Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In Quintiles Commercial UK Ltd v Barongo [2018] UKEAT 0255_17_1603 the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) held that an employment tribunal erred in holding that a dismissal without warning for ‘serious’ misconduct (as distinct from ‘gross’ misconduct) could not be fair – a dismissal is capable of being a fair dismissal provided it is for a reason relating to the relevant employee’s conduct.

The factual background of Quintiles Commercial UK Ltd v Barongo

Mr Barongo commenced employment with Quintiles Commercial UK Ltd (“Quintiles”) on 1 October 2012, selling products for Astra Zeneca. On 5 January 2016 Mr Barongo was dismissed with one months’ notice for two acts of misconduct: firstly, failing to complete Astra Zeneca’s compliance online training course by the relevant deadline; and, secondly, failing to attend Astra Zeneca’s compulsory training course. Mr Barongo accepted these allegations but, in mitigation, argued that he had been dealing with other matters and had not intentionally missed the training.

The original dismissing officer held that his conduct constituted ‘gross misconduct’ and stated that he believed that trust and confidence between employer and employee had been destroyed. Mr Barongo appealed and, on appeal, the director dealing with the appeal decided that it was more proper to characterise his conduct as ‘serious misconduct’ but that Mr Barongo should still be dismissed.

Mr Barongo brought a claim in the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal held that Mr Barongo’s dismissal had been unfair as, given that his conduct had been classified as ‘serious misconduct’, not ‘gross misconduct’, he should have been given warnings prior to being dismissed; the failure to give him warnings rendered his dismissal unfair (the Tribunal noted that he had no previous live warnings on his file). The Tribunal held, however, that Mr Barongo had been unprofessional and guilty of serious misconduct – it therefore reduced his compensation by one third to account for his contributory conduct.

Quintiles appealed the decision of the Employment Tribunal.

The decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal

The EAT upheld Quintile’s appeal, deciding that the Employment Tribunal had strayed from applying the touchstone of section 98(2) Employment Rights Act 1996 – that a dismissal was capable of being fair if it was for a reason which related to ‘the conduct of the employee’. The EAT held that even if the misconduct falls short of constituting ‘gross misconduct’ it is capable of being a fair dismissal if it relates to the employee’s conduct.

Further, the EAT held that the test of reasonableness under section 98(4) Employment Rights Act 1996 does not lay down any rule that, absent allegations of gross misconduct, a dismissal for misconduct will be unfair if there were no previous disciplinary warnings – it may be that a Tribunal would find that such a dismissal was outside of the range of reasonable responses, but this is not an automatic finding and will depend upon the particular facts and context of the matter.

The EAT remitted the case to the Employment Tribunal.

Our solicitors’ comments on Quintiles Commercial UK Ltd v Barongo

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “This case is a reminder that it can potentially be dangerous to argue in the Tribunal that a dismissed employee’s was not so serious as to warrant dismissal.”

The transcript of the EAT’s decision in Quintiles Commercial UK Ltd v Barongo can be found here.

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.67 Average

66 Reviews

Anonymous

As with All solicitors advice without consequence but understood and communicated my legal position

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Prompt, professional and excellent service.

Posted 1 week ago

Dominic C

Excellent service, prompt and helpful

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

I found Redman’s to be very efficient and got me the best deal available in the short time scale that was available.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Victor L

Very professional. Provided excellent advice on my Settlement agreement.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Professional from start to finish.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Oliver W

Excellent service provided by Redmans, will certainly consider using again.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Melanie H

Very professional and extremely personable service. Thank you very much.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

I found Chris to be very approachable and easy to speak with about complex matters. He took action quickly and his updates to me, as his client, were prompt. I would recommend Chris and the team at Redmans without hesitation.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Good advice

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Overall happy with the service provided by Chris and Rana.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris and Rana provide a great service, very informed, diligent and care about your result, would recommend Redmans

Posted 4 weeks ago

David W

A speedy efficient friendly service, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors for processing Settlement Agreements.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Both Rana and Chris were fantastic. From the first phone call I was confident my matter was in good hands. I was not disappointed. I would highly recommend Redmans. Thank you again for all of your support and advice.

Posted 1 month ago

Federico S

Great advices and communication. Through Redmana I obtained match more than what I thought. Highly recommended

Posted 1 month ago

Tom G

A good and efficient service with the required legal advice provided for a settlement agreement.

Posted 1 month ago

Francis T

The solicitor I used was Chris Hadrill, who I found extremely professional and I felt that he made me feel at ease, considering the subject matter he was assisting me with.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Chris provided excellent assistance with the negotiation of my settlement agreement. From start to finish, I was consitently updated and advised on the best course of action to take. I would highly recommend Chris and Redmans Solicitors.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

They are busy people but manage well so generally I would recommend them.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Very efficient and professional service from my first phone call making an enquiry. Timescales of the matter in hand were met and within the agreed budget. Would highly recommend Redmans

Posted 1 month ago

Lisa B

Really very good service, always available to answer questions, provide my with any information I needed to make informed decisions.

Posted 1 month ago