Expired warnings can be used – exceptionally
In Stratford v Auto Trail VR the EAT decided that it was fair to take into account previous misconduct by an employee even though it was the subject of expired warnings.
Stratford was dismissed for using his personal mobile on the shop floor while at work. Although not considered by the employer as amounting to gross misconduct and justifying dismissal on its own, they decided to take into account a number of previous expired warnings and dismissed him nonetheless.
The EAT found in this case that it was a fair dismissal, given the context of some eighteen formal warnings over a period of thirteen years, and the company’s considered view that no improvement was likely and that the relationship of trust had truly been broken.