Financial & Legal News

Helping a client to avoid a costly unfair dismissal case

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We were contacted by an employer client who owns a number of nurseries and had witnessed a heated argument between an assistant manager and one of the room supervisors.

The employer telephoned us to say that she thought about dismissing both of them on the spot. We advised her to suspend both and put together a letter inviting each to an investigatory meeting with a manager from another site the next day. Witness statements were obtained from two staff members in the room at the time of the argument and statements were taken from the two participants. Both were invited to attend a disciplinary hearing, resulting in both being issued with a final written warning that their behaviour was unacceptable in the workplace, they apologised and it was agreed that both would work at different sites.

If the employer had dismissed them both could have issued a claim for unfair dismissal. They would both have had reasonable prospects of success for claiming compensation for unfair dismissal because no procedure had been followed and a dismissal on the facts may have been an unreasonable sanction and not one that another employer would have imposed.

The legal costs alone to defend a case brought by two separate claimants would cost in the region of £12,000 plus VAT.  This could have had a serious impact on the company, whereas a ten-minute conversation with ourselves and Pearson’s drafting letters and a script for the investigating officer and the disciplining officer to go through at meetings with the employees effectively and quickly resolved the issue and saved the company money.

Nursery Case Study

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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