24 June 2015

Employers may be able to continue disciplinary proceedings even where employee's grievance has not been resolved

An employer could continue disciplinary proceedings and dismiss an employee, even though the employee had raised a grievance that had still not been resolved, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) recently ruled.

Disciplinary proceedings were started against a bus driver after allegations of bad driving. She made counter-allegations about her managers but the employer carried on with the disciplinary procedures and eventually dismissed her. She claimed that her allegations about her managers amounted to a grievance and that her disciplinary proceedings should have been put on hold while her grievance was dealt with.

On the face of it, the dismissal was related to her capability and her dismissal was, her employer argued, in the interests of public safety.

The EAT agreed with the Employment Tribunal (ET) in that it was entitled to make the findings and reach the conclusions it did in relation to the employer's breaches of procedure. It rejected the employee's argument that the employer was obliged to put the disciplinary investigation on hold until the grievances had been dealt with.

However, the EAT allowed her appeal on the basis that it was, in fact, unclear whether the actual reason for dismissal was conduct or capability.  The EAT found that the Tribunal been wrong in failing to make proper findings as to both the reasons for the dismissal of the appeal, and for the appeal itself.  The case was sent back to the ET for those matters to be considered.

Operative date

Now

Recommendation

Employers should consider whether they can continue disciplinary proceedings, even to the point of dismissing an employee, if the employee has raised a grievance that has still not been resolved.

Case ref:

Jinadu v Docklands Buses Ltd [2015] UKEAT 0434_14_1703

If you have any queries regarding this topic, or want to know how this could affect your business, please contact Head of Employment Ian Dawson on 0113 297 7735 or at idawson@shulmans.co.uk.