The Director and senior colleague of a community resource project had left their positions to take up new posts in a charity. To replace them, the project recruited a finance officer, CM, who had a lot of experience in the area, and appointed the deputy director to act as interim manager until this post was filled. Not long after joining, CM discovered that the two former staff had drawn and signed cheques to one another at a value of almost £1000. While these were listed as outstanding holiday pay, CM was concerned that no deduction had been made for tax or national insurance and there was no indication that the payments had been authorised. To try and sort the issue out, she asked a colleague for their holiday records but was concerned that large sections had been encrusted with Tippex. CM raised the issue with the Deputy Director and dropped him a short note to say she awaited his instructions. The next day CM was suspended for “malicious mischief resulting in danger to fellow employees; reading personnel records without prior consent; discussing these issues with other members of staff other than the Deputy Director; and discourteous behaviour.”Two weeks later at her disciplinary hearing she was dismissed for gross misconduct. She then contacted us.
What we advised
We discussed all the options with her, as to her own position and the concern. Though she was very hurt by what had happened, she felt the project was good and was keen to stay and try to sort out its finances. If things did not improve, she would seek another job.
We helped her bring an internal appeal against the dismissal explaining what had happened and mentioning the new law. This was successful and she returned to her post.