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DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES: You have been warned

27 May 2011  

Old mistakes made when disciplining employees can come back to bite employers if they later decide to dismiss, caution Nicholas Robertson and Karen Stewart

Two recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decisions, Davies v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council [2011] and Sakharkar v Northern Foods Grocery Group Ltd t/a Fox’s Biscuits [2011], have highlighted the dangers inherent in failing to ensure that disciplinary procedures are fairly and reasonably applied at all stages of the disciplinary process, not just at the dismissal stage. In circumstances where an employer gets it wrong along the way, it will not be saved in any subsequent unfair dismissal proceedings by an employee’s failure to appeal any sanction imposed. Prudent employers will review previous warnings where these are being relied upon to justify dismissal, while employees will have greater scope to challenge the fairness of some dismissals.

Additional Info

  • Case(s) Referenced:

    BHS v Burchell [1978] IRLR 379

    Co-Operative Retail Service Ltd v Lucas [1993] UKEAT/145/93

    Davies v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council [2011] UKEAT/0416/10

    Sakharkar v Northern Foods Grocery Group Ltd t/a Fox’s Biscuits [2011] UKEAT/0442/10

    Stein v Associated Dairies [1982] IRLR 447

    Tower Hamlets Health Authority v Anthony [1989] IRLR 394

Last modified on 01 June 2015