As I explained in Chapter Three of my book on the effective management of Grievances, getting to the truth about what actually happened in a particular situation in the workplace, is not always as easy as it should be. Sometimes people ‘believe’ that they’re being honest, when…they’re not; At other times, people lie to try to hide the truth; Then, there are the people who tell the truth, but have lied so much in the past that nobody believes them on this occasion.
Currently (January 2017) Donald Trump, the new POTUS, falls into this category. From day one of his presidency, the newly inaugurated ‘leader of the free world’, seemed quite willing to make statements that were factually inaccurate. For example, in response to claims that there had only been 250,000 people present, Trump replied…
It looked like a million, a million and a half people…
Then, referring to the media’s 250,000 figure Trump said.
It’s a lie. We caught [the media]. We caught them in a beauty.
Now, whilst I must profess to not knowing what ‘catching someone in a beauty’ really means, President Trump is clear in his view that the media were purposely misrepresenting the numbers of people present at the ceremony, in order to make him look less popular than his predecessor, former President Obama. In a continuation of this line, the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer told the (allegedly dishonest) press at a White House briefing:
This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period — both in person and around the globe
And so the ‘game’ commenced, every claim and counterclaim are now criticised by each side as being lies.
What is the ‘truth’ on this occasion? The following picture allows readers to form their own opinion.
But, more importantly, who are you likely to believe in the future. For those who have never liked Trump, they are less likely to do so now, and vice versa the Press. So even when they both tell the truth in the future, many will think they are lying.
When investigating work-related issues, whilst an employer should always try to establish the truth, if they can’t, it’s not the end of the world. As far as an Employment Tribunal is concerned an employer must demonstrate:
- Belief that the employee is guilty of misconduct;
- Belief should be based upon reasonable grounds; and
- At the time of its belief, it carried out as much investigation as reasonable.
This clearly falls some way short of the criminal test, which requires guilt to be ‘proven’ “…beyond all reasonable doubt”.