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Entrepreneurs Panel

Julie Meyer
Michael Oliver
Jennie Johnson
Steve Purdham
David Pollock
Tony Caldeira
Brian Hay
Laura Tenison
Jeremy Roberts
Debbie Pierce
Charlie Mullins
Richard O'Sullivan

Suspend or let go?

Richard O'Sullivan

Founded Millie’s Cookies in 1985 and went on to sell the Bury-based chain to catering giant Compass in 2003 for £24 million. In 2007 he signed an agreement with Boost Juice Bars – an Australian-based juice chain – to operate its UK outlets. The tenth Boost unit opened in the UK in Bristol in June 2009. O’Sullivan has been chairman of the Liverpool bar chain Baa Bar since 2006 and the Mexican food chain Barburrito since October 2008.

Question: 

My best foreman has been convicted of assault and given a suspended sentence. What message would I be sending out by keeping him on?

Answer: 

If he has breached your firm’s policies and procedures then by continuing to employ him you are leaving yourself open to challenges from others thereafter.

Morally, if an employee has been sentenced (suspended) to prison for assault, his fellow workers should not be expected to work with him. He’s obviously done something fairly nasty.

The temptation to keep him on because he is “your best foreman” must be outweighed by the compromising position it leaves you in going forward.

A judge may give someone a second chance by suspending a prison sentence, but on the basis that a prison sentence is designed to remove a person from general society, i think it’s only common sense that they be removed from the workplace.

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