How Important Is It To Consider The Circumstances Leading Up To Alleged Misconduct Before Dismissing?
Employers are being urged to consider the circumstances leading up to alleged misconduct before dismissing, following an employee winning a case for unfair dismissal.
An employee of UPS Ltd was dismissed in January 2010 after having three minor accidents within 12 months. He had 33 years of driving experience and good conduct.
Lawyers for Stephen Harrison, 58, argued that at the time of the first two accidents in January and February of 2009, he was under immense pressure in his personal life. He was looking after his 18-month-old granddaughter while her mother underwent treatment for a very serious illness.
Mr Harrison was dismissed after a third accident in December 2009. After Mr Harrison rejected an offer of £750 from his employer to settle his claim, the Employment Tribunal decided that Mr Harrison’s length of service and personal troubles had not been given due consideration in the case. Neither, it had found, had consideration been given as to what other sanctions other than dismissal could have been applied.
The Employment Tribunal held that Mr Harrison had been unfairly dismissed and that he should be awarded compensation.
This decision shows that employers should not just arbitrarily dismiss employees without looking at the circumstances leading up to the alleged misconduct.