Family freak-out

When Mood Music
2006-02-03 17:54:00 thoughtful Australian Christmas!

The main issue back here has been my sister’s unfair dismissal by Morrisons on 24th September 2005. Apparently on that day she was cleaning the sweetie area when she was asked to come to the store office ‘for a chat’. In the office, a local HR person asked her to sign a folded-to-A5 blank piece of A4 paper*. She was then escorted to the staff locker area, instructed to clean out her locker, hand over her staff ID and leave the store.

The next day she phoned in sick (and there’s no way our mum would let her get away with feigning sickness) but was told that she was ‘never to set foot in Morrisons again’. Mum intervened in that call (or was later phoned by the store management) to say that Susan had been sacked for pilfering. The story has been changed since then: they now seem to be saying:

  • Susan was ‘allowed to resign’ to save her the ignominy of being sacked.
  • She was seen to pilfer a sweetie by a security guard.
  • She spat out the sweetie onto a table.

Susan maintains she took nothing (and she is well aware that pilfering is an offence liable to summary dismissal for ‘gross misconduct’), spat nothing and in no way resigned. She knows that without a job, she has no income** and if she was being sacked, even summararily, she should have first been told why at the time and been allowed representation at any proceeding.

After months of non-communication from Morrisons, Susan was invited to a ‘grievance hearing’ on Tuesday at 10am. She and her MENCAP advisor arrived at 9.55 and were told that the person who was to run the hearing wasn’t available. Instead a Morrisons store manager from Aberdare (and so not part of the aggrieved or aggavator’s line-management, as you would expect) who had had 90 minutes to become acquainted with the case, tried to run things. After Susan and her MENCAP advisor had been kept on ice for 90 minutes, he asked them to reconvene next Tuesday since ‘key people’ weren’t currently available.

*However, during the hearing, the paper was shown. Someone else had written a resignation letter above Susan’s signature. (The Morrisons people agreed that the actual letter was in someone else’s handwriting.) When the MENCAP advisor asked for a photocopy, she was told that photocopying facilities weren’t currently available. I’ve just made sure that Dad’s scanner will work with my laptop and so will be able to block that loophole on Tuesday.

**Not sure whether or not Susan gets income support, jobseekers’ allowance or any other benefit. The local dole office (can’t recall what they now call themselves or which government department runs them) has sent Susan a stock reply saying her entitlements are (at the very least) reduced because she ‘voluntarily’ left her job ‘to pursue other career opportunities’ (a phrase which is byond Susan’s vocabulary!). To add insult to injury, she’s just received a tax form stating that she owes the Inland revenue over £1400 in overpaid tax credits.

Right now I’m trying to sort and file all her documentation…

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