Gross negligence amounting to gross misconduct

In Adesokan v Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited, the Court of Appeal confirmed that gross negligence can amount to gross misconduct. This is hardly surprising, what constituted gross negligence is of more interest.

Mr Adesokan was employed by Sainsbury’s Supermarkets as a regional manager. At the time Sainsbury’s was going through a management consultation and Mr Adesokan became aware of an email by an HR manager of the company circulated in an attempt to undermine the consultation exercise. Mr Adesokan took no action, did not inform his superiors of the email and this amounted to gross negligence and gross misconduct, as the courts confirmed.

The important fact of the case was the managerial role of Mr Adesokan. It is well known that the expectations of managers and their loyalty to the company are higher in comparison to other employees. There is little doubt, however, that if employees even in minor roles keep quiet about something of significant importance, say a mechanic finds out his colleague takes shortcuts which may potentially contravene health and safety and put customers to risk, this keeping quiet may also amount to gross misconduct.


Authors: Kiril Moskovchuk

Published: 10 Feb 2017


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