Monday 16 July 2012

'Breakdown of Trust' Dismissals

[Thanks to Jibin Philip, assistant solicitor at Police Federation of England and Wales, for preparing this case summary]

Can 'breakdown of trust' always be a substantial and sufficient reason for dismissal?

No, says the Court of Appeal in Leach v OFCOM. The Court has reasserted an employee cannot always be dismissed for 'breakdown of trust', and it depends on relevant circumstances.

The Court of Appeal held that in this case the employment tribunal considered all relevant facts and was entitled to find that the breakdown of trust by the Claimant was a substantial and sufficient reason for his dismissal. The Court of Appeal further stated that although mutual trust and confidence is at the heart of employment relationship, breach of it is not a 'convenient label to stick on any situation' to dismiss an employee in the absence of other lawful reasons. In deciding the reason for dismissal and whether it is substantial and sufficient to justify the dismissal, an ET has to examine all relevant circumstances.

The Court of Appeal also stated that Article 6 (right to a fair trial) of European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) had not been infringed in the dismissal procedure as it did not constitute determination of any civil rights and any interference of Article 8 (right to respect for private life) by the consequences of dismissal was justified as it was done for a lawful reason and was in accordance with law. 

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