The worst time of my life .... EVER!

woodycool

Amiga enthusiast!
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Posts
1,671
Country
Northampton, UK
Region
Northamptonshire, UK
Hi all,

I wish I could be posting under much better circumstances.
I've been away from Amibay for a few weeks now, as I've had lots of stuff to do, but my life has now gone to :censored:

Recently (as in last week), I have lost my job :(
I was dismissed for gross misconduct and a slight possibility of industrial sabotage (btw, they can't really prove anything with this either, only some little :censored: head's say so)

Anyway, a virus got on to the company network, originating from my machine.
It was a pure accident, could have happened to anyone.

During this time, the IT network admin was looking for any excuse to find stuff to pin on me, so he went through my personal data on the server, opening documents etc.
Unfortunately, he managed to find something (MSN chat logs between me and friends) and convinced the powers that be, that I should be reprimanded.

So, I got sacked on the spot, no warning! I feel this was most unfair.

I'm now jobless, no money coming in, flat broke, debts up to my eyeballs and depressed.

Sorry for the sad, down in the dumps post, but I had to get it off my chest!
 

davideo

I look like Gizmo
Staff member
Administrator
Staff Moderator
Treasurer
Blogger
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Posts
15,061
Country
UK
Region
Boston, Lincs
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

@WoodyCool

It sounds like you life has gone down the WC!!

I hope you get back onto your feet sooner rather than later.

Best of luck mate.

Dave G 8)
 

woodycool

Amiga enthusiast!
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Posts
1,671
Country
Northampton, UK
Region
Northamptonshire, UK
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

Thanks for the kind words.
At the moment, I just cannot see a way of this crap, tbh.

I'm just a mixture of pissed off, angry, annoyed and upset.
 

Harrison

Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2007
Posts
10,153
Country
UK
Region
West Sussex
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

Isn't there any way you could fight their decision if you believe you were innocent?

These days though, with works computers, I think it is best to air on the side of caution and not use them for anything other than work. Just not worth the risk. I used to get away with downloading tons of stuff on my works computer and my bosses were well aware of it and didn't mind (they were doing it too), but its not the same environment any more in most companies.

I hope you manage to find a new job soon. It is crap being out of work regardless of the situation. When I was made redundant a few years ago after having a great job for 3 years it was a huge blow that I never through I would recover from. But you do. Sometimes these things do work out for the best, forcing you to move on to newer and better things and not be stuck in the same job for years, stagnating, and never really progressing.
 

woodycool

Amiga enthusiast!
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Posts
1,671
Country
Northampton, UK
Region
Northamptonshire, UK
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

Cheers Harrison.
I'm appealing the decision, but not 100% sure I'd want to go back, tbh.
This has all come about because some :censored: wanted to drop me in in it.

Who needs enemies when you have your work colleagues? :roll:
 

Merlin

Ministry of Retr0bright and Street Judge
VIP
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Posts
15,597
Country
UK
Region
Manchester
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

Chin up, Woody.

If I can offer a few pointers and questions that may help you. Please read these through and think carefully about last week's events.

Did the company that fired you have an IT policy and an explicit written statement about use and mis-use of company PCs in it's Employee Handbook or other documents? The reason I state this is that it is very unusual to go straight to 'gross misconduct' for this type of thing. Were you suspended from work while they investigated the allegations made by the other person? When you were interviewed about the alleged offence, were you given the opportunity to nominate a third person to sit in as a witness? Were the results of the investigation given to you in writing, stating the company's evidence against you and their reasons for dismissing you? Did the third party that made the allegation provide a written statement to the company, in order that it could be used as evidence?

My thoughts are that you should appeal and ask yourself if the company followed it's rules and procedures properly and fairly; if they didn't, you have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim. I suggest you call your local ACAS office once you have thought through the questions I have asked and see if they support grounds for a claim for unfair dismissal.
 

Kin Hell

Active member
Banned
Joined
Nov 25, 2007
Posts
6,970
Country
U.K.
Region
Cornwall
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

Bad news indeed woodycool. Really sorry to hear of your predicament & one I would not want to be in myself. I've had a bite of the Corporate bullsh!t some years ago via HP & was certainly of the opinion if I'd had tits, I could have carried on with the bull like the rest of em. Like a bunch of old fishermens wives ffs. :roll: I left before they had chance. :evil:
I hope something sorts itself out offering you some kind of reprieve from the debacle you now face. Perhaps a win for your appeal should be considered when you look at the overall unemployment Stats for the UK this year. They are now over double those of last year. You can always keep an eye out for something else in the meantime.

As Merlin says, it's unusual to go straight to dismissal, but computer crimes normally command it. Alot of the time though, it's trivia blown out of proportion, though I must add, infecting the network from your workstation, albeit an accident, is not looked on very lightly within most companies thesedays. It sounds as though they have used this as the main leverage & tried to tag some more crap on you along the way, ....the F' :censored: s!

However it turns out for you kiddo, good luck m8y & all the best. (y)

Kin
 

Justin

Active member
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Posts
12,176
Country
United Kingdom
Region
UK
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

i 2nd Kin here and hope you get sorted on the job front ASAP.

however, computers at work being used for personal use can be used as a case for instant dismissal, but you should have or the company should be able to provide a printed well documented and readily available computer usage policy, if they can not provide one then you may have a case for unfair dismissal. do you have an employee's handbook? does it mention computer usage? it may well be worth having a read :wink:

cheers, JuvUK
 

Merlin

Ministry of Retr0bright and Street Judge
VIP
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Posts
15,597
Country
UK
Region
Manchester
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

Thanks JuvUK, your second opinion on the IT policy and documentation side of things is greatly appreciated. It's hard when you are trying to read between lines, however, I think we've given him some good food for thought on the matter.

HR matters are an absolute minefield, you have to do everything absolutely 'by the book' or the whole case can come apart on you. If the company have cut any corners in dealing with Woody in this case, it will leave grounds for appeal open to him due to incorrect procedures being followed and it may end up at a Tribunal.

It could also be that the IT Manager is trying hard to cover his back and hold onto his job, as they should have had an up-to-date anti-virus and spyware system running on the network. He's been caught out for not keeping the system secure and protected and it's all to easy to pin it on you as the scapegoat.
 

woodycool

Amiga enthusiast!
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Posts
1,671
Country
Northampton, UK
Region
Northamptonshire, UK
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

the weird thing is, we are actually allowed to use our company laptops for personal use outside of working hours and in lunch breaks etc., but what's considered acceptable, isn't defined at all .... OK, common sense should tell us what is and isn't acceptable (for instance, no porn, pirated software, criminal activities or web sites inciting hatred) but things like Instant Messaging, Chat rooms & forums etc. depends on who you speak to in the company.
I was told that MSN is a no no from one manager, but yet know of another member if management staff who uses MSN 'in work time' when they shouldn't (on a regular basis too)

From what I can see, it's clearly a case of having one set of rules for me, and a separate set of rules for everyone else :roll:

Looking at some of the points above, made by Merlin, I can confirm that I believe that procedure was not followed correctly, and management's decision to dismiss me was biased, based on the evidence of some little t :censored: t that doesn't like me.
To top this off, I have spoken to someone else who works in the IT industry (as an IT manager) as well as others who work in similar positions and it conspires that they should not have opened my documents in my 'My Documents' folder/share on the server without my permission ..... from what I'm told, I can tell that they are allowed to look at what files/folders I have, but not examine the contents of those without prior warning, at least. However, this was not forthcoming .... the first thing I knew about it was when I was called in to be told that disciplinary action was being taken against me, two days before the actual disciplinary (& dismissal) :pissed:

To top this off, the company were completely disorganised with my disciplinary hearing. The paperwork wasn't even produced, I had to wait 24 hours after being escorted off the premises to receive any form of official paperwork.

I've been down to Citizen's Advice and I am appealing the decision. Hopefully, something will come of that, otherwise I think I'll have no choice but to start thinking about tribunal.

Personally, I don't want to go back there now, especially as certain members of staff have shown their 'true colours'.
In the mean time, one member of staff has kept in contact, and tells me that the s :censored: who kind of dropped me in it, has been bad mouthing me and also making life difficult for others!

As for the bad mouthing (I have dates & times of this), do I have a case for slander? or deformation of character?

Merlin said:
Did the company that fired you have an IT policy and an explicit written statement about use and mis-use of company PCs in it's Employee Handbook or other documents?
It's not very clear as to what is and isn't acceptable. The rules quoted when asked, contridict what the documents say.
Procedure changes quite a bit, as management see fit, at short notice and sometimes without warning.
Following procedure is difficult to say the least, mainly due to the disorganisation of the procedures, but also down the fact that some members of management staff think they are above procedure!

Merlin said:
The reason I state this is that it is very unusual to go straight to 'gross misconduct' for this type of thing.
Agreed!
This was the main shock for me.

Merlin said:
Were you suspended from work while they investigated the allegations made by the other person?
Nope, I was still in the office the whole time.
I only knew that investigations had taken place about 48 hours before I got dismissed :shock:
By that time, they'd already been investigating, without my knowledge.

Merlin said:
When you were interviewed about the alleged offence, were you given the opportunity to nominate a third person to sit in as a witness?
I was given the opportunity, but, being as 1) I'm not a member of a union and 2) I don't trust any of my work colleagues, I was not able to bring a third party in.
When I asked, nobody actually wanted to come in with me (out of those who were actually in, as a lot of staff were on holidays etc.) ...... maybe they all knew what was going on before I did!?!

Merlin said:
Were the results of the investigation given to you in writing, stating the company's evidence against you and their reasons for dismissing you?
I had to wait 24 hours after the dismissal to get this in writing.
I demanded that they also gave me all the evidence they have against me .... they have burned all the evidence on a CD-R for me.

Merlin said:
Did the third party that made the allegation provide a written statement to the company, in order that it could be used as evidence?
Nope, being as the person making the complaint was internal to the company, no written statement/complaint was made.
I asked to see something of this kind and was told that it "doesn't exist" as it was an internal matter.

Merlin said:
My thoughts are that you should appeal and ask yourself if the company followed it's rules and procedures properly and fairly; if they didn't, you have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim. I suggest you call your local ACAS office once you have thought through the questions I have asked and see if they support grounds for a claim for unfair dismissal.
Well, I'm hoping that my appeal do some good!

Sorry for the long post
 

woodycool

Amiga enthusiast!
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Posts
1,671
Country
Northampton, UK
Region
Northamptonshire, UK
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

Oh, forgot to add, when the virus came out, I ended up formatting my machine and reinstalling it (I have all the correct discs & licences in my desk draw)
I was accused by management of doing this 'deliberately' to cover my own tracks.
The only reason I took it upon myself to reformat my machine, is because the IT network manager couldn't be arsed doing my machine quick enough ..... I was without a machine for a whole day, making my work infinitely more difficult!
 

Merlin

Ministry of Retr0bright and Street Judge
VIP
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Posts
15,597
Country
UK
Region
Manchester
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

You definitely need to speak to ACAS, as they will most likely support your case for an unfair dismissal claim on the grounds of procedures not being followed. I cannot stress this enough. You should have been suspended on full pay as soon as the incident occurred, in order to preserve evidence and prevent accusations of removing evidence.

Any policy they had was almost certainly being breached in other areas such as MSN messenger etc. and any IT department worth their wages would have automatically blocked ports used by instant messaging on the firewall anyway. Frankly, I don't think they have a clue and are firefighting.

Take your time, gather your thoughts, talk to ACAS and let's see what their advice is. If they believe that the correct procedures were not followed in dealing with you, you can take that to the bank and they will support your claim for unfair dismissal.
 

woodycool

Amiga enthusiast!
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Posts
1,671
Country
Northampton, UK
Region
Northamptonshire, UK
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

The plot thickens.
I've had contact from a member of staff (probably the only person I trust in the company) with some alarming discoveries.

I posted a thread on Retro Gamer forum, asking if anybody knew a solicitor that specialised in employment law or knew of any agencies I should speak to with regards to this. I didn't go into any detail (like I have on here)
It turns out, the member of staff that I think is responsible for some of the above mishaps (not my source) has been emailing everyone in the company with details of my use of the Retro Gamer forum since my dismissal .... something that has nothing to do with them at all.
As well as this, said person has been making wild accusations about me to work colleagues.

I'm now starting to feel like my privacy has been violated and I'm starting to believe that I have a case for harassment!
I have logs of the conversations with this trusted source and also, being a moderator, I can see IP addresses of members on the RG forum and can confirm that visits have been made from the work's IP address.
I have the power to block the IP address, but haven't done so at the moment, as I don't want to draw attention to the fact that I know what they are up to.

I'm starting to think I need a really good solicitor now!
 

Merlin

Ministry of Retr0bright and Street Judge
VIP
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Posts
15,597
Country
UK
Region
Manchester
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

Mate,

The Data Protection Act obviously means sod all to this company. If other employees have had access to your information and personal data, then the company is in clear breach of the Act.

Talk to ACAS, NOW. They will advise you on how to proceed and tell you which solicitors you should contact about your Data Protection Act concerns.
 

Justin

Active member
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Posts
12,176
Country
United Kingdom
Region
UK
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

i could be wrong but i believe as it is a works computer and in theory everything on it should be work related, management have every right to view "any" documents or software on the pc (as they will be the licence holders) by the sounds of it the only complaint you have is that of unfair dismissal as you can not have a useage policy that only covers works time, personal use within reason is the best they can hope for, is the system time logged?

JuvUK
 

Merlin

Ministry of Retr0bright and Street Judge
VIP
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Posts
15,597
Country
UK
Region
Manchester
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

@ JuvUK

Maybe. The thing is, surely nobody at the company has the right to discuss an employee's browsing or forum membership access with outside contacts? If Woody has membership of a forum and only accesses it in his own time at work, so what? It has sod all to do with other employees. As I am not sure about personal data logged on company PCs, this is why I have told Woody to seek advice. Also, I believe personal documents can only be viewed with your permission, such as CVs, letters, etc. and again advice is needed.
 

SkydivinGirl

Retro Girl
Joined
Dec 16, 2008
Posts
7,069
Country
USA
Region
Raleigh, NC
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

@woodycool

I'm so sorry to hear about everything that has happened. I hope you get it all sorted soon!

:cry:

Heather
 

arnljot

Dad, gamer, nerd, amigian
Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Posts
3,845
Country
Oslo
Region
Oslo
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

Woody,

The best advice you have received so far is from Merlin.

Take it.

Contact professionals, all questions can be best addressed by them. Like unfair dismissal, privacy, and if you have a seperate cause with the individual who is after you.

My sister got canned unfairly once. I saw that it was, but the only thing, the only right thing, I could do for her was to help her to legal aid and give her moral support.

Because allthough you will win. They will not make it easy for you.

Be strong and sure of yourself.
 

woodycool

Amiga enthusiast!
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Posts
1,671
Country
Northampton, UK
Region
Northamptonshire, UK
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

Thanks for the support
I've sought legal advice and will pursue as necessary.
Depending on the outcome, I'll let you nice folk know how I get on.

tbh, the sad fact of life is, I have next to no friends .... my highest quality friends are sat at a keyboard, at the other end of the country (or other end of the world in some people's case), posting on forums.

Everybody's kinds words are very appreciated!

Cheers
woodycool
 

Merlin

Ministry of Retr0bright and Street Judge
VIP
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Posts
15,597
Country
UK
Region
Manchester
Re: The worst time of my life .... EVER!

Thanks Arnljot,

I have a Peninsula Certificate of Achievement (Gold Award) behind my desk, for commitment to a high standard of HR and personnel practice. You don't get these in packets of corn flakes, you know.... Peninsula are one of the biggest (if not the biggest) HR advice subscription services company in the UK and these awards have to be nominated by their senior advisers. I was proud to receive this award, as I treat everyone on HR matters in the same way that I would expect to be treated.

I've given him the best advice I can, I hope that he takes it... we are rooting for you Woody...
 
Top Bottom