Proper investigation before disciplinary

legal_updates

Dismissed without notice for gross misconduct on the grounds that the company had a zero tolerance policy towards physical violence.

Author: Polly Davies
Published:
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 4 years old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

A mechanic who lost his temper and attacked a colleague has won an unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal in a case which highlights the importance of policies and proper investigations before any dismissal. 

Mr Spoor had worked for Arnold Clark Automobiles for 42 years and had an exemplary record before placing his hands momentarily on a colleagues neck for a few seconds, following which he apologised. 

Mr Spoor was interviewed about the incident in a disciplinary hearing following which he was dismissed without notice for gross misconduct on the grounds that the company had a zero tolerance policy towards physical violence.  Mr Spoor brought a claim for unfair and wrongful dismissal and won as the Employment Tribunal found that no reasonable employer would have dismissed an employee in these circumstance, given the context and Arnold Clarks subsequent appeal also failed when the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the company had failed to take into account all the relevant circumstances such as Spoors long service and the fact that there was no evidence of the company’s zero policy tolerance on physical violence on which they had relied to dismiss Mr Spoor. 

The decision reminds us that although physical violence falls within the gross misconduct remit, the importance of a thorough, fair investigation cannot be over emphasised, and neither can the importance of having clear policies in place that staff are aware of and familiar with. 

Polly Davies

Legal Advisor

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.