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Dismissal can still be fair even if it is for a different reason to that relied upon by an employer

26 October 2011 #Employment

Mr Screene was a financial controller for Seatwave Limited, a sporting and entertainment events ticketing business.  Seatwave Limited was the victim of a fraud when approximately €1.7m was lost from its German bank account.  It was Mr Screene’s responsibility to monitor this account.  Following a disciplinary process the employer decided to summarily dismiss Mr Screene citing gross misconduct as the reason for dismissal in the dismissal letter. However, at the tribunal and in the ET3 capability was the reason the employer pleaded as being the reason for dismissal.  An employment tribunal found that Mr Screene had been fairly dismissed for both capability and conduct reasons, although it found that the primary reason for dismissal was conduct.

On an appeal Mr Screene argued that the tribunal was not entitled to substitute its own reason for the dismissal and find that his dismissal was fair for a reason other than the one originally relied on by Seatwave Limited.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed Mr Screene’s appeal and held that a tribunal was entitled to make its decision on the basis of what it considered to be the real reason for dismissal, provided the claimant was not prejudiced. There was no such prejudice in Mr Screene’s case as at all times the dismissal had been grounded on the same facts.

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