Reason for Dismissal and zero compensation even where dismissal was unfair

The Appeal Tribunal ruled last week on the question of dismissals for Some Other Substantial Reason (SOSR). SOSR is a category of justifiable dismissal just like misconduct or poor performance. However, it is a catch all category for dismissals that do not fall into the other main categories. For this reason it is rarely given as justification for a dismissal. This case concerned a man employed by a school, who was later elected as full time Mayor for Liverpool. He was dismissed because he was paid an allowance by the school of £4,500 but because of his duties as Mayor, the school received no benefit for its payment to him. He was therefore dismissed. While the dismissal was procedurally unfair, the Appeal Tribunal agreed that the reason was fair, and a proper procedure would have made no difference. The employees compensation was therefore reduced by 100%. While it is interesting to see where a SOSR dismissal was successful, the noteable thing for employers is the reduction of compensation so that the employee got nothing.  This is called a Polkey reduction and will often be applied by a tribunal where the employee wins only on a technicality. The case can be read at the following link: http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2015/0206_14_1404.html   Back to legal updates...

Shared Parental leave and the importance of a policy

A quick reminder that with the introduction of the Shared Parental Leave rules, it is vital that employers have an up to date policy dealing with the rights. The reason this is so important is that there are very strict criteria that must be met if an employee’s request is to be “valid”. If these are not met exactly, then the employer may lose the ability to claim back the shared parental leave pay from the government and this may not be a trivial sum. Those clients on the Arcturus retainer service will receive a policy free of charge and this will be sent out shortly. Back to legal...

Unfair Dismissal and Previous Warnings

There has been a slight change to the law on unfair dismissal when looking at previous warnings. Prior to this case, the general position is that if a previous warning was not appealed by the employee at the time, the Tribunal would not revisit the matter.  In short, the employer could rely on it when deciding whether to dismiss. The Court of Appeal this week have ruled that, where the previous warning is given in bad faith, it cannot be relied upon when deciding whether to dismiss. What this means is that the Tribunal can now look, and indeed should now look, at the previous warnings, if the employee casts doubt on them. It’s worth getting the paperwork clear at disciplinaries, even if you don’t believe it will lead to dismissal on that occasion. You may need to justify it later. The full case can be read at the following link: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2015/381.html Back to legal...