Clarkslegal LLP - Solicitors in Reading and London

Legal Updates

Gross negligence can constitute gross misconduct

06 February 2017 #Employment

In Adesokan v Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd, the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court decision that a failure to act can, in certain situations, amount to gross misconduct.

Mr Adesokan (A), a Regional Operations Manager, became aware that a HR Partner had sent an email to store managers suggesting ways they may influence the results of the company’s ‘Talkback’ staff survey.   He asked the HR Partner to clarify what he meant with the managers but did not check that the HR Partner did this and, upon learning this had not been done, did not do anything about it himself or alert senior management.  He was subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct and claimed wrongful dismissal. 

The High Court held that even though A’s inaction was not deliberate, his negligence had seriously damaged the company’s trust and confidence in him and did amount to gross misconduct.  A appealed.  

The Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court.  Whilst it did comment that it will be rare for gross misconduct to be found where there is a failure to act without an intentional decision; as a matter of law, gross negligence can amount to gross misconduct.  Here, A’s seniority justified the dismissal. 

If you require further information about this or any other employment law matter, please contact our employment law team. Our contact details are at the top of the page.

Please share this article with your colleagues and contacts, using the icons above.  

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.

Read more articles

Alison Flett

Alison Flett

T: 0118 960 4688
M: 0771 784 1822


Employment team
+44 (0)118 958 5321