Dismissal with no procedure following breakdown in working relations was for "some other substantial reason"


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The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held in Gallacher v Abellio Scotrail Ltd that a dismissal for some other substantial reason was not unfair despite the fact that no procedure had been followed.

There was a breakdown in working relations between the claimant and her line manager which arose out of various workplace disagreements.  After at least two meetings to consider the difficulties in the relationship the claimant was told at her annual appraisal that she was being exited from the business due to a lack of trust.

Although the EAT held that a failure to carry out any procedure would generally mean that the dismissal was outside the band of reasonable responses, where following procedures could reasonably be considered futile, the employer may dispense with them.  Here the claimant was a senior manager whose continued good working relationship with her manager was critical during a difficult period for the employer's business.  At first instance the tribunal had found that a procedure would not have served any useful purpose, but that it would have worsened the situation.  The tribunal had been entitled to reach this decision, and the EAT concluded that there was a personality clash between two senior manager, where both individuals had lost trust and confidence in each other, and the claimant recognised the breakdown in relations, but had no interest in repairing it.

Take note:  It will still be good practice in the vast majority of cases to follow a proper procedure before dismissing an employee.  Here the need to follow a procedure was dispensed with because it was considered that it would have served no useful purpose; the claimant showed no interest in addressing the personality clash between her and her manager and so her dismissal became the only way of resolving the situation.


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