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Inconsistency of treatment will not necessarily be unfair

08 November 2011 #Employment

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.

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.
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