09 August, 2013
Following a recent Tribunal case an Employment Specialist at Forbes Solicitors is warning local employers to ensure they have a clear and legitimate reason behind their decision to dismiss an employee or risk facing significant financial penalties.
In this particular case the employee was dismissed for gross misconduct - specifically carelessness and negligence. However, the Tribunal found that those reasons were not referred to in the Company's disciplinary policy as gross misconduct and more specifically that the reasons given were used as an example of what did not amount to gross misconduct in the policy. Therefore the Tribunal ruled the claim for unfair dismissal successful on the grounds that it was not reasonable to dismiss in those circumstances and the company was ordered to pay compensation.
Ruth Rule-Mullen, Employment Solicitor at Forbes, warns "This is a stark reminder for employers of the importance of their decision and being clear as to which part of any policy they are relying upon. Employers have to show at Tribunal that they have a fair reason for dismissal and that they acted reasonably in treating that reason as sufficient to dismiss the employee. In addition, procedures should be strictly followed to avoid increases in compensation. In this case the compensation was also increased for the failure to inform the employee he might be dismissed."