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Martin Searle Solicitors

Case Study: Professional Deputy Instruction

Martin Searle Solicitors Employment Law Team

Summary

How Martin Searle Solicitors acted for a Professional Deputy to ensure that fair employment law procedures were used to resolve a workplace conflict for a vulnerable client.

The situation

Richard has an acquired brain injury and requires 24 hour round-the-clock care from a team of specialist support workers. His Professional Deputy, Sue instructed us to deal with a tricky situation with his carers.

Richard’s carers are a similar age to Richard and he regards them as his friends. Many are Richard and his family’s friends on Facebook.

Richard’s brother Phil discovered that Leanne, one of the carers, had posted on her Facebook profile “thank God it’s Friday”…”I have had enough with this place”.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

Sue’s instructions from Richard’s family was that they thought this employee should be dismissed.

We advised Sue that if this incident was not thoroughly investigated and dealt with by holding a disciplinary hearing, this could result in a claim against Richard’s Estate. Leanne had more than two years service and was therefore entitled to bring an unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal.

We helped the Case Manager conduct a disciplinary hearing, following the Acas Code on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, and the final outcome was a final written warning.

We also provided a social media policy for all employees which was appropriate for carers who lived and worked with Richard.

This made it clear that any breaches would result in disciplinary action.

We advised the Case Manager on how best to introduce this policy to encourage Richard’s care workers to respect that they were employees as well as friends, when communicating on Facebook or other social media sites.

The result

The disciplined employee was unhappy with her warning and resigned. This did not pose any risk of a constructive unfair dismissal claim against Richard’s Estate as she had been dealt with fairly and their actions had not breached her contract of employment.

Our social media policy enabled the carers and Richard to remain Facebook friends, while ensuring that proper boundaries were in place.

If you are a Professional Deputy or Attorney and require Employment Law advice and assistance on behalf of your clients, we can help. Contact us to find out more on 01273 609911 or email info@ms-solicitors.co.uk.

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