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I was wondering I someone could help me with the below on what paths I can take? I am from the UK.

Recently, accusations was made about myself that could ruin the career I am in. The owner of the company, after the investigation, found out that the staff member that accused me of these allegations was lying and had witnesses from other staff to confirm.

This staff member was fired for gross misconduct.

The staff member returned the following day and the company owner asked me to join them and the staff member for a private meeting. When I arrived, I was asked to listen to the staff member's apologies and asked if I would like her to return. After much thought my reply was "No" and the staff member plain as day swore at me.

After this, nothing more was said and everything went back to normal.

Over two weeks later I have found out that this member of staff has now been allowed to work back at the same company.

I think this is totally unethical due to past problems and after the last and final word, which was asked from me from the company owner was "No".

Am I able to file a grievance or do I have any legal say about this as my life was made a misery before and I feel like not only will it again but I have not been taken seriously.

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    It would be unwise, and against their odds, for this person to make your life a misery again, as this person is already "under the radar" and their past offenses are known... – DarkCygnus Feb 6 at 19:31
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    @DarkCygnus the flipside to that is, they were punished and then (apparently) talked their way right out of the punishment. They've been given a literal get out of jail free card... – dwizum Feb 6 at 19:38
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    The OP was not asked to decide if they wanted the co-worker to return, they were asked if they would like for the co-worker to return. This seems like more of a smoothing-over of the entire conflict than actually giving the OP any decisive authority. Also, "under the radar" means escaping observation, not subject to it. For the OP: what explanation did the co-worker give for having made this false accusation? Also, did/does the co-worker have a hard-to-replace role? – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Feb 6 at 19:51
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    @DarkCygnus I suspect they were trying to guilt the OP into saying it was OK to bring this person back. I've heard of this before: asking the wronged party, "Well, what do you think should happen to them?" instead of just following an established procedure. They don't want to fire the offending party and are counting on the wronged party not being willing to say they should get fired. – BSMP Feb 6 at 19:56
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    Never mind the company rehiring the person; I'm stunned that anyone would think it was a good idea to have this meeting with the two of you together and ask you, in front of the other person, if this other person should be invited back to work. Does your company actually have any HR people at all? It seems like an HR person would've killed this meeting dead before it got started. – user1602 Feb 7 at 8:42
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For legal recourse? It depends on a great many things, and you'd need a local lawyer to tell you. It's possible that you can sue this individual on libel, for example. Regardless, pursuing any sort of legal recourse is likely to be a long and highly unpleasant affair. It is significantly less likely that you'd have legal recourse against the company, especially if they're being hired into a position that would not interact meaningfully with you. That's what you'd need to actually apply leverage to the company itself.

Beyond that, this stinks of office politics. The staff member was fired for gross misconduct and now has been hired back. That's the sort of thing that requires significant ability to influence people. Most likely, she was either able to convince the owner to take her back directly or convince one of the people just below the owner to intercede on her behalf. Trying to interfere with that in a controlled way is going to require throwing around some pretty potent office politics of your own, and if you were good at that, you wouldn't be coming to the internet to figure out how to do it.

Still, even so, you're not entirely without recourse. You were a legitimately wronged and threatened party. You can at least express concern. Let go of "not being taken seriously". You have my sympathy on that one, and it sucks, but it's not going to help you in the face of the sort of mojo that can get someone re-hired after "fired for gross misconduct".

The best response I can come up with... pick the highest tier of the company that you can get one-on-one time with, and request a meeting with them through whatever methods your company has. It sounds like, for you, that goes as high as the owner. Be respectful. Express that you are concerned. You heard that this person was being allowed back into the company after she nearly ruined your career with false accusations. The last you saw of them, they were cussing you out to your face. They apparently have enough pull to get re-hired in spite of being fired for cause. These are legitimate sources of concern. Unfortunately, this is seriously unlikely to make any real changes right now. You'll get reassured, but it won't go anywhere - and the correct way to respond is to simply accept those reassurances. If you had the pull to get her kicked out now they would have talked with you before bringing her in. On the other hand, it will leave her on rather thinner ice overall. The owner will have made reassurances, after all. He's unlikely to appreciate being made a liar if she ever comes after you later.

If that's not good enough, then you're going to have to play office politics a little harder yourself. You'll need someone who is not you, who didn't make the decision to bring her back in, who values you enough to go to bat for you, who can get the ear of the owner relatively readily, and who was more important to the overall company structure than she was. Having them be in your chain of command would help. Go to that person with your concerns, and see if you can get them to go to bat for you. In cases like this, having someone else arguing on your behalf is a lot stronger than trying to do it for yourself. Of course, it requires that there be someone like that who values you that much. Having them be personally offended by the false accusations might help as well.

Of course, you could also just walk. If "leave the company and find a better one" is a viable option for you, you might want to seriously consider leaving the company and finding a better one... and you'll have a heck of an answer for the "why did you leave your last workplace" question.

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I am not a lawyer but I can at least say this: you're not the boss and you don't really have the "final word" even if he asked you. There could be ways for you to complain legally or with HR if you feel this person makes you uncomfortable, or is harrassing you for example. You can also try talking with the boss about it.

As for the company not respecting you and not taking you seriously, hiring back someone they fired for gross misconduct, my advice would be to start looking for another job where you will be respected. If they choose the lying employee over you, that's their problem.

  • He doesn't have the final word because he shouldn't have it. Firing someone is the company's decision to make, not his. Incredibly incompetent of them to even do this: Look, you're out of a job not because you did something incredibly wrong, but because of this guy! This guy said you're out of a job. Passing the buck, and blame, onto the aggrieved party. I'm honestly triggered by this. – rath Feb 7 at 16:15
  • Oh, and welcome to the Workplace. – rath Feb 7 at 16:16
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Over two weeks later I have found out that this member of staff has been allowed back to work.

Am I able to file a grievance or do I have any legal say about this as my life was made a misery before and I feel like not only will it again but I have not been taken seriously.

You can document your case and get it notarized. This is in preparation for the next incident. It may help to consult an employment lawyer, which probably won't be cheap - but may help you sleep better.

IANAL (I am not a lawyer) but I don't think you have anything actionable against the company. You can sue them for being jerks, but you will likely lose money doing it.

Start looking for a new job where you can hopefully go to work and feel respected - which doesn't seem possible at this one.

  • In the US, it's likely to be possible to get a short consultation with a lawyer for a reasonable fee. Check with your local bar association. They do want people with legal issues to consult and maybe hire the lawyer. – David Thornley Feb 8 at 16:10

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