How much investigation is needed for a fair dismissal?

How much investigation is needed for a fair dismissal?

The Court of Appeal looked at whether an employer needs to investigate every single defence to an accusation of misconduct before deciding to dismiss.

In this case, an employee was dismissed for claiming double the mileage on business trips than the AA said would be involved in the same journeys.

The explanation given by the employee was that it was due to road works and diversions. The employer concluded that this was simply not plausible and dismissed.  The Employee brought a claim for unfair dismissal.

The Court of Appeal have ruled that it is not necessary to investigate every single possible explanation. The employer needed to carry out as much investigation as was reasonable, not investigate every possible explanation.  The dismissal was therefore fair.

This is a good case for employers, but care should be taken before failing to investigate an explanation, unless it is clearly not plausible. We have seen plenty of dismissals where tribunals have ruled the dismissal unfair because a particular explanation was not checked.

The case can be read at the following link:


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