Unfair Dismissal – Is a Dismissal Unfair

Unfair Dismissal – Is a Dismissal Unfair

In case ADJ-00024130 the Adjudication Officer set out that the test of reasonableness was set out in Norltake (IRL) Ltd -v- Kenna UD88/1983 as

  1. Did the company believe that the employee misconducted himself as alleged; if so?
  2. Did the company have reasonable grounds to sustain that belief? If so;
  3. Was the penalty of dismissal proportionate to the alleged misconduct?

In relation to the penalty of dismissal and whether it is proportionate to the misconduct the Adjudication Officer pointed out that one has to look at the actual misconduct that occurred. The Adjudication Officer pointed out that the respondent employer had cited the EAT case of Moore -v- Knox Hotel and Resort Limited UD27/2001 where it was stated

“The claimants actions destroyed the respondent’s trust and confidence in the claimant and rendered the continuation of the employment relationship impossible, thereby justifying her summary dismissal”

In many cases this issue constantly comes up. It is useful that the Adjudication Officer has restated the law.

The test of whether or not it was reasonable is not what the Adjudication Officer might believe. It is not one to establish the guilt or innocence of the claimant or whether the Adjudication Officer themselves would have dismissed in this situation. The law as set out by the Adjudication Officer also quoting the case of Looney and Co. Limited -v- Looney UD843/1984 is one where the EAT had set the law out, very clearly as being;

“Our responsibility is to consider against the facts what a reasonable employer in his position and circumstances at that time would have done and decided to set this up as a standard against which the employer’s actions and decisions are to be judged”

*Before acting or refraining from acting on anything in this guide, legal advice should be sought from a solicitor.

**In contentious cases, a solicitor may not charge fees or expenses as a portion or percentage of any award of settlement.

Richard Grogan

Author Richard Grogan

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