Editor's message: For a dismissal to be fair, the employer must be able to demonstrate: that the dismissal is for one of the potentially fair reasons (capability, conduct, redundancy, breach of a statutory enactment, or some other substantial reason); and that it acted reasonably in all the circumstances.
It is key that the employer follows a fair procedure. For example, where an employee has committed a criminal offence that occurred outside the workplace, the employer must carry out its own investigation and follow a fair procedure before dismissing the employee or taking any other disciplinary action.
A tribunal that upholds a complaint by an employee in a situation where the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures is relevant and finds that either side unreasonably failed to comply with one or more of its requirements, can adjust compensation by up to 25%.
Ashok Kanani, Employment law editor
A recent case has caused uncertainty about the HR role in disciplinary procedures. HR should certainly not be judge, jury and hangman, writes John Charlton.
Chris Cook is partner and head of employment and Keely Rushmore is senior associate at SA Law. They round up the latest rulings.
Updated to include information on McBride v Scottish Police Authority, in which the Supreme Court considered the employment tribunal's power to order reinstatement.
The dismissal of an experienced baker for not washing his hands was held to be fair by the employment tribunal in Donovan v Greggs plc, because he should have appreciated the seriousness of his misconduct.
An employment tribunal has held that an experienced employee should have appreciated the seriousness of breaching his employer's hygiene rules and it was appropriate for the employer to dismiss him.
The question before the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Khan v Stripestar Ltd, was whether or not an effective appeal could cure a wholly inadequate disciplinary hearing.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that there are no limitations on the nature and extent of the deficiencies in a first stage disciplinary procedure that can be cured by a thorough and effective appeal.
When can an employer impose different sanctions on employees for the same offence? An employee's seniority and experience, previous disciplinary record and attitude after the event can all play a part in the employer's decision-making process.
Employers need to tread carefully in situations where disparity of treatment arises. Natalie Jeffries, an associate from Burges Salmon, looks at the lessons from key cases where employees in an organisation were dealt with differently for the same types of misconduct.
Can there ever be circumstances in which a dismissal for the use of racist language at work is unfair? The employment tribunal in Mann v NSL Ltd gave short shrift to an unfair dismissal claim by a worker who admitted using a racist term in front of colleagues.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to the general fairness of a dismissal.