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I have been suspended pending further investigation

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  • #16
    I cannot thank you enough for your response. You have made some very valid points there that I will definitely use. I was not planning to use the examples at the investigation stage but was keeping them back for the disciplinary hearing. Tomorrow I plan to put my documentation together for the investigation meeting.

    Thank you so much.

    Comment


    • #17
      I admit I have only skimmed through this thread
      but are you saying that you are unclear as to why you have been suspended ??
      It is my understanding that prior to suspending you that the terms of reference should be clear ??
      How can you defend the unknown ??
      That said good luck .

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Wilko65 View Post
        I admit I have only skimmed through this thread
        but are you saying that you are unclear as to why you have been suspended ??
        It is my understanding that prior to suspending you that the terms of reference should be clear ??
        How can you defend the unknown ??
        That said good luck .
        I have been suspended for undertaking non-company work in company time. I am a freelance writer and proofreader in my spare time but I have been storing my documents on the work network as a back-up for five years. There is a lot of content there but the size of it all cumulatively is not that high.They have given me the evidence which is a screenshot of all the documents that i have stored and that is all they have I believe.

        So this is what they must class as undertaking non-company work in work time. I have been suspended because of my position within the company and the access that I have could be seen as a risk as I could tamper with evidence. Anyhow, while I know they have a right to suspend me, I think it is very heavy-handed and according to Worksmart from the TUC, they should have considered alternatives and discussed them with me - I know for a fact that I still could have carried out work without having access to the majority of the systems.

        So the fact that I download these documents in work time is probably what they are classing as undertaking non-company work in company time. the time it takes me to download documents is seconds. People in the office would spend a lot longer going for one cigarette break, never mind 5 or 6 throughout the day.

        Comment


        • #19
          Well I have had my investigation meeting and to be honest with you, it did not go well. They threw a lot of things at me such as:

          - the size of documents and the number of versions there are.
          - the website that I use and the amount it is used
          - my time sheet
          - the content of some of the stored documents
          - How much I earn from it
          - how long I spend working at home
          - what device I use at home

          I think that might be it for now but it is not looking good I feel. So now I await a date for my disciplinary hearing.

          So, based on what I know, I am considering the use of a solicitor through my union as that is available free of charge.

          I am not sure if there is a glimmer of hope there at all and that I might keep my job, I am not sure if the other woman with her catalogues will play into it. I have also since found out that my manager has already asked a colleague to complete my work by the time she comes back from leave on 6th September, he thought it was weird and he replied with "well why can't (I) do it?" He said it came across in a way that made him feel as though she already knows the outcome.

          I am really looking for some guidance here and what angle I can go for (if there is one at all) or what I can hope for if I do opt for a solicitor?

          Thanks

          Comment


          • #20
            One other thing to note, and I am sure you can see that I am clutching at straws here but according to CAB, my employer should have informed me by letter or by email what could happen to me in terms of a warning or dismissal. They have not done this. Does it mean that they have not followed the process correctly at all?

            Comment


            • #21
              Has the union said that they might make a solicitor available to give you advice based on the information you have if you receive a disciplinary invite? Because I'd be surprised if they were to offer one to attend a disciplinary.
              CAB has jumped the gun. The potential outcomes should be mentioned in the disciplinary invitation paperwork, especially if dismissal is possible.

              From what you've said here (and elsewhere) it looks like they might focus on the quantity of your network/cloud use. Bugger!
              But there's really no point in guessing unless/until you receive notice of a disciplinary. (It''l just drive you nuts!)
              At that point you'll have the written allegations to show the direction they're taking. So, you'll be better able to focus your defence.

              Comment


              • #22
                I am not sure if I want one to attend the disciplinary but I was hoping they could perhaps help with the advice of what to expect and what rights I have or angle I could take. I still maintain that what I have done does not warrant me losing my job but I do believe that I should be given a final written warning. My work has not suffered, I have review and catch up meetings with my manager every two weeks and nothing has ever been said. I have been given significant projects to work on in the coming months, so it is all a bit strange really.

                I know how it looks, I have thousands of documents stored on the drive - that equates to 280mb, that is very small these days. So if they are going down that route then there are staff with more music and photos than that stored. The only they don't like is that they are documents that earn me money outside of work.

                My internet useage is high - I don't spend all day online - it would be impossible for me to do this. I work in IT, so I leave my browser and all subsequent tabs open all day long in case I need to research something quickly. That would probably bump up my useage. However, high-usage is something that managers used to pull you up on and give you a reminder for. Something which has not happened from my manager.

                The timing of the documents is the time that I might have downloaded and saved them.

                The timestamp and number of versions of documents relate to me downloading one document and saving it, then downloading a second document that is larger and merging it with the first. Hence the second version is larger.

                I have used their equipment - yes I have but so do others for ebay, selling, gumtree etc etc

                My timesheet seems irrelevant really. It shows the time I come in which is correct, my lunchbreak and the time I leave. I think they were trying to show me that I had not recorded the times of downloading on my timesheet but it is a matter of seconds each time and equates to a few minutes.

                The content of the documents is a slight concern (it was a document that contained text that related to a job for a dating site) but they have no way of policing this across the organisation. If I wanted to obtain that content from the web I would not be able to because it would be blocked.

                I don't see why asking me how long I spend working at home is relevant really. I also don't see why what I earn is relevant either.

                So I suppose when you break it all down, they are trying to throw a lot at me but it all does not add up to making it sound as bad as it actually is. I mean if my internet usage is high, who is below me in the list and is theirs considered high? are they going to do a search of all drives to check the content and space taken up? Are they going to time everyone who goes for a cigarette? are they going to marry that up with their timesheets?!

                Something just doesnt sit right for me given that what I believe I have done is not that signifcant I believe.

                Comment


                • #23
                  I am not sure if I want one to attend the disciplinary
                  It's unlikely that it would be permitted anyway. I've only heard of it happening when the likelihood is dismissal and such a dismissal could well be career-ending.

                  but I was hoping they could perhaps help with the advice of what to expect and what rights I have or angle I could take.
                  It's always best to get expert legal advice when available. I would never suggest that the general advice you can get from forums is an adequate substitute (unless it's from one of the green legal admin members).

                  I still maintain that what I have done does not warrant me losing my job but I do believe that I should be given a final written warning.
                  I agree for the reasons below among others.
                  My work has not suffered, I have review and catch up meetings with my manager every two weeks and nothing has ever been said. I have been given significant projects to work on in the coming months,

                  I know how it looks, I have thousands of documents stored on the drive - that equates to 280mb, that is very small these days.
                  Your role makes you eminently suitable to attest to that. I would imagine that if they'd had a concern about another employee's storage levels, you might be the very person they'd ask to check it out.

                  So if they are going down that route then there are staff with more music and photos than that stored. The only they don't like is that they are documents that earn me money outside of work.
                  Just like someone who prepares listings for Ebay sales perhaps.

                  My internet useage is high - I don't spend all day online - it would be impossible for me to do this. I work in IT, so I leave my browser and all subsequent tabs open all day long in case I need to research something quickly. That would probably bump up my useage.
                  Surely everyone does that. For all you know I could just be focusing on this response.
                  But I'm sat here typing now with 4 other tabs open. A couple of sentences ago I made myself a coffee and let the dog out, I'm keeping a eye on the corner of my screen because in about 7 minutes I'm going to try to snipe something on Ebay, I always have a Google tab ready, after I finish this I'm going to watch something my daughter sent me on YouTube and although there's a cream cake calling to me rather insistently from the fridge I'll probably check to see if someone has answered some questions on another forum before I succumb.

                  However, high-usage is something that managers used to pull you up on and give you a reminder for. Something which has not happened from my manager.
                  So, as far as you knew that policy had either been relaxed or abandoned.

                  The timing of the documents is the time that I might have downloaded and saved them.
                  The timestamp and number of versions of documents relate to me downloading one document and saving it, then downloading a second document that is larger and merging it with the first. Hence the second version is larger.

                  I'm think I see what you mean. I'm not particularly computer literate. It's wasn't many years ago that I did my happy dance after Google taught me how to copy and paste. But you'll know your audience and how to tailor your explanations to their level of understanding.

                  It might be an idea for you to type out a description of a hypothetical day. Using examples like this ^ showing, that you spent a few seconds downloading and saving a document, left it open, then spent a few hours helping someone with a computer problem/ making phone calls/whatever, returned to the open document, downloaded and saved a second document and merged it to the first taking maybe a further dozen seconds.
                  Flesh it out using as many different examples of the types work that you would do in a normal week that you can think of, so as to show that your employer would receive a full days worth of work and that their screenshots timings mostly only represent a few seconds of other work at a time. Explain that the documents are left open only as a prompt to either add and merge another document later or to remind you to look at it during your break.

                  I have used their equipment - yes I have but so do others for ebay, selling, gumtree etc etc
                  Make sure to say that you will not use their equipment for your proofreading stuff in future.

                  My timesheet seems irrelevant really. It shows the time I come in which is correct, my lunchbreak and the time I leave. I think they were trying to show me that I had not recorded the times of downloading on my timesheet but it is a matter of seconds each time and equates to a few minutes.
                  This begs the questions;
                  Is everyone required to record the start and stop times of each visit to Ebay etc. on their timesheets?
                  Additionally, does everyone have to record the times that they start and complete each individual item of work on their timesheets?
                  Because without having the second requirement I would think that an inspection of many employees computer activity would suggest that they spent a lot of their working time on the internet.

                  The content of the documents is a slight concern (it was a document that contained text that related to a job for a dating site) but they have no way of policing this across the organisation. If I wanted to obtain that content from the web I would not be able to because it would be blocked.
                  Are these proofreading documents? What's the concern? The content might indicate a need for an open, non-judgemental mind but it's hardly likely to amount to porn.

                  I don't see why asking me how long I spend working at home is relevant really. I also don't see why what I earn is relevant either.
                  The amount of time is potentially their business. They need to know how many hours you spend on the other job to ensure that the total number of hours you work each week does not exceed the maximum 48 hour week.
                  Regarding your earnings; how sneaky are they?
                  Because the only way that I can see this as potentially relevant is if, for example you spend 5 hours a week on other job and you are paid £100 a week. They could then go searching back through the weeks to see if they can show that you had the relevant documents open, available on tab, downloading etc. (without investigating what work you may have been doing for your main employer during that time) then say "Aha! that week you spent nearly five hours doing that other employer's work in our office! So, during the same time that we are paying you to be here to do our work you were using our equipment to do paid work for another employer"

                  So I suppose when you break it all down, they are trying to throw a lot at me but it all does not add up to making it sound as bad as it actually is. I mean if my internet usage is high, who is below me in the list and is theirs considered high?
                  And is there anyone with higher usage than you? Have they even looked?

                  are they going to do a search of all drives to check the content and space taken up? Are they going to time everyone who goes for a cigarette? are they going to marry that up with their timesheets?!
                  If you're asking for my opinion, I'm fairly confident that the answer is No.

                  Something just doesnt sit right for me given that what I believe I have done is not that signifcant I believe.
                  I agree. Their approach to date must make you feel alert for kitchen sinks.
                  I wonder if they felt embarrassed by their failed furniture fiasco. It could be that, having embarked on this process, they are now seeking as many things as they can possibly think of to throw at you in the hope that at least one of them will stick this time.

                  P.S. I won my Ebay item and my fridge is now cream cake free.
                  Last edited by mariefab; 21st August 2018, 22:46:PM. Reason: added a bit

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Thanks for the reply. I find it very useful and will use some, if not all of that for my supporting document at the disciplinary hearing. I had my interview on Monday and I have still not received any documentation back from them regarding it. I honestly thought they would have had the notes turned around by yesterday and sent to me by email. As it looks, this is going to run on to next week, bearing in mind that there is a bank holiday as well.

                    I just cannot help but think that something is going on.
                    • The chief executive is off for two weeks and he is the one who will ultimately make the final decision so have they already made their decision?
                    • My manager has already asked for a colleague to take over my work and asked in a way that suggested that I am not returning. The strange thing is this, I have only just come back after paternity leave (I returned on the 1st August) and this work was there during the whole month I was off, yet nobody was asked to complete it then.
                    • There is a current re-structure process going on - currently going through a staff consultation phase and there has been a mention that some jobs could disappear but there are not going to be redundancies. I am assuming that jobs will disappear but new jobs will open up.
                    • I have been through this process before. Do they have a problem with me.
                    • There are people that sell on ebay (there is a section in a policy about this) yet it is ignored.

                    To me, it all feels as though it is a bit of a witchhunt!

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Something else has just popped into my mind. The investigation I believed should have been fair and equal. However, when the investigating officer turned his attention to the content of the document, I told him that I didn't believe the content was sordid or anything like that. He said he disagreed and that he found it highly coercive.

                      Is this an appropriate thing to do in an investigation meeting?

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        I have sent in my resignation letter in the hope that they accept.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Just thought I would let you know that they accepted my resignation letter. I have no other option at the moment other than to turn my writing into a full-time job. However, I am not going through a good time at the moment. This whole experience has left me feeling really depressed and anxious - I am not exaggerating either. It is a real worry.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Just a small and (what I consider to be) interesting addition to this. The Chief Executive informed all staff yesterday that I would not be returning to work. Nothing unsurprising there but what he put in his email is what interests me because he stated that in light of the impending organisational re-structure, they would not be replacing me.

                            I just cannot help but think that they whole thing was a set up. Yes they had something on me, yes I think they wanted rid of me (despite it not being enough to warrant a dismissal) but based on his email, I think they wanted rid of me all along. Something just doesn't sit right with me!

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Well it certainly wouldn't be the first time that a Company used a potential misconduct issue to try to dismiss someone in order to save the cost of a redundancy payment.
                              Your decision to resign was obviously the right move. In time you might look back and feel that it was the best decision you ever made.
                              Onward and upward with your writing.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by mariefab View Post
                                Well it certainly wouldn't be the first time that a Company used a potential misconduct issue to try to dismiss someone in order to save the cost of a redundancy payment.
                                Your decision to resign was obviously the right move. In time you might look back and feel that it was the best decision you ever made.
                                Onward and upward with your writing.
                                Thank you very much for this. I have been working hard away at it for three weeks and I am now feeling a lot better for it. I have received a lot of supportive messages from ex-colleagues which was nice

                                Comment

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