Unfair Dismissal

Automatic unfair dismissal: designation to perform health and safety functions

For an employee to have been ‘designated’ by their employer to carry out health and safety activities, he or she must have been selected by the employer to carry out specific activities in connection with preventing or reducing risks to health and safety at work, over and above their ordinary job duties.

Attribution of knowledge: relevance to fairness of dismissal

In an unfair dismissal case, an investigator’s failure to share a material fact with the dismissing officer could be relevant when assessing whether the employer had acted reasonably in dismissing.

Pending criminal changes and dismissal

An employee charged with a criminal offence was fairly dismissed due to the risk to the employer’s reputation.

Unfair dismissal and investigations

A separate investigatory hearing and disciplinary hearing is not required in every case by right.

Constructive dismissal: procedural fairness during investigation

An employer’s unreasonable disciplinary investigation breached the implied term of trust and confidence which entitled the employee to resign and successfully claim unfair constructive dismissal.

Adequacy of investigation and appeal procedure

In upholding a tribunal’s decision to dismiss all an employee’s claims, the Court of Appeal provide useful guidance on fair conduct procedures and rescuing appeals.

Investigating manager's anti-union motivation could be attributed to employer

An employee was automatically unfairly dismissed because of his union activities even though neither the manager conducting the disciplinary hearing nor the manager who dismissed the appeal were motivated by prejudice against the employee because of his union activities.

Changes to investigation report did not make dismissal unfair

Changes to an investigator’s report into potential misconduct, made at the suggestion of an in-house lawyer, did not render an employee’s subsequent dismissal unfair

Dismissal for proselytising religious views was fair

The dismissal of a nurse who gave a patient a Bible and proselytised (tried to convert people to another religion) her religious views was fair and did not breach European law.

Asserting a statutory right and automatic unfair dismissal

Protection from dismissal for asserting a statutory right only applies where the employee alleged an actual breach of statute, not a threatened one.

'Conduct' dismissal for failure to meet expectations of the job

A ‘conduct’ dismissal can encompass serious neglect, omission or carelessness - here a failure to meet the role’s requirements.

Dismissal for failing drug test was unfair

The dismissal for gross misconduct of a long-serving employee for failing a routine drug test was unfair.

Capability dismissal and long-term disability

Where an employee had been dismissed on the ground of medical incapacity while his contractual entitlement to long-term disability benefits was ongoing, it was appropriate to imply a term into his employment contract to restrict the employer’s contractual power to dismiss.

Withholding evidence from disciplinary hearings

There was no unfairness when an employer withheld certain evidence from a disciplinary hearing that ultimately led to an employee’s dismissal.

Dismissal of military reservist was fair

A volunteer reservist was fairly dismissed for committing to a seven-week training exercise without obtaining his employer’s approval.

Refusal to postpone disciplinary hearing may make a dismissal unfair

A refusal to postpone a disciplinary because of the unavailability of the worker’s chosen companion may make a dismissal unfair.

Long-term sickness absence and failure to consider part-time working

An employer seeking to justify its discriminatory dismissal of an employee on long-term sick leave should have considered part-time working.

Effect of a successful appeal on the employment contract

Where a contract of employment provided for a disciplinary process and a right of appeal against dismissal, it was implicit that a successful appeal would, without more, revive the employment relationship and extinguish the dismissal.

Evidence of right to work could have been established during appeal process

Where an employee was dismissed because the employer had a reasonable belief that they were not entitled to work in the UK, the employer should offer an appeal to allow the employee the chance to prove that at all relevant times they in fact had the right to work in the UK.

Summary dismissal but no single act of gross misconduct

The summary dismissal of an employee for a series of misconduct issues was fair (although possibly wrongful), even though no single act amounted to gross misconduct and he had an unblemished disciplinary record.

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