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Unfair dismissal: "Band of reasonable responses" test applies to reasonableness of investigation into misconduct

This report relates to 1 case(s)

Key points

  • In Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd v Hitt [2003] IRLR 23, the Court of Appeal emphasises that the "band of reasonable responses" test applies to the question of the reasonableness of an employer's investigations into alleged misconduct, as it does to other procedural and substantive aspects of the decision to dismiss.
  • Therefore, an employment tribunal should have applied this test to the employer's investigation in this case, having reference to the objective standard of the hypothetical reasonable employer, in accordance with the principle affirmed by the Court of Appeal in the Madden case.
  • Applying the correct approach to this case, the only conclusion that a reasonable tribunal could have arrived at was that the employer's investigation was reasonable in all the circumstances. The further investigations suggested by the tribunal amounted to a substitution of their own standards for that of the employer.