The recent case of Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd v Spoor is a reminder to employers to take all the circumstances of a case into account before dismissing an employee for gross misconduct.
Here, they dismissed an employee for physically assaulting another employee. However, they lost the case because their investigation was flawed.
The Claimant had grabbed a colleague round the neck, amounting to physical violence, which came under the examples of gross misconduct in the employer’s disciplinary procedure. However, the investigation failed to give any weight to the Claimant’s exemplary disciplinary record over the previous 42 years of service, nor had they seen it appropriate to undertake any assessment at all as to the level or degree of physical violence used.
The tribunal found that the investigation that was undertaken was not one that could be said to be within the range of reasonable responses of a reasonable employer (although they did find that the Claimant contributed to his dismissal to the extent of 50%).
Advice: Always look at each case on its own facts. It is so important to take all the circumstances of the matter into account. You must be able to justify any decision you make and not improperly impose your own assumptions and opinions when deciding what actually happened and how serious it was. If in doubt call for advice.
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