Thursday 26 April 2007

Statutory Dismissal Procedure

An accounts clerk was dismissed for fraudulent accounting. The dismissal was automatically unfair, because of failure to follow the statutory dismissal procedure, but the tribunal reduced the basic and compensatory awards by 100%, commenting, "if ever there was a case for a 100% reduction for contribution, this was it". The appeal to the EAT raised two important points.

First, Elias P. overturned the finding that the dismissal was automatically unfair simply because some evidence was given to the employee during the disciplinary hearing. The "basis" for the allegation was given to her in advance, and that was all the statutory procedure required. In holding that all the evidence had to be provided to an employee in advance of the hearings, the tribunal set the requirement under step 2 "far too high".

Second, the tribunal had erred in ordering a nil basic award on grounds of a 100% reduction, since s120(1A) ERA provides for a minimum four-week basic award to be calculated after any reduction for contribution. Although it is open to a tribunal, under s.120(1B), to not increase the basic award "if it considers that the increase would result in injustice to the employer"; the tribunal had not considered that provision.

Had it been necessary, this compensation issue would have been remitted to the tribunal to consider whether to make any basic award in the light of s.120(1B). However, given the overturning of the unfair dismissal finding, no remission was necessary.

Ingram v Bristol Street Parts

[Thanks to Anya Palmer of Old Square Chambers, who successfully represented the employer, for telling me about this case.]

No comments: