EAT finds dismissal with no procedure to be fair

11 September 2020 Employment Law

The EAT (Mr Justice Choudhary) has held in Gallacher v Abellio Scotrail Limited UKEATS/0027/19/SS, that a dismissal was fair despite the Respondent not following any proper process. 

The Claimant was the Head of Customer Delivery and Standards for the Respondent. Her working relationship with her line manager, Ms Taggart, became fractured. Ms Taggart was under considerable pressure when the Respondent posted a trading loss. The Tribunal found that there were significant issues between the Claimant and Ms Taggart at a time of  particular difficulty for the business. Having sought HR advice, the Respondent dismissed on the basis of a mutual breakdown of trust and confidence between two senior employees.

The Tribunal accepted that this was the reason for dismissal. It held that in the circumstances, the ACAS Code of Practice did not apply.

The EAT held that in many cases the fact that no formal procedure is followed prior to dismissal will make any such dismissal outside the band of reasonable responses and unfair.

However, this would not invariably be so. Where an employer persuades a tribunal that it has reasonably come to a view that following a particular procedure would be futile, procedure may be dispensed with.