Information was disclosed to BACP, which was considered under Article 12.6 of the Articles of Association.
Formal allegations were raised with the member, Ms Dzierzek, on 17 March Year 3. A summary of the allegations is as follows:
In September Year 2 Ms Dzierzek made a declaration on her BACP membership renewal form that she had been dismissed from her place of work in October Year 1, following disciplinary action. Ms Dzierzek had worked [ . . . ]. She stated that she did illegitimate [sic] discounts for a few months from summer year 1, in that she would give discounts to random customers who were not entitled to any discount, using the Managers discount card. She believed the discounts amounted to a few hundred pounds.
Ms Dzierzek recalled that in around October year 1 she received an email from the [ . . . ]’s Head Office inviting her to an investigation meeting during which she admitted to the above. A week later there was a disciplinary hearing and she was dismissed. [ . . . ].
Ms Dzierzek tried to retrieve the paperwork relating to the matter, however confirmation was received from the Head Office of her former place of work, that the paperwork was destroyed in line with their destruction policy. She states, that she had also destroyed the paperwork she had relating to the matter, some time ago.
The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Ms Dzierzek's continuing membership of this Association and the Panel considered the following allegations:
- It is alleged that Ms Dzierzek's actions have brought, or may yet bring, the reputation of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute in that having been subject to a disciplinary procedure she was dismissed from her employment.
- It is alleged that Ms Dzierzek's behaviour, [ . . . ] from her employer, is incongruent with that which is expected of a member of BACP.
- It is alleged that Ms Dzierzek's failure to notify BACP of the disciplinary matter, which was completed in around October Year 1, until her renewal application in September Year 2, is contrary to the terms and conditions of her membership and is therefore incongruent with the behaviour which is expected of a member of BACP.
The member was invited to send in a written response and made a response.
Article 12.6 Panel's Decision
The Article 12.6 Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Articles of Association. Ms Joanna Dzierzek's membership would be withdrawn subject to appeal. Ms Dzierzek had 28 days from the date of notification of its report to make an appeal. In the absence of an appeal, notification would be given to Ms Dzierzek by the Chair of the Association with regard to the withdrawal of membership.
The reasons for the Panel’s decision was as follows:
In addressing the issues the Panel gave due consideration to all the information supplied by Ms Dzierzek. The Panel considered the following points to be central in its decision making: -
- The issue declared by Ms Dzierzek was of a serious nature. It was [ . . . ] from her employer, a deliberate and prolonged act which took place over time.
- Whilst Ms Dzierzek has shown candour at this time, has reflected on her actions, and has demonstrated some self awareness in respect of the issue, the Panel was mindful that the act was one of dishonesty, and could not reconcile her explanation of her personal situation with the deliberate act of giving discounts to random customers, in her work place.
- The Panel also noted Ms Dzierzek's did not notify BACP of the dismissal until almost one year later. Ms Dzierzek explained that she did not let BACP know straight away as she only noticed the question when renewing her membership, however the Panel was not satisfied with the explanation as not only are the Terms and Conditions on initial application for membership clear, there is an on-going duty on members to report issues which may affect their suitability membership.
In mitigation the Panel took account of the fact that when challenged by her employer, she admitted her actions. The Panel noted the personal circumstances which Ms Dzierzek, found herself in at the time and was sympathetic to her situation. The Panel also appreciated Ms Dzierzek's subsequent learning and noted that she continues to address the matter[ . . . ].
However, given the serious nature of the information disclosed, which also amounted to a breach of trust, the Panel concluded that Ms Dzierzek’s behaviour, was incompatible with the ethical and behavioural standards that are expected of a member of BACP and that Ms Dzierzek's actions would result in the reputations of counselling and psychotherapy and BACP being brought into disrepute, if the public were accurately informed of all of the information. The Panel unanimously agreed to implement Article 12.6 and withdraw Ms Dzierzek’s membership, subject to any appeal.
Ms Dzierzek did not appeal the decision and her membership was withdrawn.
Any future re-application for membership will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Articles of Association.
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