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Legal Updates

Dismissal and the reasonable responses test

13 August 2010 #Employment

The case of Enable Care & Support Home Ltd v Pearson [2010] is an example where a tribunal fell into the trap of substituting its own judgment for that of the employer. 

Following an investigation, four charges had been found against Ms Pearson including changing her line manager`s holiday record, passing on confidential information concerning her line manager`s grievance, confirming her line manager`s attendance on training when in fact she was suspended and passing confidential information regarding the identity of her employers solicitor. 

Ms Pearson was summarily dismissed and brought claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal.  The Tribunal concluded that the employer had carried out a fair dismissal procedure but held that the decision to dismiss did not fall within the range of reasonable responses.  The Tribunal found that a reasonable employer would have viewed her offences as relatively minor and would have given her a final written warning.

The EAT held that the Tribunal had been wrong to replace its own judgment for that of the employer and substituted a finding of fair dismissal.  However, the EAT held that the wrongful decision remained as although Ms Pearson was guilty of misconduct, it was not so serious as to justify dismissal without notice.

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