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Son Suspended From Work - Employment Law Advice Please

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scraggy55 | 10:17 Sun 23rd Feb 2014 | Civil
9 Answers
My Son received a call from his workplace, he works shifts and was on rest days, to say they needed to speak to him about a serious matter. He went in to meet his boss who spoke to him about and showed him an 8 second video he had done during his break at work, which was on an internet app called Vine.
He was suspended from work for two weeks. His company were very poor at contacting him, to let him know what was going on. He received an e mail from them showing his incorrect job title and stating that he was 'in' the video (which he was not) he then received a corrected e mail after he called them to tell them the information in the e mail was incorrect. He then received a letter last Wednesday saying that he had to go into work for an 'investigation' meeting on Friday 21st (not much notice). He was told he would not need anyone to go with him. He attended the meeting where they produced and made him discuss 'several' other videos that he had on Vine, but had never been mentioned previously! He was in this meeting for 2 hours! Should they have done this without preparing him to discuss other than what was originally bought to his attention? He had contacted Vine 2 weeks ago and asked them to remove 'anything' that he had put on there, and he had received confirmation from Vine that everything had been removed. His company therefore had already got all the videos that they had decided they would throw at him, but strangely only mentioned a specific one at the initial meeting when he was suspended. Are they allowed to do this? Wasn't this some form of 'entrapment' - as he was not prepared in any way for these other issues to be discussed. I would appreciate any advice/support from anyone that is expert in employment law. We have ensured that he is now with a Union. Since the 'interrogation' last Friday, he is now waiting for the 'deciding' meeting. The company have been appalling in contacting him, he has phoned them several times, to try and find out what is going on. He loves his job, he is a good worker, and he gets on well with his fellow workers. Oh, and......the Company told him at the initial meeting that this was bought to their attention by a member of the public - we have since found out its an inside job and a fellow worker reported him. He is a really lovely kid and I can't bear to see him going through this. PLEASE HELP.

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What is the issue with the videos and what is in them for the company to take this forward?

ACAS have some good information on their website and have a telephone line:

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1461

There are guides on how things should be done.

He should keep detailed notes and copies of everything. It's a common misconception that unfair dismissal relates to the reason when it is actually the process which is scrutinised. I know he hasn't been dismissed and doesn't want to be but no harm in making sure he has everything written down, just in case.
O god scraggs your kids make mistakes - and there are times when we cant clear up after them.

social viddies are the subject of employers' interest esp if it is making fun of the employer. and yes the employer could use them to get the employees on their side but dont and often fire them.

getting his name wrong is not much cop
and saying he is in t he viddy and not that he posted it doesnt strike me as important either

They should have told him when he was suspended that he could be fired but if they havent I am not sure what effect it has - luckily he is unionised so they will know that sort of thing.

One should always take a 'keeper' in with a meeting with the employers the result for the worker is much better. The fact that he was told not to and disadvantaged himself is probably not significant

Do they have a disciplinary code ? IF they do they have to follow it - but it is not required - but if they have one they have to give him a copy - again a union thing

ACAS hve got quite a good site on disciplinaries
and I regret to say I think the employer has mainly followed it.

and no they dont have to contact him and they may even tell him not to contact them - I imagine they are paying him ?

sorry as far as I can see the employer is following the law....

my involvement is that at work I did a lot of the workers' rep for non union disciplinaries. and yes I used to tell them to join a union...
Question Author
If you know 'Vine' they are really daft 'short' videos - we think the issue was that he did them at work, BUT, it was during his unpaid break times. No trade secrets are given away and there are a couple of colleagues in a couple of the videos. They stated he was misusing company property - BUT - the person misusing company property, is another person. It all seems very futile to me, but it concerns me that they had already gone to all the trouble of 'getting' all the videos, but only bought up one initially as their concern. He is writing everything down, as I told him to do so right from the start.
I've never heard of Vine. Were they in company uniforms or obviously on company premises, anything which could identify the company?
O try to get him to note down his memories of the investigation meeting. That would be useful. If he is not a great writer then get him to dictate to you - their oral memory is usually better.

He could always apply under the data protection act for the employer's notes of the meeting...they are disclosable.

remember that he is now in a union and so you are an unwilling spectator

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They were in uniforms, but no company logo could be seen and quite frankly they could have been working anywhere - nothing to identify the company. They have said they are going to send him a copy of the 'investigation' notes. It grieves me because there are people working with him doing far worse!




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Please explain 'what is an unwilling spectator'? I will get him to tell me what was said and will write it down, but might wait until he gets the transcript of the meeting and then we can pick through that and see if they have misquoted him in any way.
unwilling as in not wishing it at all
spectator as not involved in the initial action
and not involved in the investigation

so watching from the sides aghast - as an unwilling spectator.
There is case-law on how much an family member can get involved ( rather than as an unwilling spectator ) and that is not much...
see ACAS site

There may be other people who you feel/know are more involved who have not been suspended
but that is irrelevant
also, if he joined a union after the incident occurred, they may not be willing to help him with this incident. please do check that they are aware of this when contacting them next, or you could be throwing good money away (but i would advise anyone to be part of a union). and tell your son never, ever go to a meeting of this kind without representation, or at least someone else on his behalf taking notes.

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