Editor's message: If an employee you dismiss challenges the fairness of his or her dismissal, your organisation 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 you acted reasonably in all the circumstances.
It is very important that you follow a fair procedure. For example, where an employee has committed a criminal offence that occurred outside the workplace, you must still carry out your own investigation and follow a fair procedure before reaching a decision on whether or not to dismiss the employee or take any other disciplinary action.
In assessing the fairness of the dismissal, an employment tribunal will consider whether or not your decision to dismiss the employee was within the band of reasonable responses open to an employer. The tribunal will take into account your organisation's size and administrative resources when making this assessment.
Ashok Kanani, Employment law editor
This employment tribunal held that an employer fairly dismissed an employee who refused to do overtime as required under her contract of employment and whose protests at being asked to do so caused discontent among her fellow workers.
An employee's contract states that she must work extra hours if needed. The employer asks everyone to work some Saturdays in the run up to Christmas. The employee flatly refuses. Should she be disciplined? That was the dilemma in Edwards v Bramble Foods Ltd.
Updated to include information on Khan v Stripestar Ltd, in which the EAT considered the extent to which a defective disciplinary process can be cured through an appeal; and Grayson v Paycare concerning the correct approach to a Polkey reduction.
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.
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 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.
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.
An employment tribunal has held that an employer fairly dismissed an employee for using a racist term in the presence of white colleagues. The tribunal was unimpressed with the claimant's arguments that he did not realise anyone was listening, did not intend to offend, and the word is "street talk" where he lives.
In MBNA Ltd v Jones EAT/0120/15, the EAT held that the employee was fairly dismissed despite the fact that a colleague involved in the same incident received a final written warning.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to the general fairness of a dismissal.