Case law: Failure of employee to pass on information to person responsible for decision to dismiss in disciplinary proceedings can mean dismissal is unfair
Employers should ensure that it is made clear to employees involved in a disciplinary procedure that they are to pass on all relevant facts of which they become aware to the person making the decision whether to dismiss or not. Otherwise a dismissal risks being found to be procedurally unfair, following a recent legal ruling.
This update was published in Legal Alert - March 2020
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An employee accused a male colleague of inappropriate sexual behaviour and reported him to the police. Her employer also began disciplinary proceedings against him and he was dismissed on grounds of conduct. However, before he was dismissed, she withdrew her accusations. The officer who took the decision to dismiss the colleague did not know that she had done this and relied on her complaint when making the decision to dismiss. The officer who carried out the necessary investigations into the matter did know, but did not tell the dismissing officer.
The colleague claimed unfair dismissal. During the hearing the dismissing officer gave evidence that, had she been told that the complaint had been withdrawn, she would have wanted to know why. The question therefore arose whether the knowledge of someone who was not involved in the decision to dismiss could make a dismissal unfair.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal found that it could, and ruled that the dismissal had been unfair.
- Employers should ensure that it is made clear to employees involved in a disciplinary procedure that they are to pass on all relevant facts of which they become aware to the person making the decision whether to dismiss or not.
Case ref: Uddin v London Borough of Ealing UKEAT/0165/19/RN
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