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Restricted access to information for evidencing a greivance

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  • Restricted access to information for evidencing a greivance

    Hi everyone, hope you're fab.

    I have a question, I have an ongoing (and it's been going on some time) issue with a disciplinary and a greivance. To spare the details I have raises a greivance, which wasn't followed through (manager tried to bury it), the same manager than alleged concerns about my conduct, and was permitted to be the investigator in this instance.

    I have raised concerns, again, my original grievance and how it was handled, and conflict of interest concerns (as well as some other evidences of bullying) and as a result the disciplinary has become a joint disciplinary/grievance. This has gone on for a few months, and I was pretty all lined up for being dismissed (a decision was imminent) when something happened behind the scenes, the person managing the disciplinary was replaced by someone else and I was asked to come to a second hearing, where i was asked questions on my greivance, and specific points relating to that.

    The problem I have is this, a lot of the events I raised in my grievance are teams conversations, and I have now been off work for much of the year due to this disciplinary. Therefore asking me for dates of when this conversation happened etc doesn't come easily due to the limits of my memory, you know I can say what was said, just not verbatim - same with times, I can say a conversation happened at the back end of december, for instance but I couldn't give an exact time and date. Though it's all their in Microsoft teams. My disciplinary policy says I can be allowed access to systems for the purpose of getting information I need in order to state my case, but the first disciplinary manager rebuffed my requests saying it wasn't needed, and the second disciplinary manager has not responded to the request at all, though he has asked for clarification of details and I've told them in earnest that getting access, or even a download of teams conversations would give me access to these specifics (dates, times, who else was in the chat etc).

    I am now of the belief that I won't be allowed access to these systems, to provide this information to substantiate claims made in my grievance. My grievance is honest, and things that happened generally were in writing but the evidence is on work systems.

    It is not pivotal but possibly worth mentioning was one of my greivance points includes a SAR which was processed by the same manager which omitted data and information relating to me that I knew to exist. So there is a disclosure/data processing concern as part of my greivance already.

    Where is this likely to leave me, if my grievance is not upheld? In my opinion, if they believe what I've said sufficiently to not want it quantifying then there may be little point substantiating it, but if the case goes against me and access to evidence has been withheld, that's surely not right?

    I'm seeking legal advice at this stage so will be posting this to them once I've found it, but I would really like to know.
    Last edited by Presonus; 13th September 2023, 14:13:PM.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    You say you are seeking legal advice is this via the forum or have you been speaking with a solicitor?
    If you would like a one-to-one expert consultation with me on your employment issue than I can be contacted by emailing admin@legalbeaglesgroup.com

    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.



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    Comment


    • #3
      Hi

      The key word is seeking, i have spoken to a few solicitors (found on high street and online) but I've not taken one on as I've not been convinced by them as of yet - most just confirm what ACAS say (if you feel aggreived with the outcome you have the right to go to a tribunal). They will also help with things like settlements, what I'm finding legal help not good at, is discussing points like the above.

      A HR consultant has given me a lot of advice throughout which has gone over-and above what the solicitors could provide, however they are really busy so getting advice when i need it can be tricky. Therefore I tend to do my homework through google or asking on forums (though this has got me some flack as the general advice is go see a solicitor but trust me it's not all that). So the basis for saying I was seeking legal assistance is just to give you some assurance that I am not using the forum as a substitute for legal advice, more to compliment it when I find it and give me something I can actually raise and discuss with them. Think of this as me trying to do my homework/research

      So i think, even if it doesn't qualify as legal advice, a discussion with people who are HR savvy would be productive and give me something to go back to to a solicitor with. I'm also interested in different views as well to see if there is a consensus.
      Last edited by Presonus; 15th September 2023, 11:02:AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Generally whilst you are in an internal process solicitors do not want to get involved, unless it involves a Settlement Agreement for which they can receive a fee for providing the independent legal advice.

        Is seems like you have two processes running concurrently so unfortunately your posts at this point only raise questions in order for me to be able to provide some guidance to you.

        You mention you have been off since disciplinary proceedings started have you been suspended on full pay pending in investigation the outcome of which may be disciplinary action?
        How long have you been off on this basis?

        When did you raise your grievance?
        What was the basis of this?

        It seems like they are blurring the lines between the disciplinary and the grievance. There should be different managers dealing with each process and not the disciplinary manager (no 2) asking your questions about your grievance.
        If you would like a one-to-one expert consultation with me on your employment issue than I can be contacted by emailing admin@legalbeaglesgroup.com

        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.



        If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't mind answering any questions, I've only been breif to not announce my identity even though i don't think that's a big risk, but also to try and save complication as my case is quite a complex one. If things do get to the point of instructing solicitors I do want to be as clear as really as I can be on my situation


          But to answer your queries:

          - Yes I have been suspended on full pay, we are now at the middle of month 5 (though I have lost guaranteed overtime)

          - The grievance being dealt with was raised after the suspension, but relates to actions taken by the investigating manager both before and after the suspension (some of these concerns include failing to respond to informal greivances on the lead up to the suspension).

          - the basis of my grievance is the failure of management to consider an earlier grievance, which was raised informally and ignored, then raised formally and I was deflected (told to go to someone else who transpired had nothing to do with the process). The concern was over my health and the sharing of confidential emails between my and my line manager with fellow colleagues, their denial that these had been disclosed at all, and their omission from a subject access request. There are other points of grievance, for example the selection of this manager to investigate my own conduct as it is the same manager I tried to raise a grievance to previously, so I have conflict of interest concerns as well as some other things.

          - The earlier grievance is what led to the investigation action into myself as I ultimately proved the email disclosures, but the manager claims this was an abuse of privilege (as I have means to monitor email comms).

          - The same manager has (ab?)used the systems in a similar way in the past, for which there is evidence in teams channels so part of my grievance is that rules are being applied inconsistently. It is this information I was asked about by the second hearing manager, though they seem edgy about actually allowing me access to retrieve/obtain this information. It does exist.
          Last edited by Presonus; 15th September 2023, 14:33:PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you for the information which has been helpful.

            As I have previously said the disciplinary and grievance procedures are two separate process and should be treated as such even if the subject of them is linked. To not do so allows for challenges of them operating an unfair process for either or both.

            To ensure that a fair process is followed, then you need to be allowed access to the systems that can assist you with the documentary evidence to support your grievance. Not sure whether you have already done so but I would suggest that you set out by email exactly what systems you need access to and agree a time with your employer for this to be given to you to ensure reasonableness in the process.

            If you would like a one-to-one expert consultation with me on your employment issue than I can be contacted by emailing admin@legalbeaglesgroup.com

            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.



            If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page

            Comment


            • #7
              Not a problem, happy to provide anything required.

              The concern about the two processes been linked is something I share with you, and it's something my family have raised also, though I know what ethically seems right sometimes isn't whats legally right so wasn't sure if it was worth raising.

              What I've done so far as provided as part of my written greivance where information is for substantiation, so I've mentioned where something was said on microsoft teams, or by email etc. I've not actually been able to provide quotes etc as I no longer have access to it, so I've basically given them the gist of what was said and at the end of the greivance document I've said 'if quotes/evidence is needed then I need access in order to obtain it'. I also asked the first disciplinary manager if I could access to provide it but he said he felt this wouldn't be necessary.

              When the new disciplinary manager took over, he asked me for more details about my grievances and asked for dates specifically, unlike the first manager. I gave him the best timescales I could but again said because I've been off for 5 months having exact dates or quotes weren't possible. I then said the following in writing (by email)

              Code:
              ...The above conversation would have been in the main teams channel though again I've been off 5 months so an exact date eludes my memory,
              
              Is it possible to obtain a copy of my Teams chat transcripts? I know I've raised getting access to evidence facts with <previous disciplinary manager> previously etc etc, but if these details are becoming important then I feel it's probably worth my time sifting through.
              
              with kind regards
              Presonus
              That was sent a week ago but I've had neither acknowledgement nor reply.

              Comment


              • #8
                Can I suggest you consider writing back on the basis of:

                Further to my email of xxx (put in the date you sent it last week) regarding access to systems in order for me to substantiate my grievance, I have not heard anything further from you. As you know I raised my grievance on xxx (put in date you raised this) which means that this has now been ongoing for some time with no indication of when you may give me access requested, in order for me to provide the full evidence to support my grievance claims, before attending any grievance meeting. To not allow me access to the information is unreasonable and not in keeping with the ACAS guidelines of ensuring a fair grievance process. Please can you therefore advise me by the latest xxx (set a date maybe later in the week depending on when you send this) as to when access will be granted.

                In addition I would also like to raise the point that the disciplinary and grievance procedures are two separate process and should be treated as such even if the subject of them is linked. That means that there should be two different managers appointed to handle each process to ensure that each is conducted fairly and reasonably.
                If you would like a one-to-one expert consultation with me on your employment issue than I can be contacted by emailing admin@legalbeaglesgroup.com

                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.



                If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks ULA - always appreciated.

                  Today I found that a request to extend counselling support from the company EAP program had been refused, so I today sent a request for this and included as you advised.

                  I don't think the outlook is likely positive.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just an update of sorts, in that there is no real update - EAP support (which has included some MH counselling) has been cut by my employer, the counsellor have applied to have this reinstated but it has been refused - because of my condition, which I won't go into details, I have been re-assessed and referred over to my GP because my counselling team aren't comfortable with the cessation of support.

                    In the meantime, the requests I've raised, both with regards to the EAP support and the access to acquire evidence relating to my grievance, which is numbering a few now remain unacknowledged.

                    Obviously I won't name the company in question at this stage, but we're talking well funded, international scale with enough dedicated people so I'm a bit (perhaps naively) surprised at all this.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What date did you add in as to when you wanted to know access had been granted in the email you sent on 19th
                      If you would like a one-to-one expert consultation with me on your employment issue than I can be contacted by emailing admin@legalbeaglesgroup.com

                      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.



                      If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I figured a week would be fair - to the 26th.

                        I have some contact now, though (yesterday late morning) . A member of HR (not the disciplinary team that I emailed) has apparently come back from holiday and emailed me out of the blue to check in and see where I am with the process, I've let them know that I'm cut off and not getting responses and they emailed me back promptly to confirm that they'd try and find out how the land lay and get back to me. I've not heard anything since. Its early days as that was only yesterday morning but there's a part of me, in tandem with my disciplinary manager going silent, wonder if there's something to the silence as an update (even if decisions or progress hasn't been made) is kinda trivial.

                        Now, just as a side note - I attended a disciplinary hearing months ago over this, in mid June iirc. A decision was to be made in a few days, then things went silent i chased for an update and was told a decision was imminent (few days or next week at most) , and then in july/early august , suddenly a new disciplinary manager was appointed and I was told it was because the company needed to 'ensure everything was considered' (om? wasn't it initially?).

                        So in some respects in terms of the disciplinary, if we ignore my greivance, in terms of the disciplinary a decision has basically been imminent for - shall we say for argument a few months. The investigation itself was brought to a close and compiled at the end of may. Am I being paranoid, to start to wonder if there is something happening under the surface that is preventing or causing difficulty internally for getting to a fair outcome? Realistically, and I don't know if it's the done thing, but realistically I would have thought a company would send you the odd email to give you an update (a decision is being made xxyyzz, or a decision hasn't yet been made, things still being considered and so forth) but at the moment it's like everyone I speak to is under instruction not to communicate, and this seems to apply to the disciplinary staff too.

                        I'm under the care of my GP and whilst they aren;t employment experts in any sense, they too thought the silence is a bit uncharacteristic as do my immediate family. (My mum worked in personnel and when they let people go, whilst it was very case depending in terms of how long the process took, normally it was done and dusted within a few days of the investigation being finalised).

                        Something just doesn't feel straight about this, part of me is pretty sure there is something about concluding the matter, or providing access to these conversations that is causing problems.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Right, bit of an update because out of the blue I received a phone call - with an update!


                          The call didn't come from the disciplinary team itself, but a member of HR who has been assigned more or less to monitor my welfare - and more just to advise me throughout the process so it's not 'a formal' update but just an insight.



                          Here's whats new:

                          - A decision is being finalised imminently

                          - The reason I haven't been allowed access to systems to provide evidence can't be given to myself yet until the formal outcome, but the likely reason is that my version of events aren't being disputed - i.e 'substantiation isn't deemed necessary'

                          - The reason for the change of disciplinary manager a few months ago, contributing to delays was because it was found this manager had not considered all facts given, and he stepped down

                          - The company I work for has decided to rebuild it's entire greivance handling policy and process

                          - It can't be confirmed until the outcome is communicated formally, but I am unlikely to lose my job in this circumstance (they won't say I won't but they will commit to the phrase unlikely)

                          - The company acknowledges had things been considered in full from the start, the process would have been a lot shorter, with a decision more favourable than the initial one made in the first disciplinary hearing by the first manager (it appears he defaulted to dismissal but they wont confirm).



                          So potentially a positive step forward, but what this might mean is I might be subject to lesser sanction. My biggest fear is demotion with financial impact (my contract does allow for this) because I couldn't stand it financially. I'm not worried about warnings, verbal, written final etc because whilst it'd be a taint on my record, I am actually quite good and comitted to what I do, so it wouldn't really have material impact apart from lessons learned etc. Loss of earnings definitely would cause family hardship though (in fact it would punish the people i look after more than it would punish me)

                          So, a drop in income would, personally, even if not legally be effectively a dismissal in terms of outcome. So the next focus going forward becomes defending myself in this aspect and it is that I'm going to work on over the weekend.



                          The battle for fair treatment never ends does it.













                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The last post is definitely more positive and it seems there is an acknowledgement that the process for dealing with you disciplinary and grievance have not been conducted very well.

                            I would suggest try not to worry (which I know is easier said than done) about what may be the potential outcome, accepting that a demotion would cause you financial difficulty. Wait to see what decision is made and then go from there.

                            Hopefully you will come back to this thread and let us know.
                            If you would like a one-to-one expert consultation with me on your employment issue than I can be contacted by emailing admin@legalbeaglesgroup.com

                            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.



                            If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Oh I will I won't leave it hanging. You WILL get an update (if you're interested). i might still need some advice

                              It's a fine line to balance - I am a believe in integrity and if I have done any wrong, I don't mind bearing some accountability. By some I mean proportionate - being accountable isn't carte blanch for a company to beat you over the head to death and that's now my concern.

                              If I am to be held accountable, it is because I accessed my own records to check if my private emails between myself and management over my health and other had been further sent to colleagues (it turns out they were). Now, I have this week spoken to a HR consultant who primarily represents companies at tribunals who says from all the bundle of documents even though it may be that I've done wrong, this is not in their opinion a gross misconduct matter (more misconduct) because whilst I do have access to significant systems, there has been no training, I had followed the correct channels in trying to resolve that point (using the company whistleblowing service to raise concerns, raising greivances etc) and nothing up to that point had been met with any acknowledgement. So without going into the nitty gritty about my health which had declined over a year period with full management awareness - there is a lot of mitigation more than i could post here without making an essay.

                              The reason I say this though is because during the disciplinary about my access, the company itself made various data access blunders - one being the refusal to let me access my own records for evidential purposes, two being the investigator who sent me by accident records containing the personal contact details (names, home addresses etc) of witnesses speaking out against me, the same investigator sent company sensitive documents to me for personal reasons (I'd asked for a excel template with the column names showing the layout of a structure of log file for a personal programming project) - he sent me one full of actual data not just empty columns, so in terms of me being held accountable, given my company is already aware of the above breaches, I am hoping, that I will be treat in equal and proportionate measure to those managers who have also themselves either looked at, or disclosed records during the disciplinary process and prior to that as well.

                              Basically, I don't want to be punished financially because it would cause severe hardship as well as irritate existing wounds because part of my greivance is already being financially impacted by bullying managers, but on top of that I sort of want any sanction I do receive, to be proportionate and on par with others who have done the same thing.

                              I will try not to worry, but I do have concerns just based on the way I've been treat so far which doesn't inspire confidence. Whilst I want peace, there may need to be a fight yet.



                              Comment

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