Case law updates

EAT upholds employer’s right to withhold “immaterial” evidence

The EAT has supported the view of the Tribunal in Hargreaves v Manchester Grammar that a dismissal for violent behaviour towards a pupil was fair. Mr Hargreaves had appealed to the EAT, contending that the employer’s investigation was inadequate and that it had failed to disclose to the disciplinary panel evidence from potential witnesses who had said they had seen nothing.

Dismissing the appeal, the EAT upheld the Tribunal approach to the standard of investigation expected in such a case, given the very serious nature of the allegation. It was “within the band of reasonable responses” to decide not to put forward to the disciplinary panel details of interviews with those who had seen nothing. The EAT felt that it did not follow that because those individuals had seen nothing, nothing had happened. The employer had correctly taken the view that the such evidence was not material.