5 days ago
Case reminds employers not to dismiss until they have considered facts properly
A “gentleman” who assaulted his girlfriend in her home (the girlfriend also being an employee) was dismissed by the employer and then successfully sued for unfair dismissal.
The finding of unfair dismissal was upheld on appeal.
This case reminds employers that even when the facts appear to be straight forward, even outrageous, the employer is still under a duty to consider the facts as they find them carefully. In this case the employee claimed that his girlfriend slapped and punched him and he simply pushed her onto the couch. The girlfriend said that he had punched and kicked her repeatedly and kicked a door in. The police arrested the man and not the girlfriend.
The reason the dismissal was found to be unfair is that the employer accepted during its investigation that the man acted in self defence, but went on to dismiss anyway because there had been an assault. The odd thing is that if the employer wanted to dismiss, it was entitled to believe whomever of the two it wanted based on the evidence, but it chose to accept the employee’s self defence explanation. What it should have done was then discipline the girlfriend or at the very least find her version of events to be the true version, if it then wanted to go ahead and dismiss.
The lesson here is that even when the circumstances seem to clearly warrant dismissal, an employer should consider the facts objectively after a reasonable investigation, before making a final decision.
The full judgement, which also has some insightful comments about sex discrimination, can be read at the following link: