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Unfair Dismissal blog - The recent case of Weston Recovery Services v Fisher considered the question of whether a dismissal for conduct could be fair where the act complained of was not serious enough to constitute gross misconduct.

At first instance the Employment Tribunal found that the Claimant’s summary dismissal was unfair. He had returned a vehicle in an unsafe condition. The EAT disagreed with the ET. As a matter of fact the grounds were not sufficient to summarily dismiss, however, as a matter of law the dismissal was fair in accordance with the Burchell test.

The employer had followed an appropriate procedure and the action was within a range of reasonable responses available to an employer. The EAT nonetheless went on to award the claimant damages for wrongful dismissal as the employer was not entitled to summarily dismiss.

Employers need to ensure when summarily dismissing that the grounds for dismissal really are so serious as to warrant such a draconian method of dismissal. The safest option in terms of protecting their businesses surely has to be to pay the notice period as a matter of course.

Emily Yeardley

Article posted on: 19 November 2010

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