Fighting on Company Premises

TinaWTinaW Just JoinedRegistered Posts: 5
This is a strange one. 6 months ago we sacked two lads for fighting on company premises, they had only been with the company less than 6 months.
This morning two more lads have been fighting, they have been with the company for years and are excellent workers. I have been asked by the Directors if a way can be found not to sack them,that will not cause repercussions in the future. Can anyone advise?
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Comments

  • T.C.T.C. Experienced Mentor Registered, Tutor Posts: 1,448
    This is a legal question and I would suggest that you direct it at a solicitor. Personally I wouldn't try to answer it.
  • ToffeemadblueToffeemadblue Well-Known Registered Posts: 102
    I don't have any legal or personnel qualifications, but I have spent many years working in operational management roles and my advice would be don't make exceptions. Violence is always Gross misconduct, Gross misconduct is almost always a sackable offence. Even without the previous precedent you would be on extremely shaky ground, the clue is in the question; you are being asked to 'find a way' this will be considered wrong at an employment tribunal. One of the most important principles in employment law and practice is consistency, following this path is likely to incur far greater costs than the replacement of two valued employees and mean that the company will fiind it difficult to apply any fututre disciplinary sanctions without legal challenge.
    However the previous posters comment to get legal advice is well worth following.
    Hope this helps
  • farmergilesfarmergiles Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,693
    Although this is not the type of question we would normally be able to answer, I will try to impart some ideas.

    Firstly, if the contract of employment covers this and the penalty for fighting is normally instant dismissal, then I think your Director has no choice, especially in view of their previous actions to fighting on the premises.
    If it is not covered by the contract then I think that your Director may look at giving them a sound rollicking, make them understand that this is a final warning and any repeat of their actions WILL result in instant dismissal and then suspend them for a time( if allowed under employment rules). The fact that they are hard workers and the company doesn't want to lose them should not really come into the equation.
    The previous employees who were dismissed, were probably still within their 6 month probation period and ,as such, could be dismissed for not working to the standard required by the company.

    I think that you could ask your question on www.smallbusiness.co.uk, they do have a forum for queries, much as the AAT does.

    Kind regards
    Peter
  • LeeS2009LeeS2009 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,515
    I don't have any legal or personnel qualifications, but I have spent many years working in operational management roles and my advice would be don't make exceptions. Violence is always Gross misconduct, Gross misconduct is almost always a sackable offence. Even without the previous precedent you would be on extremely shaky ground, the clue is in the question; you are being asked to 'find a way' this will be considered wrong at an employment tribunal. One of the most important principles in employment law and practice is consistency, following this path is likely to incur far greater costs than the replacement of two valued employees and mean that the company will fiind it difficult to apply any fututre disciplinary sanctions without legal challenge.
    However the previous posters comment to get legal advice is well worth following.
    Hope this helps


    I agree with Matt, the previous acts of violence have no bearing whatsoever on this totally seperate incident. This latest violent incident WILL set the precedent for future incidences and if this is'nt dealt with appropiately then the company is setting themselves up for potential grey areas in any future unfair dismissal claims, and could find itself in hot water.

    Serious Disciplinary procedures are black and white, Gross misconduct cannot be tolerated on any grounds, every employee has a duty to ensure the health & safety of themselves and their fellow colleagues. If employees do not posess the control to adhere to this in a working environment, then they are not productive workers. I am assuming that the decision to comit acts of violence in work was not influenced by alcohol and so means that it was a conscious decision to break company policy.

    I dont know of any successful, forward thinking company who would willingly employ people who make conscious decisions to comit actions of gross misconduct.
  • DiannewDiannew Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,814
    TinaW wrote: »
    This is a strange one. 6 months ago we sacked two lads for fighting on company premises, they had only been with the company less than 6 months.
    This morning two more lads have been fighting, they have been with the company for years and are excellent workers. I have been asked by the Directors if a way can be found not to sack them,that will not cause repercussions in the future. Can anyone advise?

    What is going so wrong in the Company that this is happenening! Does this not need to be looked into a bit deeper....or do the staff normally have those sort of issue's that they have to actually fight about it.......surley if the problems that are causing the staff to not get on to that degree are not identified and dealt with then this will not go away.........or am I thinking on the wrong lines ?
  • LeeS2009LeeS2009 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,515
    Diannew wrote: »
    What is going so wrong in the Company that this is happenening! Does this not need to be looked into a bit deeper....or do the staff normally have those sort of issue's that they have to actually fight about it.......surley if the problems that are causing the staff to not get on to that degree are not identified and dealt with then this will not go away.........or am I thinking on the wrong lines ?

    For a company director to ask somebody to try and find a way to keep an individual who consciously acted in gross misconduct is a joke. The director must be an idiot and have no idea on what it takes to run a successful company. If he is running the place and has such low regard for his employees safety and morale then there is no reason to believe that these men are fighting because of the way things are run. Its not an abvious reason but definately a possibility. If this really is the way a "Director" is thinking then the guy sounds like a total plank.
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    Without knowing what the causes for fighting were - the OP hasn't elaborated - any judgements to be made involving instant dismissal without taking into account any possible extenuating circumstances - for instance previous acts of bullying that haven't been resolved - would be rash and could expose the company to more harm. Fear of setting future precedents shouldn't prejudice a correct and just decision being made and if this means the people keep their jobs, so be it. It's company policy they're applying after all, not statute law and common sense should prevail.

    We have laws for many criminal and civil offences but judges often have to take into account the circumstances leading up to such offences, especially involving people of previous good character. Automatically invoking the full extremity of any law or policy without any thorough investigation or showing empathy - where required - would itself be an injustice.

    So the situation such as the one above is never clear cut and legal advice would be advisory.
  • A-VicA-Vic Expertise Guaranteed Registered Posts: 6,970
    The fact that they have already set a priesdent from another incident within their company policy leaves little room to Maneuver and seem if they dont dismiss these two for fighting could leave them open to tribunal in the future.
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    Arguably one incident doesn't set any precedent, only if a second incident of similar nature and punitive action blindly follows the first without taking into account any other contributing factors. As I said, any decisive action should be decided by company policy, not - at this stage - statute law, however adopting a non-common sense attitude in such events could (and inevitably would) lead to disaster for any company. Additionally, most grievance policies have a clause that final decisions are made by the MD, not by HR, and this is where decisions made lower down the chain can be reversed if they're based on common sense and/or in the best interests of the company.

    For example, assume one person had mildly bullied another which had gone on unresolved for a while until eventually the abusee flipped and decked the abuser. Would you sack just the abuser, the abused or both of them? If you sack both, the abusee would almost certainly take you to an employment tribunal for not taking earlier preventive action and a whole can of worms opened. And bullying can often be in the eye of the beholder, ranging from taking alleged offence at a joke where everyone else laughs or outright violence which is obviously deplorable. Such grey areas need to be analysed first before a lynch mob carries out any sentence.
  • LeeS2009LeeS2009 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,515
    blobbyh wrote: »
    Without knowing what the causes for fighting were - the OP hasn't elaborated - any judgements to be made involving instant dismissal without taking into account any possible extenuating circumstances - for instance previous acts of bullying that haven't been resolved - would be rash and could expose the company to more harm. Fear of setting future precedents shouldn't prejudice a correct and just decision being made and if this means the people keep their jobs, so be it. It's company policy they're applying after all, not statute law and common sense should prevail.

    We have laws for many criminal and civil offences but judges often have to take into account the circumstances leading up to such offences, especially involving people of previous good character. Automatically invoking the full extremity of any law or policy without any thorough investigation or showing empathy - where required - would itself be an injustice.

    So the situation such as the one above is never clear cut and legal advice would be advisory.

    I disagree blobbyh, there are no excuses. If a previous act of bullying that hasnt been resolved was actually the case then it should go through a grievance procedure. All types of disciplinary actions are there in order to discourage incidents which a) can be harmful to the company. b) can be harmful to employees.

    There is no excuse for the lack of control shown by 2 employees comitting acts of violence in the workplace. You seem to assume that this act would only affect the 2 men, if the violence is extreme then that could cause other employees i.e employees with a nervous disposition, older employees who may have problems with their blood pressure or heart conditions, a lady who is pregnant, to have fear for their own lives, and even cause adrenaline or sudden change in blood pressure to have detrimental effects on someones health.

    In law that is called affray and no company in their right mind should allow the safety of any of their staff to be threatened in any way. Regardless of previous good character. Looking at the bigger picture, there is absolutely no excuse.

    Violence is gross misconduct for a reason - it can potentially affect many people in a negative way and can even result in death. If you have 2 employees who have got away with this and allow them to continue working, you just increase the chances of it happening again. If it does happen again and someone dies or is fatally wounded, the company would not have a leg to stand on as it did not take the preventative measures it could have to stop this from happening again.

    I agree that this situation might sound a little extreme, but something only sounds extreme until it happens, and it does happen.


    NEW INN MURDER TRIAL: Timeline of horror
    12:40pm Saturday 12th September 2009



    KILLER Russell Carter's actions stemmed from a disagreement with Kinglsey Monk over some money deducted from his pay.

    The dispute over £74.75 would end with the murder of one man and the attempted killing of three of the victims' colleagues.
  • LeeS2009LeeS2009 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,515
    blobbyh wrote: »
    Arguably one incident doesn't set any precedent, only if a second incident of similar nature and punitive action blindly follows the first without taking into account any other contributing factors. As I said, any decisive action should be decided by company policy, not - at this stage - statute law, however adopting a non-common sense attitude in such events could (and inevitably would) lead to disaster for any company. Additionally, most grievance policies have a clause that final decisions are made by the MD, not by HR, and this is where decisions made lower down the chain can be reversed if they're based on common sense and/or in the best interests of the company.

    For example, assume one person had mildly bullied another which had gone on unresolved for a while until eventually the abusee flipped and decked the abuser. Would you sack just the abuser, the abused or both of them? If you sack both, the abusee would almost certainly take you to an employment tribunal for not taking earlier preventive action and a whole can of worms opened. And bullying can often be in the eye of the beholder, ranging from taking alleged offence at a joke where everyone else laughs or outright violence which is obviously deplorable. Such grey areas need to be analysed first before a lynch mob carries out any sentence.

    Its not a lynch mob blobbyh, its a termination of a contract because the terms of the contract have been broken by the employee.
  • A-VicA-Vic Expertise Guaranteed Registered Posts: 6,970
    Agreed robert but i think now they need to re-evaluate there work contract before it could become a problem, and rightfully so it is not the job of HR to decide whether or not the people in question should be dismissed but a panel of there managers or department heads and delt with in the correct manner to show that this is concidered serious and to stop possible bulling happing.

    Personally i feel every firm should have a no voilence policy with automatic dismissle but its not a perfect world.
  • LeeS2009LeeS2009 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,515
    Personally i feel every firm should have a no voilence policy with automatic dismissle but its not a perfect world.[/QUOTE]

    of course its a perfect world!!! what you on????
  • A-VicA-Vic Expertise Guaranteed Registered Posts: 6,970
    Chocolate lol
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    If we're quoting Lee, how about this where the offender was fined but not dismissed by his employer with the information sitting freely within the public realm:

    "In 2004, he was also involved in an incident where he stubbed out a cigar onto the eyes of reserve team player Jamie Tandy during a Manchester City Christmas party at Lucid nightclub. This resulted in permanent scarring for the victim although his vision was to return to normal".

    The employee - Joey Barton - was not dismissed but merely fined by his employer at the time, Manchester City.

    So far from assuming all acts of employee related violence result in automatic dismissal, this is not set in law and the decision ultimately left up to each employer. And are you saying you seriously cannot think of a single situation where someone may justifiably flip temporarily out of character due to extreme provocation yet still deserves to be treated identically to the antagonist? If so, then surely PTSD cannot ever be a legitimate defence if there can never be any extenuating circumstances?

    The world is not ideal and all cases must be treated individually not en masse. This is the way any action would be treated, whether in an industrial tribunal or in a court of law so cool thinking must be applied every single time.
  • LeeS2009LeeS2009 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,515
    A-Vic wrote: »
    Chocolate lol

    is there a woman alive who doesnt like chocolate???

    I really dont think I know any.....even the health conscious girls i know all love chocolate.
  • LeeS2009LeeS2009 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,515
    blobbyh wrote: »
    If we're quoting Lee, how about this where the offender was fined but not dismissed by his employer while the information sits the public realm:

    "In 2004, he was also involved in an incident where he stubbed out a cigar onto the eyes of reserve team player Jamie Tandy during a Manchester City Christmas party at Lucid nightclub. This resulted in permanent scarring for the victim although his vision was to return to normal".

    The employee - Joey Barton - was not dismissed but merely fined by his employer at the time, Manchester City.

    So far from assuming all acts of employee related violence result in automatic dismissal, this is not set in law and the decision ultimately left up to each employer. And are you saying you seriously cannot think of a single situation where someone may justifiably flip temporarily out of character due to extreme provocation yet still deserves to be treated identically to the antagonist? If so, then surely PTSD cannot ever be a legitimate defence if there can never be any extenuating circumstances?

    The world is not ideal and all cases must be treated individually not en masse. This is the way any action would be treated, whether in an industrial tribunal or in a court of law so cool thinking must be applied every single time.

    Listen blobbyh we are going to have to agree to disagree, I am not going into detail but all i can say is i have led successful elite teams and one of the keys to success is to have no grey areas. Maybe when i measure success i think of it on a bigger scale than what you do and maybe thats a weakness of mine. But in order to grow a team or a company into a success on a worldwide scale violence within is simply not tolerated.

    I did say successful companies mind you - I dont see Manchester City as a successful company, and purhaps thats one of the reasons why - bad management.
  • deanshepherddeanshepherd Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,809
    LeeS2009 wrote: »
    ..all i can say is i have led successful elite teams and one of the keys to success is to have no grey areas. Maybe when i measure success i think of it on a bigger scale than what you do and maybe thats a weakness of mine.

    Wow.

    You sound like that fella from The Apprentice who got the scholarship to Sandhurst and never went!
  • LeeS2009LeeS2009 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,515
    Wow.

    You sound like that fella from The Apprentice who got the scholarship to Sandhurst and never went!

    wow.

    thats incredible when i have never been on television or been to sandhurst isnt it!!! Woah!!
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,415
    LeeS2009 wrote: »
    Maybe when i measure success i think of it on a bigger scale than what you do and maybe thats a weakness of mine.

    Have you even the remotest idea how incredibly conceited that sounds Lee? I wasn't going to respond to your post but I missed that the first time, though Dean didn't. There was also your previous comment of "The director must be an idiot and have no idea on what it takes to run a successful company." Now please correct me if I'm wrong Lee, but unless I'm very much mistaken, you're simply just an employee yourself so it's you that has absolutely no idea of what it takes to run a successful business, the dynamics involved and the pragmatic decisions that often need to be taken. This is civilian life, not a matter of life and death as in the forces, and grey areas are everywhere.

    All through this thread, I've advocated finding the reasons behind the fighting and then acting upon it whereas your stance has been "fighting's gross misconduct, black and white, therefore both people must be dismissed". Bearing that in mind, how can you be seeing the bigger picture while you say I'm missing it since I think the exact opposite is true? Furthermore, if you've led successful teams as you'd have us believe - as many of us also have, including me - then you'll be fully aware that empathy and understanding of people, situations and events, whatever they are and however they are caused, are part of the foundations of a good team leader. A good leader also thinks first, acts later: a poor leader acts first and suffers the consequences later.

    Dismissing both employees without first understanding the true causes of the fighting is such poorly given advice that a tribunal could completely reverse the decision once the full facts are disclosed. Such action, if carried out, is a legal minefield and shouldn't even be a matter of opinion. Just because you fail to see a reason doesn't mean one doesn't exist and not even looking for one before acting is business suicide. As an ex-army man, how many fights have you seen break out between your comrades but did that make them bad soldiers and should they have been dismissed solely on those grounds?

    Finally, I have a name - it's Robert - as you can see in my signature. I don't call you LeeS2009 when referring to you directly so please grant me the same courtesy when we're not in the informal Chat forum.
  • LeeS2009LeeS2009 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,515
    blobbyh wrote: »
    Have you even the remotest idea how incredibly conceited that sounds Lee? I wasn't going to respond to your post but I missed that the first time, though Dean didn't. There was also your previous comment of "The director must be an idiot and have no idea on what it takes to run a successful company." Now please correct me if I'm wrong Lee, but unless I'm very much mistaken, you're simply just an employee yourself so it's you that has absolutely no idea of what it takes to run a successful business, the dynamics involved and the pragmatic decisions that often need to be taken. This is civilian life, not a matter of life and death as in the forces, and grey areas are everywhere.

    All through this thread, I've advocated finding the reasons behind the fighting and then acting upon it whereas your stance has been "fighting's gross misconduct, black and white, therefore both people must be dismissed". Bearing that in mind, how can you be seeing the bigger picture while you say I'm missing it since I think the exact opposite is true? Furthermore, if you've led successful teams as you'd have us believe - as many of us also have, including me - then you'll be fully aware that empathy and understanding of people, situations and events, whatever they are and however they are caused, are part of the foundations of a good team leader. A good leader also thinks first, acts later: a poor leader acts first and suffers the consequences later.

    Dismissing both employees without first understanding the true causes of the fighting is such poorly given advice that a tribunal could completely reverse the decision once the full facts are disclosed. Such action, if carried out, is a legal minefield and shouldn't even be a matter of opinion. Just because you fail to see a reason doesn't mean one doesn't exist and not even looking for one before acting is business suicide. As an ex-army man, how many fights have you seen break out between your comrades but did that make them bad soldiers and should they have been dismissed solely on those grounds?

    Finally, I have a name - it's Robert - as you can see in my signature. I don't call you LeeS2009 when referring to you directly so please grant me the same courtesy when we're not in the informal Chat forum.



    My apologies Robert, I had no idea that me typing blobbhy p1ssed you off so much and you have my word that it won’t happen again, however that is the only thing I apologise for.

    I will also agree that yes maybe my background does have a huge bearing on my outlook on situations and if it’s different to other peoples does that make it wrong?
    Its very easy to flip it around Rob and say that in my view and people like my me, who do not quite see life as complicated as you and/or others, that my view is totally correct. It seems my comment stirred some blood pumping around your body there Rob rather than my view….so I am left wondering what is the point of your post exactly.

    Does that comment sound conceited? It was based on what I think are the key principles of a high performing, successful team or business, in war or in business as the two are closely related. There is a book called Tzun Tzu which I am sure you are familiar with Robert….The Art of War, which has become a business leader’s strategic bible in many countries around the world. How can you say that my view from military background bears no resemblance to business in civilian life????

    Now, let’s go on to the statement you typed regarding “fighting’s gross misconduct”.

    You are quite right that not a lot of companies would dismiss 2 employees for violence, including the military.

    However there are different types of companies Rob and different levels of military teams. The higher level you go the smaller the team becomes and the more professional the person part of that team is. Even though your daily interactions and form of communication is much more relaxed and respected, so are the key rules to the unit are 100 times more important. If you are not professional enough to obey the rules Rob then you are simply not good enough and kicked out to your original unit. In-fighting is one of them, because it breeds distraction, agitation and distrust and a successful team cannot and will not succeed if it is carrying that weight among its members.

    Now nobody is perfect Rob, so yes there are times when a professional person can lag in performance….but when you are working in a tight nit group where the achievement of high performance is the must, this is instantly recognisable.

    Discipline Rob has nothing to do with Leadership. Rules, Policies and regulations exist to enforce discipline. Not Leaders. Since you are quoting the foundations of a good team leader you should know then that it is the skill of the team leader that recognises the lag in performance by an individual before his actions develop into having a detrimental effect on the team.
    Then using the skills you seem to know so well such as empathy and understanding the team leader highlights the issue/issues and deals with it so that the performance of the team and individual does not suffer.

    I wont “have you believe” anything Rob, I couldn’t a monkeys about your thoughts about me or anyone else for that matter, I will say what I know and also give opinions right or wrongly, I do this with the knowledge that the person I give these to knows they are simple offers of advice, which they take or not optionally but still can take a different view of a situation. If that annoys you in any way Rob then I am sorry but its shame, deal with it.
  • A-VicA-Vic Expertise Guaranteed Registered Posts: 6,970
    Yawnz this was an interesting topic untill people feel the need to blow out chests and flex egos.

    I feel sorry for Tina the orginal poster who asked advice and i advize them strongly now to seek legal advise and ignor what seems to me to be other peoples issues raised.
  • mark130273mark130273 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 4,234
    A-Vic wrote: »
    Chocolate lol

    like that answer after everyone had gone on for pages about how the situation should be handled and it ends up being CHOCCI !

    but looking at all the answers and my own thought would be can not change the company policy....
  • A-VicA-Vic Expertise Guaranteed Registered Posts: 6,970
    mark130273 wrote: »
    like that answer after everyone had gone on for pages about how the situation should be handled and it ends up being CHOCCI !

    but looking at all the answers and my own thought would be can not change the company policy....

    Lol i have a plan to solve world hunger and peace with chocolate want to join my pledge? lmao
  • mark130273mark130273 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 4,234
    A-Vic wrote: »
    Lol i have a plan to solve world hunger and peace with chocolate want to join my pledge? lmao

    i second that...........

    now if they could produce a chocolate that was as healthy as a banana.....but still tasted the same then yeh........feeeeeeeeed the world....let them know it christmas time ......feeeeeeeeeddd the world.....
  • A-VicA-Vic Expertise Guaranteed Registered Posts: 6,970
    mark130273 wrote: »
    i second that...........

    now if they could produce a chocolate that was as healthy as a banana.....but still tasted the same then yeh........feeeeeeeeed the world....let them know it christmas time ......feeeeeeeeeddd the world.....

    Brilliant but you forgot the most important message tut????

    Give genorusly to A-Vic through http://www.ineedmorechocolate.org
  • mark130273mark130273 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 4,234
    A-Vic wrote: »
    Brilliant but you forgot the most important message tut????

    Give genorusly to A-Vic through http://www.ineedmorechocolate.org

    dont think so.........genorusity starts at home....
  • anniemanniem Experienced Mentor Pewsey, WiltshireRegistered Posts: 1,325
    A thought from someone with a background in police work:

    If this happened on the street, it would be classified as AFFRAY, the people are arrestable and potentially up for prosecution and the resulting repercussions.

    Under these circumstances the offenders would then have a criminal record. How would that affect their employment?

    Anna
    FMAAT - AAT Licensed Member in Practice - Pewsey, Wiltshire
  • LeeS2009LeeS2009 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,515
    A-Vic wrote: »
    Lol i have a plan to solve world hunger and peace with chocolate want to join my pledge? lmao

    That gives me an idea!! lol
  • mark130273mark130273 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 4,234
    LeeS2009 wrote: »
    That gives me an idea!! lol

    hold on everyone ....stop the press.............hold the back pages.............


    Lee has had an IDEA ???
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