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Google Effect - Advice Needed


Google Effect - Advice Needed

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RunningMan
RunningMan
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*UPDATE 6*

Bad news. Today I went in for a meeting and they sacked me for 'Potential Serious Misconduct - namely the potential damage to the reputation of the business'.

Bit gutted but I think deep down I knew it was coming. I'm going to make an appointment to speak to a solicitor and consider my next move.
RunningMan
RunningMan
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*UPDATE #7*

This week I spoke with a solicitor. She agreed that I had been unfairly dismissed but because I have not worked there for two years, I have no legal recourse. I am, therefore, unable to pursue the company for unfair dismissal. How frustrating! My only option is to appeal the decision through the company's internal appeal process. My solicitor will also look at any other possible avenues or angles that may assist my case but the simple fact is: the law is not on my side. It seems entirely unjust that those who want to work hard, do well and rebuild their lives after making bad choices can be treated like this. However, that is the state of play in this instance.

So what's next? I will appeal and see what happens. Yes, it is disappointing to be in this position, but I plan to persevere and I am sure that something better will come in the fullness of time. I also wanted to say thanks to all of you who bothered to read these updates, especially those of you who were kind enough to post. Many of us who have to live with the everyday consequences of a criminal record can often feel marginalised, isolated and just plain useless! Reading your posts helped me a lot and reminded me that I am not alone. Thanks again and I will keep you updated on the appeal and my future plans.
RunningMan
RunningMan
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*FINAL UPDATE*
Today I received a letter from my former employer telling me my appeal had failed. They acknowledged that had they picked up on the unspent convictions on my original application form, I would never have been employed in the first place. Despite this, they still employed me and I was an excellent worker, but because my convictions have come to light (through the google effect), the dismissal still stands due to "some other substantive reason" and because "of the breakdown of the working relationship between [me] and your colleagues as well as the potential reputational damage to the Company."

Six months of my life wasted! Very disappointed. Made worse by the fact that this dismissal is now on my permanent employment record and will make finding another job even more difficult.

Many others on this Forum have a similar story, I know, and I will follow their advice: keep applying for jobs - maybe in lower paid/lower skilled positions - but get some extra qualifications under your belt and stay positive as they will be spent eventually. Thanks to those who have posted in the last 6 months especially with practical, positive advice. It has helped a lot.

Never, never give up.

RM
RunningMan
RunningMan
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Thanks 'Help Needed' - your advice came in as I was drafting my response to the others.

Yes, none of this is part of a formal disciplinary process or investigation so I am so glad I did the right thing and 'ticked the box'. The Company is a big one so I can look elsewhere for possible vacancies. They won't simply create a post elsewhere and move me. And at the moment, there are limited opportunities. TBH the thought of having to go back and face people's possibly negative / hostile reactions is not a pleasant one. My Manager has given me until Monday to consider what I want to do...
RunningMan
RunningMan
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Thanks Deb S, that is an encouraging story and makes a refreshing change from the usual narrative around people with convictions. I am not sure what the nature of your friend's offence was but in my case it is something which brings out the worst in people. The rules of this Forum prohibit me from going into details but I am sure you can read between the lines. Moreover, I am based in a big warehouse environment with men who would have little sympathy for my position and the "news" has spread across the whole site. If it were just a few blokes in our department then I guess this would be more manageable but I am not sure how the managers can control it when 500+ people know.
RunningMan
RunningMan
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*UPDATE*
Thanks to all for the advice and feedback. On Tuesday this week, with the agreement of the Management Team, I returned to work. It was difficult but not a disaster. Most staff blanked me but a few were OK. I was prepared to persevere with it as I want to keep working and have done well in this job.

This morning (Wednesday), my Department manager rang me. He told me I was being suspended due to 'the emotional distress it was causing the 500 staff in the warehouse." They have now started an investigation and I will be required to attend a meeting at some point in the future.

I am not sure what to do! Any feedback or advice would be welcome as I seek to find a way forward.

Thanks again
RunningMan
RunningMan
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*UPDATE #2*
Thanks to all of you for the feedback and comments. After nearly a month of being suspended, I received a phone call this afternoon (9/3) inviting me to attend an 'Investigation Meeting' on Wednesday. I am being investigated for creating an 'untenable working environment' and 'potentially bringing the company into disrepute'. This is the first I have heard of it. It feels like I am being scapegoated for other people's reactions when I have done nothing wrong. The Manager conducting the investigation was given the case last week. Why it has taken three weeks to do that I am not sure. She wants to meet with me first to get some information. Although this is a first step, they seem to have decided to go down this formal route probably with a view to getting me out. I have taken some legal advice. Most lawyers were not interested unless I paid up front (one wanted over £3000!). However, one gave me some free advice over the phone. I do have a good case but a lot would depend on what the business did next. Once I know that, she recommended I give her a call and make an appointment for an hour's consultation (£200+VAT!!!). She would then be able to advice on my specific situation.

The stage is set. I will let you know how it goes....
RunningMan
RunningMan
Supreme Being
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*UPDATE #3*
The meeting went about as well as could be expected. They have decided to investigate me for "A breakdown in working relationship between Staff Member, Department and Branch due to a prior conviction that could cause reputational damage [to the Business]." Minutes were taken and I received a copy of them at the end.

I put across the basics of my case and my own concerns about their handling of it. I also asked some questions about a possible breach of confidentiality that may have 'tipped off' another staff member to google my name in the first place. I came away feeling I had 'set my stall out' and, if they choose to take disciplinary action, I have a strong and robust case. They are now investigating further and will come back to me in due course.

Thanks to all for the advice - especially Debbie on the helpline - watch this space for future updates.
RunningMan
RunningMan
Supreme Being
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Posts: 48, Visits: 3.2K
*UPDATE #4*
This week I was asked to attend a second informal meeting with the manager conducting the investigation into my suspension. It was short but sweet. Before being suspended, I had discussed with my line manager a possible 'positive exit strategy' if I was unable to continue to work in my current role. This might include support to find a job elsewhere in the business, a guarantee of a good reference and other options. We never explored any of these options as I was suspended shortly after. However, at this most recent meeting the investigating manager asked more about this and what I might be willing to consider.

Clearly this is no guarantee of anything! I know they may still continue down the disciplinary route. However, I was able to state plainly I am open to negotiation and for the first time they seemed to be listening. I also made clear that dismissing me (and rendering me virtually unemployable), will leave me no choice but to resort to more formal avenues of relief. I would also speak to a solicitor if they do make any offer to ensure I am being treated fairly under UK employment law provisions.

For the first time I felt a bit more positive and, after six weeks off, I really want to see this resolved so I can move forward, even if it means finding another job.
RunningMan
RunningMan
Supreme Being
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Posts: 48, Visits: 3.2K
Hello
Last week my unspent criminal convictions came to my employer's attention (and to all the other staff) due to the 'Google Effect'. Thankfully, I declared them on my application form when I applied for the job 18 months ago - the employer checked! - and because I have done the right thing and been an exemplary employee, they want to support me. I had an emergency meeting with my Department Manager last Friday to discuss this and I will see him again today (Tuesday 3rd) to discuss options. The problem is I am not sure what options I have! eg Can they force me to remain in my current position despite possible risk to my safety? Can I request a re-assignment to another part of the business? Am I obliged to accept any offer they make? Under Employment Law what rights, if any, do I have to protect me from being forced out?
I am sure some of you in the Forum have been through this so would appreciate any thoughts/feedback
Thanks
GO


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