Clarkslegal LLP - Solicitors in Reading and London

Legal Updates

Zero tolerance in Andy Gray sacking?

26 January 2011 #Employment

Andy Gray`s sacking by Sky has divided the nation, and not into those that know the off-side rule and those that don`t! His comments about the female assistant referee`s skills being limited because of her gender, which led to Sky deciding to dismiss him on the grounds that such sexist behaviour was completely unacceptable, has divided the nation into those that believe the punishment fitted the crime and those that see it as a complete over-reaction to a bit of banter. 

Interestingly the lady against whom the comments were made has made no complaint and appears to be of tough enough character to let it all wash over her head.  A measured reaction that could also have been taken by Sky? Or was Sky right to adopt a "zero tolerance" approach to the "lads culture" and impose the harshest of punishments on its employee?

Employers can adopt a zero tolerance approach to such matters relating to discrimination, harassment or misconduct at work, even where there is no obvious complainant (as in Andy Gray`s case) provided the rule has been clearly communicated to all employees and the employer takes a consistent approach to punishing those who fail to follow the rule.  And if an employer decides to give a warning (which was Sky`s initial reaction to the first footage which came to light), it has to give the employee the chance to act on the warning, in other words, a chance to improve.  A dismissal within days of an initial warning would have to be based on new evidence coming to light, of which the employer could not reasonably have known about at the time of the initial warning.  Most companies nowadays realise that the risk of not taking action to prevent discriminatory behaviour in the workplace is too great, but this has to be measured against the risk of claims by those who feel that they have been measured too harshly against the company`s own standards.

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.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Read more articles

Helen Beech

Helen Beech

T: 0118 9604 639
M: 07747 620 379


Employment team
+44 (0)118 958 5321