13 December 2013

Gross misconduct not always automatically grounds for dismissal

Employers should note that an employee's gross misconduct does not automatically justify dismissal, as there may be mitigating circumstances, the Employment Tribunal has ruled.

A hospital consultant was dismissed for gross misconduct. The Employment Tribunal ruled that the dismissal was fair on the grounds that dismissing an employee was always going to be a reasonable response if gross misconduct had occurred.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the Tribunal was wrong in ruling that a dismissal was always automatically within the range of reasonable responses if an employee was found guilty of gross misconduct. It said there may be circumstances that mitigate the gross misconduct and make dismissal an unreasonable response, and therefore unfair.

It sent the case back to the Tribunal to reconsider whether a dismissal was within the range of reasonable responses in the circumstances of this case.

Recommendation

Employers should not assume that gross misconduct will always automatically justify dismissal of an employee.

For more information please contact Ian Dawson at Shulmans on 0113 297 7735 or at idawson@shulmans.co.uk, or Lee Stephens on 0113 297 8938 or at lstephens@shulmans.co.uk.

Case ref:

Brito-babapulle v Ealing Hospital NHS Trust [2013] UKEAT 0358_12_1406