What’s best when an employee faces a criminal trial

What are the right things to do when dealing with misconduct in the workplace? This was the thorny question under discussion at the latest Mac&Mac Legal Lunch seminar, delivered by Ewan Stafford, a member of the United Employment Lawyers’ network, in Inverness.

Ewan Stafford, a solicitor with Inverness-based Macleod & MacCallum presented the topic of Dealing With Misconduct: Avoiding Employment Tribunals and Getting It Right From The Start.

The well-attended Highland seminar looked at how to go about disciplining employees for misconduct, with tips on fair procedures that should be followed. Ewan said there needs to be consideration for an investigation of claims and he outlined what an employment tribunal looks for when faced with an unfair dismissal claim.

Participants, from a number of sectors including hospitality, manufacturing and charitable organisations, found the session most helpful and there was an overlap in relation to shared experiences among the group. Key to the success of this UEL seminar was the ability for delegates to share experiences and realise that the problems that they may have are not unique to themselves.

One question which sparked unanimous interest was what to do when a business is confronted with an act which is not only a potential disciplinary matter but also a potential criminal matter.

Ewan explained: “There are no hard and fast rules to apply when determining whether to press ahead with disciplinary proceedings when there is a criminal trial pending. The most important thing is for the employer to conduct its own investigation into the issues and to properly consider the options available. The employer should consider what effect the charge or conviction will have on the employee’s suitability to do the job and their relationship with the employer.

“The employer will have an interest in progressing matters quickly but in doing so should remember that it is their actions which may be called into question at a potential employment tribunal; not those of the police investigation,” he continued.

The seminar is the latest presented by Ewan Stafford. Past topics have included TUPE, Social Media and Employment Law and Discrimination. Future topics are:-

· Family Matters – a review of employment law rights for those with families from an employer’s perspective;

· Managing Absence;

· Planning for the worst – an overview of redundancy.

Feedback from the seminar:

Of the responses received so far, the following comment was received via anonymous survey:

· “Ewan explains all the topics in a straightforward way that is easy to follow and understand…always learn something new at your legal lunches!”

If you are interested in attending a future Mac&Mac seminar contact 01463 239393 or [email protected]