22 hours ago
Unfair Dismissal: Is a procedure always required?
The judgment of the recent case of Mr K Ahmed v National Westminster Bank plc demonstrates that, whilst there can be consequences for not following the correct dismissal procedure, it does not always result in significant, or even any, compensation being due.
Facts of the Case
Mr Ahmed was employed by NatWest Bank as a data analyst from 2018 to 2020, who started well, but concerns developed and the working relationship soured a little.
Mr Ahmed’s line manager met with Mr Ahmed to discuss his attendance at work and his failure to deliver on work activities. Mr Ahmed was uncooperative and became ‘visibly angry and aggressive’ during this meeting, to the point where he was temporarily suspended.
In May 2020, Mr Ahmed had parked two campervans in the office carpark and was reported to have been ‘aggressive and confrontational’ towards a neighbour.
A short time after the confrontation, Mr Ahmed was informed that a ‘potential further disciplinary allegation’ was being investigated which had arisen, in that Mr Ahmed was apparently operating three companies, one of which was sexually explicit and another offered dubious massages. These were linked to his Linked In page where he was clearly an employee of Nat West.
Although Mr Ahmed was sent questions as part of the investigation (which he refused to answer), he was not warned that the allegations could result in his employment being terminated and in the absence of answers to their questions, the employer dismissed him without a hearing.
The Judge decided that the dismissal was unfair. He said that NatWest had not followed the correct process, in that they had failed to discuss the dismissal reasons with Mr Ahmed and failed to warn him that they were considering dismissing him.
However, the Judge also decided that Mr Ahmed would have been fairly dismissed in any event within one month of his actual dismissal and he was completely to blame for his dismissal. As a result, his compensation was reduced by 100%, meaning he received nothing.
There are situations where there can be a good reason to dismiss without a hearing, but this should only be done after legal advice on the specific circumstances. This case highlights that even where a procedure should have been followed all is not necessarily lost.
If you are an employer who need advice in relation to the dismissal of an employee or you need to update your procedure, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be more than happy to assist you.