Apologies for the length of this, but I don’t have any practical only theoretical experience of disciplinary action (lucky me in this job!) so could do with some help please as I really don’t want to get this one wrong.
My brother has a poor relationship with his manager. The manager and two other managers (one more senior) are drinking buddies and have formed quite a clique. A discussion a few weeks back between the manager and my brother escalated into an argument, whereby the manager ended up inches from my brothers face, shouting and pushing and poking him. My brother pushed back and they ended up on the floor. My brother walked away and went to talk to his union rep, and the manager escalated it further. A meeting took place whereby my brother made a statement about what had happened. Apparently the same happened with the manager, whose account of the incident was different. With no further discussion or consultation, my brother was suspended on full pay. He was allowed back to work a week or so later, whereby he was given a disciplinary, a final written warning and demoted. The same has not happened to the manager who appears to have got away with this with no action. It’s one persons word against the other, there were no witnesses. They have written to my brother outlining this demotion and written warning, and have asked him to sign and accept it. He doesn’t want to do this as he feels it isn’t fair as it makes it look as though this is solely his fault. The company are now pulling him up on things that are factually incorrect such as time-keeping (they have a clocking in machine which proves my brother works his hours), anything they can try on really. The company is in some financial difficulty at present, and redundancies have both taken place and are likely to continue. My brother feels he’s being pushed out rather than them have to make him redundant and pay him (he has 20 years service). The union say he could push it further but that tribunals can be lengthy and there’s only a 50/50 chance he’d win but they don’t seem to be doing much else. What does he do now? He hasn’t responded to the letter. I think he should under the Grievance procedure write back saying he’s appealing their decision, have another meeting to discuss (though to be honest I think it will be a waste of time as it’ll be the same cliquey managers running that meeting)and see what happens. If he’s going to be disciplined by a written warning and demotion, surely the same should apply to the manager? especially as he initiated the problem? My brother is off now for 6 weeks as he’s just had an operation, but I’d like to help him sort this out whilst he is off and before he goes back to work. I’ve told him for now to say he is considering his options and will come back to them, but not to say anything more at this stage until we know what’s likely to have the best outcome.
Liz Ratcliffe

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