I told my work place last Monday that I need to go down to the 'Hub' soon - the hub is where you can apply for council tax relief and help with paying rent if eligible. The hub is only open Monday to Friday office hours and I work Monday to Friday Office hours.
I took the courtesy to phone up and ask to book an appointment and I also asked how long the appointment would last. I was told that you cannot book an appointment and that you have to turn up, go to the desk and get a ticket. With this ticket you then wait in the waiting room until your ticket is called - I was told that the appointment would last approximately 45 minutes.
I asked my work place about having time off to go to this. As work was busy they suggested that I go on Friday (last Friday) on my lunch break and then come back late. I made it clear at this point that due to the 'tun up and wait ticket system' that I have no idea how long I would be there for. I was told just to come back afterwards.
After going home (literally 5 minutes from work) and sorting the little one out we then had a babysitter (my partners mom) - we then collated our documents and went down to the hub. After getting there, parking, going to the desk, getting a ticket, waiting and then discussing options for benefits we then had to fill in the online application with the member of staff there - This all took just over 3 hours in total (also due to some traffic on the way back) and as a result I did not have any time to go back into work. The time went quick and I didn't phone work due to being in this meeting - I already explained to work numerous times prior to going that I didn't know how long I would be due to their ticketing system.
As I was driving back work phoned me, when I stopped I phoned them straight back (3 minutes after) - I was told to go into the office on Monday morning (yesterday). I had a meeting with the HR representative at my company who to put short interrogated me asking who I spoke to at work regarding this, what time I left work, the time I left the house, how long I was at the Hub, why I was there etc - All of this was making me very anxious (I suffer from anxiety sometimes).
Today I get the statement of what I said in writing from the HR representative along with a statement that she got from my Manager (which differ) - I then have a copy of company policy and am told that I have to go to a disciplinary hearing.
My workplace know that we have just had a baby and that I am the only worker (obviously) and that we are also struggling financially (going into the overdraft each month topped up by savings that are going down fast). We recently has salary meetings to discuss more money etc. I asked if it was possible for a little more due to my certification etc and current financial situation and the answer was no - therefore I needed to enquire about benefits.
No, I agree with you that they are being extremely heavy handed and unfair about this. I would ask them for a copy of their disciplinary procedure. I think that you even if you are disciplined (which I would think should be no more than a verbal warning anyway), you should be able to add your comments to this, and I'd certainly state exactly the events, and who you spoke to. about it, and what was said.
I brought the hearing to Friday in the end (Yesterday) as I did not want to ponder over it any more and just get it out the way before the weekend.
They decided to give me a Warning (which all my colleagues think is heavy-handed like you say). I was so annoyed at this. They then followed on to say the reasons for this:
Could have been better organised regarding the babysitter - When I left work I went him before going to the Hub so that we could sort the baby ready for my partners mom to look after. We then collected out documents and went.
I could have asked for another 1/2 day holiday they said - It is impossible to get holiday at short notice and they know this - Work is always busy, it is a busy call centre. Plus the fact is, my manager said I could go!
They also said that I did not apologise once in the hearing (which to be honest I can't remember but my colleague who witnessed said that I did) and that I was very unprofessional.
I am so annoyed over all of this, not the verbal warming as such but the sniggering and smiling from the HR Lady and disciplinary manager - I made a point of this in the hearing to them - Maybe that's why that threw the 'you're unprofessional' card at me. Ridiculous.
I am no aiming to get out of there as fast as I can but my only worry is that the verbal warning (which will be confirmed in writing) may impact me getting another job? Will it be passed through with the reference?
Thanks in advance for any thoughts, opinions. The more the merrier.
I would google it, and possibly go an see the Citizens Advice Bureau. It may be worth looking into the complaints procedure at work, and see if you can get that warning removed. But ask the CAB about the warning anyway - I think there is a limit to what they can say in a reference.