Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

European Court of Human Rights – June 2019 The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that an organisation relying on evidence provided by the police during a disciplinary procedure did not breach an employee’s right to privacy. Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to respect for their private and family life, their home and their correspondence. It goes on to outline that there shall be no inference by a public authority with the…

Discipline and grievance , Termination

Court of Appeal – March 2019 The Court of Appeal has ruled that a nurse was fairly dismissed on allegations she had engaged in inappropriate discussions with patients about religion. Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) provides that everyone has the right to freedom of religion and to manifest this religion. It also explains that this should only be subjected to limitations in the interests of public safety or protection of public order, health, morals or the rights…

Discipline and grievance , Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal – April 2019 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled it was a breach of the implied duty of trust and confidence to serve an ‘informal improvement’ notice without first holding a meeting, as required under the disciplinary procedure. Facts The claimant, a nurse working for the Trust, was asked to switch on incubators in readiness for a procedure the following day. However, she had to leave work early due to a suspected mini-stroke and did not do this. The…

Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – November 2018 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a dismissal was fair despite further investigations not being held into a late submission of alcohol dependence. Section 98(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) provides that in order for a dismissal for misconduct to be fair, the organisation needs to clearly outline that they acted reasonably in treating the misconduct as a sufficient reason for dismissal. Section 57A of the ERA also…

Business principles , Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – October 2018 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled protection against unfair dismissal following the assertion of a statutory right requires an allegation of an actual breach. In this case the employee, who has less than two years’ service, was dismissed following a disciplinary procedure that had considered, and upheld, allegations against him of sexual harassment and assault. At the disciplinary meeting, the employee claimed that he had tried to…

Discipline and grievance

Court of Appeal – March 2019 The Court of Appeal has ruled that the decision to suspend an employee will not necessarily amount to a breach of implied mutual trust and confidence depending on the facts of each case. Facts The employee was a primary school teacher engaged on a fixed-term contract. Although she had 15 years’ experience teaching children with special needs she had no prior training for children with behavioural difficulties. Allegations were made against the employee that she…

Discipline and grievance , Termination

Employment tribunal – October 2018 The employment tribunal (ET) has ruled that the decision to dismiss one employee and not another when their conduct was ‘similar’ was fair as their actions were not ‘identical’. The claimant in this case had been unhappy because the annual Christmas gift provided to employees was of less value than previous years. A colleague, Mr Minshull, posted a Facebook status criticising this and comparing management to Ronald McDonald. Commenting on the status, the…

Equality , Discipline and grievance

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a failure to consider how a disability can be the operative cause of an employee’s misconduct amounted to unfair dismissal. This case concerned a lorry driver who suffered from type 2 diabetes. After a period of driving he returned to the organisations’ premises, parked near a loading bay to the store and felt an extreme need to urinate. Not believing he would make it to the building’s facilities in time, he urinated in the yard. The…

Discipline and grievance , Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal – June 2018 The EAT have examined whether an investigation which did not include statements from witnesses who had not seen the alleged incident was a reasonable investigation. Facts Pupil A made a report against a long-standing teacher that he had been grabbed, pushed against a wall and then had two fingers pushed against his throat. A second pupil, B, corroborated A’s story and named other potential witnesses as pupils OB, EB and GK. Pupil OB was interviewed…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance , Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal – June 2018 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that the Employment Tribunal (ET) did not assess all evidence available when evaluating if employers carried out a reasonable investigation into allegations of theft. Facts In this case, an employee had worked at the Anne Arms bar since 2003. During that time, she had received no complaints regarding her conduct nor any indications of wrongful behaviour. In 2015, Mr and Mrs Falzon took over management…

Discipline and grievance , Termination

Employment Tribunal – August 2018 The employment tribunal (ET) has ruled that a primary school teacher accused of “grooming” a pupil was unfairly dismissed and discriminated against due to their sexual orientation.   Facts In this case, a primary school teacher had received a written warning in 2002 for inappropriate and unprofessional contact with a pupil. At the time it was found that nothing sinister had taken place and that the reason for the employee’s actions was that he was naïve…

Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – August 2018 This case examined whether an individual can be unfairly dismissed, having been denied the opportunity to postpone their disciplinary hearing, despite the fact that their conduct could potentially justify a dismissal. Facts Ms Smith who had worked for the employer from 1994 to 2016, was found to have sent a series of emails to a customer using insulting and offensive language to describe a colleague. Smith was suspended and invited to a disciplinary…

Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – October 2017 Can a disciplinary investigation be regarded as unreasonable where it is too thorough? Facts Pillar was employed as a Nurse Practitioner from July 2002 to September 2014. Her role was to take telephone calls from the public and triage them to decide the most appropriate next care step. In December 2013, a Patient Safety Incident occurred when Pillar failed to take in to account red flags when making a decision. Pillar directed a patient who was…

Discipline and grievance

High Court – August 2017 Here the High Court decided that suspending a teacher amounted to a breach of the implied mutual trust and confidence term in employment contracts.   Note: This decision has been appealed and overturned by the Court of Appeal.   The case concerned a primary school teacher engaged on a fixed term contract in November 2013 which was due to expire at the end of the following August. The teacher had 15 years’ experience teaching children with special needs, but no…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Court of Appeal – April 2017 A manager accused of insubordination was fairly dismissed for gross misconduct as the appeals process, on which the dismissal decision was based, remedied faults in the original disciplinary procedure. The claimant in this case had been the principal pharmacist at Wandsworth Prison since 2002. Her employer was St George’s Hospital. Problems arose when the pharmacist strongly disapproved of a plan to move from nurse-led to pharmacist-led pharmacy services in…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Court of Appeal – January 2017 In this case, the Court of Appeal decided that negligence can amount to gross misconduct in certain circumstances The case concerned one of the retailer’s regional managers, who was responsible for 20 stores. In June 2013, the retailer sent out its regular staff satisfaction survey, for which the regional manager and a HR business partner were jointly responsible. The HR manager emailed five store managers with suggestions on how they could make the region…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal - December 2016 Here the Employment Appeal Tribunal decided expired an warning could be taken into account when considering the fairness of a dismissal.    The employee in this case had worked for the organisation for 13 years when he was dismissed without notice (but with 12 weeks’ pay in lieu of notice). His disciplinary record had 17 items on it, the last two of which were a nine-month warning for failing to make contact while off sick in December 2012, and…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – December 2016 Here the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that that the standard of disciplinary investigation needed to be higher where a subsequent dismissal would have career-threatening consequences for the employee involved. Allegations of patient mistreatment were made against a healthcare assistant, including one concerning a specific incident. Allegedly Tykocki had put her hand over the face of a patient asking for morphine during a night shift and…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – November 2016 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has confirmed that a ’manifestly inappropriate’ final written warning could make a subsequent dismissal for further acts of misconduct unfair. Bandara was a senior producer with 18 years’ service, who was working for the BBC World Service, delivering content to the Sinhalese-speaking audience in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. In 2013, he fell out with a manager over an instruction he had been given and then, some…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – August 2016 In this case, the EAT echoed the Ramphal judgment, which confirmed that HR and legal teams must not influence the outcome of disciplinary procedures Dronsfield, a university professor, was bound by the university’s policies and procedures. These required members of staff to inform the university if they were in a personal relationship with a student, in order that arrangements could be made to ensure an unbiased assessment of the student in…

Judgement published:
Equality , Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – April 2016 A born-again Christian’s religious discrimination and harassment claims failed as the employer’s disciplinary warning to her was not because of her preaching Christianity, but because her attempts to convert a Muslim colleague to her own faith amounted to misconduct Wasteney, a born-again Christian, was head of forensic occupational therapy. Complaints were made about her by a more junior Muslim occupational therapist, accusing Wasteney of “grooming…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – December 2015 In this case, HR was found not to have breached a disciplinary process by disclosing a written warning, but the subsequent dismissal was unfair as the employee had not been told about the consequences of having the written warning on his file and had been denied the chance to state his version of the events.   An IT network engineer who had a history of failing to follow reasonable instructions, was given a first written warning in January 2013…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – November 2015 Employers are entitled to treat similar cases of gross misconduct differently. In this case, dismissing an employee for punching a colleague while at a work event, and giving a final written warning to the colleague who had previously kneed the employee in the leg, did not make the dismissal unfair.   Jones, a collections officer for the credit card company, attended an evening event with colleagues at Chester Racecourse. Prior to the event, the…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – September 2015 In Ramphal v Department for Transport the Employment Appeal Tribunal had to decide whether a misconduct dismissal was fair when it seemed the HR department’s views on the employee’s conduct may have influenced a manager’s decision to dismiss him.   Ramphal was an aviation security compliance inspector. The employer conducted an investigation into possible misconduct by him involving his expenses and use of hire cars. A manager was appointed to…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – August 2015 In this case, the Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that an internal appeal hearing put right an employer’s failure to provide an employee with all the witness evidence against her during the disciplinary procedure which preceded her dismissal.   A recently promoted temporary supervisor ‘un-friended’ Derwich and other colleagues on Facebook. Her employer became aware that an image of a witch had been placed on the supervisor’s computer as a…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

High Court – August 2015 In this case, the High Court decided that the implied term of trust and confidence in an employment contract outweighed an employer’s duty to comply with its own disciplinary procedure. Here the employer’s refusal to allow a doctor to be accompanied by his chosen companion at an investigatory meeting into allegations of misconduct had potentially serious consequences for both his reputation and career.   Employers are obliged to allow their staff to be…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – May 2015 This case deals with the issue of whether a disciplinary procedure should be paused when the employee concerned raises a grievance, and demonstrates that employers should make that decision based on the circumstances in each case, as there is no automatic right to halt a disciplinary procedure while the grievance is addressed.   Jinadu, a bus driver, was instructed by her employer to arrange a driving assessment at its training centre because the…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Employment Appeal Tribunal – April 2015 The stark warning for employers in this case is that appointing an inexperienced decision-maker to preside over a disciplinary procedure could make a resulting dismissal procedurally unfair. In this case the dismissal decision was found to be substantively unfair too.   A hospital consultant had been warned informally about her treatment of colleagues and given a written warning (although not a final written warning) for bullying. Four weeks later…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance

Employment Tribunal – February 2015 This case, reportedly the first on ‘vaping’, looked at whether it was gross misconduct for a catering assistant to use an e-cigarette on school premises in full view of pupils. The employer’s policy only banned the smoking of conventional cigarettes. The tribunal had to decide whether the employer’s disciplinary action was fair.   There is a statutory prohibition on smoking in public places, including all offices and work spaces (Health Act 2006). E-…

Judgement published:
Discipline and grievance , Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal – January 2015 Offensive, non-work related remarks contained in tweets were sufficiently public to justify dismissal for gross misconduct, as the claimant concerned knew they could be viewed by his employer's store managers and potentially by members of the public. Facts Laws, a risk and loss prevention investigator for a high street chain, was responsible for approximately 100 of the company’s 300 stores. He set up a personal Twitter account to follow…