Case Studies

Case Studies

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Creating an ugly mess of a disciplinary case

Published 15 June 2021

When sculpture technician Carlton was fired on the spot he knew it was not right. 

Despite this, Carlton’s biggest fight was challenging the decision and battling to get the justice he deserved. 


He was dismissed, from the workshop where he had work for 18 months, following a bust-up with his manager. 


Carlton had long complained about conditions in the workshop, a lack of proper ventilation and new materials being used. He argued it was  a risk to the health and safety of staff and making some ill. 


His dismissal followed an incident that occurred after his manager told Carlton he was working too slow on a job.  


Carlton felt the criticism was unwarranted and unfair. He explained to his manager that he was struggling in an uncomfortable working environment. 


The retort from his boss was unsympathetic. He said words to the effect that Carlton was the youngest and fittest and should stop crying because the ‘old boys don’t’. 


Shocked Carlton admitted that he reacted angrily. The pair shouted and swore at each other before being pulled apart by colleagues. 


Furious Carlton was taken out to the car park by a workmate to help him cool down. Another worker then came out to inform Carlton that he had been fired and he should go home. 


Stunned Carlton queried if he had in fact been suspended from work rather than fired. He was told he had definitely been sacked. 


Two days later he received a letter confirming he had been dismissed for aggressive and threatening behaviour. 


Carlton emailed the company and said he could not be dismissed without a disciplinary hearing taking place. He got no response. 


Having never been in this position before Carlton said he did some research online. 


He found out that if an employee is dismissed they should be given the right to a disciplinary appeal. 


Carlton again emailed the company to ask for the right to appeal. He received no response. 


Unsure what to do next, Carlton contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre 


After speaking with Carlton our representative contacted the company on his behalf and insisted he should be allowed to appeal. 

A director of the business said it had acted fairly and Carlton could not appeal. She said he was not entitled to a disciplinary hearing because he had under two years’ service, and a company investigation had found the allegation proven. 

Our representative pointed out that even with a short length of service an employer is still expected to follow a fair process, and allow an employee to appeal.  

He also highlighted that Carlton’s dismissal can be considered to amount to unfavourable treatment for whistle-blowing, he had reported health and safety concerns, and he had been subjected to age discrimination due to comments made about his age just before he was dismissed. 

Following an exchange of email correspondence the company eventually agreed to allow Carlton an appeal. 

Prior to the appeal hearing our representative requested evidence of the ‘company investigation’ that had found the allegation proven. 

In response he received just a statement from the workshop manager. In it he claimed Carlton was the aggressor. No other witness statements were provided. 

As a number of witnesses were present at the time of the incident, our representative referred to section 12 of the ACAS Code of Practice to request that three employees attend the hearing as witnesses.  

The employer refused the request. Despite the best efforts of our representative, the company was adamant witnesses would not attend the hearing.  

As a compromise it did say questions can be put in writing to the witnesses, which was done. The witness statements provided prior to the appeal hearing contradicted the manager’s version of events. 

Carlton loved his job and his desired appeal outcome was to be reinstated and work in safe conditions.  

The compelling presentation by our representative of details of unfair and unlawful treatment of Carlton coupled with his expressed remorse and willingness to work with the company to address all of the issues highlighted proved successful.  

Carlton was reinstated and workshop conditions later reviewed and improved. 


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For employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 0333 772 0611 

A reputation built on success

For employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 


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