It is the substance that counts

A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal judgement from Edinburgh reiterates the principle that any award in unfair dismissal may be reduced, even down to zero, if the employer had substantive fair grounds to dismiss.

The claimant was employed as a bar steward. Under her watch two cases of vodka went missing, for which she accepted at least partial responsibility. She was given a final written warning. While the warning was live, she refused, without a good reason, to sell tickets to a social event. Her justification that she was not prepared to accept the extra responsibility of handling the cash from ticket sales as she was on the final warning was rejected. Dismissal followed.

The Employment Tribunal found, which was upheld on appeal that no fair dismissal procedure was followed and procedurally the dismissal was unfair. Had the correct procedure been followed, it was certain the claimant still would have would have been dismissed and on this basis, applying what is known as Polkey principle, her compensation award was reduced to nil.

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Authors: Kiril Moskovchuk

Published: 04 Apr 2019

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