Case law updates

Tribunal criticises employer for “pre-determined” attempt to dismiss

In the case of Sekander v RocketMill an ET has ruled that a web designer dismissed for gross misconduct on the grounds of significant financial loss and the misuse of a workplace email server during suspension, was unfairly dismissed. The employee not given sufficient time to improve his record following warnings and was not the only person responsible for financial performance in the business. The Tribunal also found that company’s use of an external HR consultant was part of a predetermined attempt to dismiss the claimant, rather than as part of a genuine performance process.

Despite evidence of poor performance, the company acted unfairly in dismissing Sakander, by failing to act reasonably in the stages that led up to his dismissal. Although there were genuine performance concerns about Sakander, any reasonable employer would have attempted to achieve an improvement in his performance before moving on to suspension and a disciplinary process, the judge found. The judge described the entire disciplinary process conducted by RocketMill as “lamentably deficient in the steps and the approach adopted by a reasonable employer”.