I drove over to another property managed by the charity where this more senior manager was based. It was approaching five o’clock on Friday evening, the time that all managers finished for the weekend. Workers carried on working outside of office hours with an ‘on-call’ manager available on the telephone but only in the case of emergencies.
I repeated all that I had told my immediate line manager. I was then asked to hand over my security pass and keys and informed that I was being placed on ‘gardening leave until further notice.’ Other workers were told that I’d gone home ill. I guess they instantly thought that this was suspicious because I was known for never taking any time off work through sickness. The senior manager arranged to come and see me at my home the following Monday to ascertain more details about my situation.
As arranged, the manager came out to see me. Once again, I told of all the events surrounding my caution. She commented that I’d “not told her anything new and repeated what I’d said the previous week.” I thought to myself, ‘There’s nothing more to add. I’ve told you everything about the offence I committed.’ I also spoke about the state of mind I’d been in after 18 years of being abused. For a man to admit to anyone that he has been a victim of domestic abuse is not an easy step to take. Some have been sympathetic, others quite dismissive. I’m not making any excuses, what I ended up doing was wrong and I have taken responsibility for that and paid a very big price.
What did happen was completely out of character for me and I have subsequently described it as an unconscious cry for help. I do know that had I not been worn down by Sandra’s consistent abusive behaviour, I would never have committed the offence I did.
A few days after the manager’s visit, I received a letter summoning me to my work base for a probation review. As I was still on my initial 6 months probation period with the charity, the letter stated that my probation review was being brought forward to ascertain whether I’d met all the work criteria set for me. It also stated that an unsatisfactory review could result in my contract being terminated.
I attended the review. It was over within fifteen minutes. I am convinced that the outcome had been pre-determined. There had been no problems or concerns over my job performance. As far as I was concerned, there had been no concerns over my conduct. I had been honest with the organisation. However, management took a different view and rated my conduct as unsatisfactory because I’d not informed them earlier of my trouble with the Police. Within twenty-four hours of receiving the caution, the organisation knew about it. They felt I should have disclosed events earlier and so terminated my contract. I was informed of my rights which included requesting an appeal review.
I left totally devastated. This job had meant everything to me. I felt that I had been treated very harshly and unfairly. So much for understanding stigma around taboo subjects which was one of the charity’s values! After receiving my notice, I was at the lowest point mentally and emotionally that I had ever experienced.