to which I replied, its ok, i'm recording it. (I wasn't) I dont really know what made me say it, but I was quite upset to be brought into such a meeting.

    The person Chairing the meeting is the guy that saw me smoking (the manager)

    I recieved the suspension letter at 5pm on the 26th via email, along with the Investigation letter that I have posted up in my previous thread.

    The correspondence dated 26.4.17 which I managed to postpone was being conducted by someone else, not my manager. However he is a big friend of said manager.

    I think I have answered all your questions. Please let me know if I haven't.
    Regards

  9. #9
    Ula's Avatar

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    Default Re: Another suspended with pay thread!

    Thank you for your response.

    So it seems that they have confirmed the allegations are smoking in the workplace and the recording of the meeting. On the latter then your defence is that you said this on the spur of the moment as a reaction to the stress of being called into the meeting and in point of fact you were not actually recording the meeting.

    On the smoking outside unfortunately employers with suitable outdoor spaces are not obliged to permit smoking on their premises at all. Employers are free to impose a complete ban on smoking on their site, inside and outside. Does the smoking policy that was introduced make it clear that the policy covered the whole area of the business premises including the outside areas?
    I do my best to provide good practical advice, however I do so without liability.
    If you have any doubts then do please seek professional legal advice.


    You canít always stop the waves but you can learn to surf.

    You are braver than you believe, smarter than you think and stronger than you seem.

  10. #10
    funkyphantom's Avatar

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    Default Re: Another suspended with pay thread!

    Sorry Ula, I haven't been well enough to come to the computer and reply until today. I managed to postpone the re-arranged meeting due to my ill health that work have caused. I do not have a copy of the smoking policy as it is at work. I dont know if it specifically bans smoking outdoors. I will ask for a copy on monday.
    Thanks

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