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What is the best way to get back into work after dismissal for gross misconduct

My wife has recently been dismissed from her job for a first breach of disipline which they claim is gross misconduct. What's the best way for her to get back into work as obviously she will not get a reference. We're not talking dishonesty here. She posted to "twitter" "HR and management are f*cking S**t" one of her 6 followers was someone from work who made management aware. She's going to appeal but I can't see them changing their decision. NB. Her comment was quite accurate but unacceptable all the same. Appreciate any ideas.


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oh dear... can she ask them for a reference if she leaves quietly? they may promise to do so so keep her quiet... they wont change their mind based on the info above... 

To address the question: the Twitter post is pretty unprofessional but I have my doubts as to whether an employment tribunal will see it as an gross misconduct offense worthy of an immediate dismissal unless she slandered a particular person or group regarding a specific issue. May be an idea to speak to Citizens Advice as to whether you have a case for wrongful dismissal? Note to all: Anything you write on Twitter may as well be written on a post-it note and stuck to your forehead! Its that public!!! Don't tweet anything negative or commercially sensitive about your employer [b]EVER[/b]!

Many firms have 'bring the company into disrepute' as a reason for gross misconduct. Also I am guessing there is some history here, even if this was a 'first offence' or she would not have been complaining about management or HR... If she has good reason to think she is being bullied / discriminated against, then a trip to CAB would probably be worthwhile. But unless there is something like that, I would say the chance of challenging the dismissal or agreeing a reference in a compromise agreement are probably slim. But to the posters actual question - how to get back into work... Of course it depends a bit on what she is good at, but the following come to mind: - consultancy if she is expert at her job - agency work if she has a clear skill which is marketable - setting up own business - personal contacts at senior levels - if she has any desire to go to uni / re-train, this would be a good point to do it In the mean time, I suggest she looks for voluntary work. This will keep her occupied and positive and look much better on her CV than unemployment.

How long was she with said employer, ckm4328? Asking because if it was a short time and/or she was freelancing before/after/during, she might be able to wrap it up on her CV as a general chapter of freelance/contract-type work. It's a tough one, and I feel for your wife. Everyone's been in the 'Oh my god, what have I done, where was my brain?!' boat at least once... shame her stint at the oars has such grave consequences. lovebunny

Oh dear, that is not a nice situation to be in. But fortunately it is not the end of the world and (even if it proves to be struggle) your wife will get another job and will eventually be able to look back on it as an "experience". There are a few different options here depending on the context of the situation. Quite a few have already been mentioned above so I won't repeat them at length. Firstly if your wife was being in some way mistreated at work which led her make the comment she should consult ACAS or (expensive option) an employment lawyer to consider her case and see what action can be taken. However if the comment was made in frustration rather than real grievance at mistreatment then she will have to deal with the situation as it is. Her first action should be to appeal, even if they don't change their mind about her having to leave they could give her the option to resign. She should be aware if that is the case then she will most likely need to waive her right to make any future claim against the company. If that doesn't work then I recommend that she get back out there and start applying for jobs. She doesn't need to put her reason for leaving on her CV and hopefully she should get through to interview stage. When she does she then needs to be really prepared because at this point she will have to be honest. At no point should she lie about it or fail to disclose it; it will come out one way or another and she doesn't want to be back into a similar problem further down the line because she lied (which could be considered gross misconduct). She must be honest and be able to explain the circumstances in clear and succinct way. She should be clear that it was a mistake and she should have handled the situation differently. She should arm herself with references from previous employers who she got on well with. In fact, if she still has a good relationship with her previous employers she should try them as a first option for a job. She has a proven track record so they may be more inclined to overlook the dismissal. Alternatively the temping route is always a good option. For short term contracts employers often don't ask for references. Often temporary positions can end up turning into permanent roles and if she has had the chance to prove herself and establish relationships then there is a much greater chance it won't be regarded as an issue. I hope this helps. Marisa (a member of the lovemoney.com HR team)

Thank you for all your answers. Unfortunately she had been there for three years so no chance of wiping it off the C.V. Without insulting my wife the job was at an exceptionally junior level. We will be appealing as the Union have suggested this and I think they will look at it legally to see if it is unfair and fund legal fees if that is the case. There were numerous breaches of the Disciplinary policy by management but I don't see that making them change the decision. She has gone to an agency who said they might have a job for her starting Monday but they will be writing to the old employer for a reference. I've decided it might just be best for her to start work there and see what happens. Just one further question do you think it is unusual in a case of gross misconduct for them to have been made aware of the issue on 13th March and them not holding a investigatory meeting until April and still not suspend her before the diciplinary hearing?  Surely if something is so serious it goes to the root of the contract you would suspend. Also nothing similar to this is listed on the section of gross misconduct specifically but I assume their going for the catch all "anything else"

That's interesting. Sounds as if they are slightly fudging the issues, covering their backs in the knowledge you have union involvement, but want her out without making too much of it. She should certainly try to deal with the issues which led to her feeling like that, both via her next temp position and, potentially, through formal challenge further down the line. If a new situation provides a more welcoming ambience and values her - the critique may stand up better against old employer, especially if the job was frustrating and she was not being treated appropriately. Sounds like an unfortunate sharp end of something that happens a lot, but with unemployment as it is, employers may figure they can get away with everything. Hopefully, they can't!

To answer your last question ckm4328 although maybe a little slow it doesn't sound like the employer has done anything to breach the appropriate process on these points. Suspension is not always necessary when dealing with gross misconduct and although it seems a while, the period between the incident and the investigation would not be deemed unreasonable. As far as the specific examples of gross misconduct outlined by the company I suspect there is probably something about insubordination or bringing the company in disrepute that would cover an incident such as this. Best of luck with everything, either way I am sure that your wife will soon be back at work and will be able to put this incident behind her.

Just wanted to say, I really feel for you and your wife, it's so easy to make these sort of mistakes and no way to undo them. Good luck - I really hope she finds a new job she likes, as she'll be much better off then by the sound of things anyway. Donna Werbner (Acting Editor of lovemoney.com)