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Legal Updates

Seen not to be biased

04 May 2011 #Employment

The EAT has confirmed that for a grievance process to be fair, it should not only be free from actual bias, but also from any apparent bias.
In Watson v University of Strathclyde (2011), Ms Watson had raised a grievance about a colleague, Mr Taylor.  She then raised concerns that the subsequent grievance investigation was tainted by a conflict of interest, as this was conducted by a Dr West, who in the past had been publicly supportive of Mr Taylor.  The subsequent grievance appeal panel (which also included Dr West), rejected Ms Watson`s appeal and concluded there was no conflict of interest.  Ms Watson resigned & claimed constructive dismissal.
The EAT confirmed that any reasonable employer must have regard to an employee`s concerns of bias.  For a fair grievance process, it must be free from not only actual bias but also any perceived bias.  Accordingly, the EAT upheld Ms Watson`s appeal and held that she had been unfairly dismissed.
Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
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