Member Since: 10th Jun 2003
Project Manager N/A
My discussion replies
5th Feb 2009
On the face of things, bullying as gross misconduct seems a safe enough conclusion. However if the bully is truly unaware of their behaviour and you have never addressed this before - then I'm not convinced an ET would support your decision to consider this gross misconduct unless your policy specifically mentions bullying as a gross misconduct offence and gives some specific examples of what constitutes bullying.
After all one man's bully is another man's best friend...
I do sympathise with victims of bullying and having been there myself with no recourse, it's an awful place to be.
But, I think that the position of an employer is to be responsible to all their staff, and addressing the problem might be as simple as a warning with the strict understanding that any further episode of bullying would constitue gross misconduct (explicitly stated in writing) - you never know they might actually change, and if they don't it won't take long for you to sack them.
However if the bullying was on the ground's of [***], race, sexuality, age, religion, disability - then you have a potential discrimination case, and in this instance you might be able to justify gross misconduct based on contravening equality legislation as breaking the law at work, could be easily classified as gross misconduct...
And if your contract allows for gross misconduct to be an "instant dismissal" offence you might be able to waive any notice pay etc. otherwise it's safest to pay out the notice period.
5th Feb 2009
My current organisation is based in a country where we don't feel the credit crunch all that much, so our policy is based on rank - CEO flies first class, Managers fly Business, and everyone else flies economy.
I'm not convinced that it's the best policy - my previous company made everyone including the CEO fly economy - I'm not convinced that's a good idea either.
The company before that had a simple rule of thumb which seems fair - fly for less than 4 hours and go economy, fly for more than 4 hours but less than 12 and go business, fly for more than 12 hours and go first class.
As for expenses all the company's I work with nowadays allocate a per diem rate based on the costs of a decent hotel, food money etc. and it's up to you to sort out the details - yes, you can make money by going cheap if you want, or you can have a slightly more luxurious time if you want. That's pretty fair and gets around the arguments of why X stayed in the Hilton, but Y only stays in the Holiday Inn...
4th Feb 2009
I don't think you should pay up - if the guy had actually accepted the job and left his current employer - there would be an obligation to pay up, even on a verbal offer.
But as the guy is still at work, call him, let him know what has happened and he'll probably be OK with it. He could technically push for a settlement but you could argue he hasn't accepted because he hasn't had the ACAS meeting, but I doubt he will - he'll probably be relieved to stay in a secure job in these uncertain times.
30th Jan 2009
And as such you already know what you should do - which is not let the employee attend work.
Yes, it is likely that the company would be held liable if this employee comes into work and gets worse.
The exception to this is, if the employee goes back to their medical professional and gets it in writing that it would be OK for them to attend for reduced hours.
30th Jan 2009
...to deprive staff of money. I think you'd find that if anyone ever complained about this that by paying something - you've made this an admission that this is work and therefore you should be paying minimum wage for the whole thing and not 10 pounds a day.
It beggars belief really that for a 5 month job, you would require someone to attend a 1 week training course at their own expense. That's a 5% reduction in contract value... and I suspect that these "seasonal staff" are already on minimum wage...
29th Jan 2009
It seems to me the two easy ways to resolve this to everyone's satisfaction are either
a) Change the rule - if keeping holiday's in peak time is that important to your staff, then just change the rule even if it means a slightly harder week for those left in the office
b) you are essentially changing a 52 week a year staff member into a 40 (or less) weeks a year staff member - use the additional budget to hire a temp to cover...
You're right this lady should get flexible working, but as an employer that means learning to flex a bit too...
29th Jan 2009
Last time I went through a redundancy issue with a company, two people who were not in the firing line quit because they believed it was a done deal - leaving us down two valuable employees and stuck with two we definitely hadn't intended on keeping...
Maybe one last go at a letter is in order - stating that it is not a done deal, that the consultancy process is a legal obligation, and that if she does not wish to attend, you will meet with her representative or conduct a telephone consultancy, otherwise you will assum that she waives the right to be consulted and is happy to be informed of the outcome in writing.
That should cover it as long as it's sent registered post...
29th Jan 2009
The benefit of the doubt is what I would normally recommend - after all many people make mistakes on expenses forms.
But... you already have evidence that the guy is on shaky financial ground and his income does not match his outgoings - is it beyond the realms of possibility that this was attempted fraud? And if it's not don't you think that you need to inform the board just in case? They may take no action, after all it may be a genuine mistake, but I'm not sure they'd be pleased to be in the dark.
And sleeping in the office is symptomatic of the above too. I don't think there's any harm done in sleeping in a properly alarmed office - I don't think it's a good idea on a long-term basis (think of the smell...) but as a one-off, there's no real harm done. (Many, many years ago I once slept in my office in London as I'd missed the last train and didn't have the cash for a hotel.)
However in this case it rings another alarm bell regarding the manager's financial circumstances - and again if I was on the board I'd want to know, even if it was only to have a friendly chat to make sure things were OK...
But it's always going to be your call - only you have the evidence and only you can make the decision here.
In all honesty though - if the board find this out from someone else, they will not be happy with the staff who didn't come forward.
29th Jan 2009
You need to go ahead or otherwise you can't move forward on this - give them written notice requiring them to attend or to enable a representative to attend (union rep or colleague) on their behalf - stating your sympathy for their anxiety and that it is understandable but that the process still has to continue.
29th Jan 2009
First let me say I'm sorry to hear of your situation, unfortunately it is perhaps all too common.
It is clear from your note that you don't feel that you have the support or backing of your manager and that they have crossed the line in to bullying.
Normally I would advise speaking to the manager themselves about their behaviour but from what you say you clearly no longer have any trust in this person and lack the confidence to try and sort of confrontation with them.
So I would advise you to submit a formal grievance putting your feelings into writing to both HR and the person's line manager, put as much detail as possible into this and submit it prior to your review (it's a shame that the timing of your review will coincide with your grievance - if you put it in directly before they may conclude you knew what was coming and tried to get a punch in first, or after it may be construed as sour grapes - assuming you get a poor review, otherwise the whole thing will come as a shock to the manager...) and then you need to hope for a sensitive and compassionate response from your senior team.
If you don't get it, then there's always the constructive dismissal card post-grievance but it's always a pain to demonstrate at tribunal - the ugly truth is at that point, you may need to look for a new job.