No Disciplinary Process But Dismissal Held To be Fair

Despite the absence of a proper disciplinary process that afforded the required due process and rights to an employee who was the subject of a gross misconduct allegation, the dismissal was deemed to be fair.

In a recent case published by the EAT (UD 863/2013), even though the Company concerned had not afforded the accused employee the correct and robust disciplinary process that he was entitled to, after failing to account correctly for monies received, the EAT determined that the required trust in the employment relationship had been broken and that summary dismissal for gross misconduct was justified.  There were clear cash and sales processes and procedures in place that the employee was informed about and aware of and he had also been disciplined previously for similar misconduct in the handling of cash. It was presented by the respondent Company that they would have previously dismissed the employee for an incident when he did not put all monies received into the till and whilst it had been captured on CCTV they did not dismiss because the employee was not aware that such CCTV footage could be used to discipline him.

Whilst the lack of correct procedures will normally render a dismissal unfair, in this case the availability of clear operational procedures on the handling of money as well as the employee’s previous record of not adhering to cash procedures was deemed relevant by the tribunal.