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Inconsistency of treatment will not necessarily be unfair

08 November 2011 #Employment


Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.

General Mills (Berwick) Ltd v Glowacki (2011)

The EAT has found that it was not unfair to dismiss an employee for breach of health & safety procedures, just because it treated another employee in a similar scenario differently.

Mr Glowacki worked as an electrician for General Mills (Berwick) Ltd.  When repairing a machine, he disabled certain sensors and entered the body of the machine, contrary to warning notices.  His employer subsequently dismissed him for gross misconduct on the grounds that his actions were a serious breach of health & safety procedures.

Mr Glowacki successfully claimed unfair dismissal in the tribunal, as a year before, another employee who had  seriously breached health & safety, and suffered a debilitating injury as a result, had not ben dismissed for gross misconduct.

On appeal by the company, the EAT overturned the tribunal decision.  The tribunal had failed to take into account the employer`s genuine reason for the different decisions.  In the earlier case, the employee had been dismissed on the grounds of incapacity as a consequence of the serious injury he had suffered.  Were it not for that employee`s debilitating injury and long term absence from work, he too would have been subject to disciplinary proceedings and dismissed for gross misconduct.  The company had therefore established a reason why the two ex-employees were treated differently.

For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at employmentunit@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.

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