Sharney Randhawa, Associate Solicitor, Employment

Dealing with Discipline – Taking early action in allegations of professional misconduct

29
Jul

Within a number of professions - teaching, law, accountancy, health and social care - employees must adhere to professional codes of conduct. Failure to do so can result in an employee becoming subject to disciplinary proceedings.

Professionals working in these sectors need to be made aware of the potentially damaging consequences that an allegation of professional misconduct or wrongdoing can have on their career. Allegations of this kind, which may arise in the course of an employee’s everyday work, can quickly become serious and can be highly detrimental to a person’s career prospects.

The nature of some professional discipline cases means they are highly sensitive. It is therefore the role of specialists to limit the damage and disruption to the reputation of the individual or the business concerned, regardless of the circumstances. Throughout the process, a specialist will always be best placed to represent you and can procure the most favourable outcome possible.

Specialist, professional discipline lawyers in the North East are few and far between, which means that cases of this type are frequently referred to law firms outside of the region. Durham City’s pre-eminent law firm, Swinburne Maddison LLP, hopes to change this and, in 2018, professional discipline lawyer, Sharney Randhawa, was appointed to join their experienced employment team.   

Sharney’s career began at a major London law firm where she was exposed to a variety of professional discipline and regulatory cases, assisting on several financial regulatory matters before the Financial Conduct Authority - including the LIBOR investigations. 

Witnessing first-hand the pressure that professionals face when dealing with regulatory and disciplinary investigations, Sharney developed her knowledge within this field and was ranked in The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2017 edition as a recommended lawyer in professional discipline.

 She advises clients on a multitude of professional issues before a wide range of regulatory bodies including the General Medical Council, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, General Teaching Council and the Financial Conduct Authority.  

In an ongoing case, Sharney continues to represent a former teacher in a complex matter involving an initial whilstleblowing claim which ultimately resulted in the client’s dismissal and a subsequent referral to the regulator: General Teaching Council Scotland.  As well as operating in a completely different legal jurisdiction, Sharney faces the additional challenge of having to carefully manage the different claims taking place concurrently (in relation to the whilstleblowing element, this is heard in the Employment Tribunal, and the professional discipline fitness to practice investigation is heard by the Regulator).

Commenting on the case, Sharney said: “whistleblowing in the professional sector and the potential for repercussions with both the employer and the regulator, makes for a daunting and often hostile proposition for many employees. It is important that we are able to defend our clients robustly if and when they are treated unfairly as a result of making protected disclosures.”

If you are, or believe that you may become, the subject of professional disciplinary proceedings, or if you require advice on any other aspects of employment law, please contact Sharney Randhawa on shr@swinburnemaddison.co.uk or by phone on 0191 3842441.

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