Unfair dismissal

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When voluntary redundancy goes bad – precautions for employers (UK)

Employee volunteers for redundancy, is then made redundant on the terms offered and yet still claims unfair dismissal.  A non-starter, surely? That was the view taken by the Employment Tribunal in White –v- HC-One Oval Limited at the back end of 2020.  Ms White had volunteered for redundancy so could reasonably dispute neither the existence … Continue Reading

New code of practice on employers’ failure to consult – policy or politics? (UK)

An interesting development on the old employment relations front this week with the announcement of a new statutory code of practice concerning, well, that strictly remains to be seen.  Scarcely able to stand up under the weight of politically-charged invective and hyperbole, the government’s statement refers to “clamping down” on “unscrupulous employers” which fail to … Continue Reading

Disciplinary Procedures webinar – your questions answered (UK)

Our webinar on disciplinary proceedings last week began unpromisingly – there is no new law and little new practice to learn, I had to say, not necessarily what you want to hear from your legal training session.  Nonetheless, we had several hundred sign-ups, perhaps tribute to the enduring mystique and indeed terror implicit in conducting … Continue Reading

EAT hits employer with warning shot on disciplinary procedures (UK)

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham – v – Keable is an EAT case with everything in it – Nazis, Holocaust deniers, Momentum activists and Members of Parliament, though not necessarily all at the same time.  Oddly, despite this outstandingly diverse cast, the most important part of the decision for employers is actually the EAT’s … Continue Reading

Grievances and punishment – Is it enough to succeed, or must others fail? (UK)

If you look for the statutory source of the ordinary right to bring a workplace grievance, you may be gone some time.  It arose initially as a by-product of the implied duty of trust and confidence, and formally bubbled to the surface in WA Gould (Pearmak) Limited – v – McConnell in 1995.  There the … Continue Reading

COVID-19: what next for UK employers, Part 5 – are they at risk under the away goals rule?

Here is another good question from our What Next webinar a couple of weeks ago. More to follow soon. If someone whose role involves International travel has a medical condition which makes that travel undesirable in a post-pandemic World, would the capability dismissal process be applicable? Probably so, but we need to look at the … Continue Reading

“There are only two ways of telling the complete truth – anonymously and posthumously” (UK)

That was according to a US economist, Thomas Sowell, but it also came up at a recent webinar we did on whistle-blowing and grievance investigations.  We were talking about limits on the employer’s ability to use evidence from witnesses whose identities would not be disclosed to the person accused.  The short point was that to … Continue Reading

COVID-19: what next for UK employers, Part 4

In deciding whether to allow an employee’s request to continue a full or partial remote working schedule, what account should be taken of the reasons for that request? In our ‘What next’ webinar last week, I indicated that in most cases the safest answer to this question is “none”, and that the employee’s reasons for … Continue Reading

Bogged down in pointless appeals? – The Law speaks (UK)

Periodically a case comes along to remind us that underneath all good dismissal practice, Acas guidance and the rest is The Law, and that The Law is sometimes less rigid in its requirements of a fair dismissal than all that guidance might suggest. Moore -v- Phoenix Product Development Limited is today’s such case, an everyday … Continue Reading

Redundancy or furlough? – something for employers to think about

With the end of the Coronvirus Job Retention Scheme now only half a dozen weeks away we are seeing the first reported Employment Tribunal decisions around the interplay of the CJRS and redundancy dismissals.  This brings us the beginnings of an answer to the challenge many employers will have faced since the Scheme was introduced … Continue Reading

“You can go to the pub if off sick from work, says Tribunal” and other wild over-simplifications (UK)

This is of course not what the Newcastle Employment Tribunal said, nor is “Unless a company has specifically forbidden employees from socialising while ill they are free to do what they like” or “Going to the pub while off sick is not a sackable offence”.  However, the reality would not illuminate the pages of yesterday’s … Continue Reading

Lost in space – useful pointers for health and safety dismissals (UK)

Back in May last year we posted a piece on the protections available to employees who choose to leave their workplace because of serious health and safety fears.  As the RTO process begins to warm up, here is an Employment Tribunal case (possibly the first, but certainly not the last) which looks at the practical application … Continue Reading

Workers gain new health and safety protection from 31 May (UK)

As the law currently stands, sections 44 and 100 Employment Rights Act 1996 protect employees against detriment (e.g. disciplinary action or suspension of pay) and dismissal as a result of their taking steps to protect themselves or others in certain health and safety situations, including where “in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed … Continue Reading

All zeros and ones – EAT sums up burden of proof for disciplinary decisions (UK)

Back in March we posted here a piece about dismissing to protect the employer’s corporate reputation. In that case the employer made a very difficult choice between the claimed (ultimately, actual) innocence of the employee and the harm which continuing to employ him might do if he turned out to be guilty. On the facts, … Continue Reading

Procedure-free dismissal found fair – don’t try this at home (UK)

“Loss of trust and confidence” is often pleaded as a basis for a fair dismissal, but rarely successfully.  Employment Tribunals are astute to employers using it as a short cut to address performance or conduct issues without going through a proper procedure.  After all, a dismissal without a fair procedure is going to be unfair … Continue Reading

New “week’s pay” regulations get an A for aspiration, E for execution (UK)

Meet E.  He is the poor soul at the heart of this week’s new statutory instrument concerning the rights of employees who are dismissed on or after furlough. E is anxious that if he is dismissed while on furlough or soon after he comes off it, then his reduced earnings over that period will prejudice … Continue Reading

New Acas guidance on holding disciplinary and grievance meetings without meetings (UK)

Neatly timed to coincide with the beginning of the end of lockdown, ACAS has this week has issued some new thoughts on the conduct of disciplinary and grievance proceedings during the pandemic.  Can or should you really run these things without the physical meetings referred to in generations of prior ACAS guidance? In these respects, … Continue Reading

Dismissing to protect corporate reputation – how to keep your good name in the Tribunal (UK)

If one of your employees is arrested and charged with something more than usually distressing and distasteful, the question will inevitably come up of whether he can be dismissed. The driver for that inquiry will often be a fear on the employer’s part of adverse publicity arising from its continued employment of him against that … Continue Reading

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing – or when ignorance is not bliss (UK)

Here’s a question. Employee Mr U is accused of sexually assaulting A. She goes to the Police about it and simultaneously U’s employer starts an investigation into his conduct. The investigator J concludes that there is a case to answer, based in part on A having gone to the Police. On the back of J’s … Continue Reading

Are the grounds for dismissal the rationale or the reason? (UK)

Exploring the difference between why you do something and why it happens sounds like one of those abstract A-level Philosophy questions about whether you are a prince dreaming you are a butterfly or the other way around, but without the ability to ask whether anyone cares anyway. However, the question is also key to determining … Continue Reading
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