28 July 2011 #Employment
The EAT has held in Wincanton v Atkinson (2011), that it was not unfair to dismiss two lorry drivers who had mistakenly let their HGV licences expire and were therefore driving uninsured. It rejected the tribunal`s view that the employer`s decision was unreasonable as no adverse consequences had come to pass, and the risks posed by the drivers` mistakes remained hypothetical.
According to the EAT, the employer`s decision was well within the band of reasonable responses. The potentially "horrific" consequences of driving HGV uninsured, even though those consequences never materialised, was highly relevant. Employers should be entitled to take account of the serious consequences that might arise from an employee`s negligence. They should not be prevented from fairly dismissing just because of a lucky escape by employees in such cases.