Misuse of public funds can be regarded as an SOSR for justifying dismissal

Article

20 April, 2015

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has lost his fight to continue on the payroll of a school where he has not worked for two years.

The Claimant had been employed as a learning mentor at the school by Sefton Council, whilst at the same time being an elected councillor in neighbouring Liverpool. He had been permitted paid leave in the sum of £4,500 per year to perform councillor duties. In 2011 Chesterfield School became an independent Academy and in 2012 the Claimant was elected as full time Mayor of Liverpool. He was dismissed by the school on the basis that he was being paid for no benefit of the school.

Although the employment tribunal agreed that the dismissal was procedurally unfair, it reduced his compensation to nil. The Tribunal considered that the payment of the Claimant when he was providing no benefit to the school could be seen as a misuse of public funds, which in their view was capable of amounting to 'some other substantial reason' (SOSR), a fair reason justifying dismissal.

The case although fairly unique on the facts, highlights the importance of considering the reason for dismissal and ensuring a fair procedure is followed.

For any advice on this or any other employment matters please do not hesitate to contact Ruth Rule-Mullen by email or another member of the Forbes Employment team on 01772 220022.

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