Case Studies

Case Studies

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Making a bad call with a decision to dismiss

Published 14 July 2021

When Clive faced an allegation of stealing a colleague’s mobile phone he did not think things could get any worse, but he was wrong. 

The retail worker faced an allegation of theft after a workmate’s mobile was reported missing from the staff changing room. 

Clive denied stealing the handset. He was later fired following a disciplinary hearing about the allegation - but it was for a completely different reason. 

He was actually dismissed for an act of violent conduct, which occurred during that disciplinary hearing.  

Although Clive knew what he did was wrong, he still believed the decision was unfair because of the extreme provocation he had faced. 

Clive knew he needed expert help if he was to correct what he felt was an injustice. Clive contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for help.  

Our representative was provided with all of the evidence relating to the case, which he carefully reviewed and discussed with Clive. 

While Clive’s conduct was certainly worthy of dismissal, the manner in which it occurred was procedurally unfair.  

It was for this reason that a disciplinary appeal was submitted by our representative on behalf of Clive. 

Clive always believed that CCTV was crucial in his case, and that footage could help to clear him.  

During the disciplinary investigation he pleaded with the investigating manager to look at CCTV. 

However, CCTV evidence was not produced or provided as evidence in the case. 

But at the disciplinary hearing the investigating manager, who presented his findings at the meeting, claimed he had reviewed CCTV which proved Clive was responsible for the theft.  

Shocked Clive reacted angrily. He challenged the manager, who eventually admitted he did not look at CCTV but said it because he wanted to see how Clive would react. 

Clive flipped and threw his drink at the manager before having to be restrained when he tried to get at him. 

Furious Clive was taken out of the room and told to go home. . 

Later the same day Clive received an email informing him that he had been dismissed for violent conduct. He was informed it was without notice or pay in lieu of notice. 

The following day the decision was confirmed in a letter that was hand delivered to his home.  

At the appeal hearing our representative argued that although Clive’s conduct was serious, the company did not follow a proper or fair process in dismissing him. 

Clive was not dismissed for the allegation of theft, for which he was invited to the hearing. The reason for terminating his contract was clearly stated as violent conduct, theft was not mentioned. 

Our representative argued that a fair procedure was not followed in dismissing Clive.  

Clive had six years’ service, so the appeal hearing was told the company should have conducted a fair disciplinary process regarding the specific allegation of violent conduct. The failure to do so and the knee-jerk reaction in sacking Clive instantly was said to be automatically unfair. 

Our representative told the appeal hearing that employment law is clear in that a fair investigation and disciplinary procedure should always be carried out before any decision is taken to dismiss, regardless of the nature of the misconduct. 

It was acknowledged that Clive’s behaviour was unacceptable in response to extreme provocation. His remorse was conveyed to the appeal hearing chair. 

Clive did not want a dismissal on his record, as he felt it would harm his chances of securing alternative employment. 

The appeal hearing was told Clive would have a good case for unfair dismissal, but it was acknowledged his conduct would impact on any compensation he may receive. 

Our representative said that in the circumstances it was in the best interests of both parties to try and resolve the matter amicably and quickly. 

settlement agreement was reached in which Clive was paid a modest four-figure tax-free lump sum, paid for his notice period and outstanding leave and guaranteed a standard reference.  He was very happy with the outcome. 

 

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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.  

Tel: 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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