Dismissal was at ‘extreme end of reasonable’ but not unfair
Published: 14 November 2017
The Court of Appeal has ruled that a teacher’s dismissal was at the extreme end of reasonable but was not unfair.
The teacher had been dismissed following a disciplinary
hearing. Her internal appeal was dismissed after the panel found that she had
repeatedly failed to follow reasonable management requests to attend meetings;
had communicated in an unreasonable and intimidating way; and that her
behaviour had caused a breakdown in her working relationships.
The panel's decision stated that the allegations amounted to
The teacher appealed, and the Employment Tribunal found in
her favour. It found that the individual allegations did not amount to gross
misconduct and it was wrong to "gross up" individual allegations of
misconduct to make them constitute gross misconduct.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal overturned that decision. It
found that the Tribunal had erred in its approach because rather than asking
whether the individual acts of misconduct amounted to gross misconduct, it
should have asked whether the conduct in its totality amounted to a sufficient
reason for dismissal under the Employment Rights Act.
The case went to the Court of Appeal, which found in favour
of the school.
It agreed with the first Tribunal that the decision to
dismiss the teacher was within the range of reasonable responses, albeit at the
extreme end of that range.
Please contact Matthew Sigsworth in our Dispute Resolution
Team if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article
or any aspect of Employment Law.