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Case law: Dismissal for misconduct can still be fair even if employee puts things right

Employers may still be able to dismiss an employee for gross misconduct, even if the employee subsequently attempts to put things right, according to a recent ruling.

Legal Alert

This update was published in Legal Alert - March 2016

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

An immigration officer accepted around £200 from an individual during the immigration process (potentially a bribe). She later reported it and returned the money but there was a delay before she did so - and her employer had found her explanation for the delay to be inconsistent and implausible. While the evidence was insufficient to bring criminal proceedings, her employer dismissed her for gross misconduct. She claimed unfair dismissal.

The Employment Tribunal said the employee was in a position of trust, carrying out an important public function, and the relevant Home Office policy required that bribes be reported immediately. It ruled that these facts made it reasonable for her employer to doubt her honesty and outweighed the fact she had eventually reported the bribe, and her previous good employment record. It was therefore fair to dismiss her for gross misconduct.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendations

  • Employers should be aware that, in certain circumstances, an employee guilty of misconduct may still be disciplined, even if the employee has subsequently attempted to put the situation right

Case ref: Blake v Home Office ET/2302074/2014

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