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.


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 first name (required)

Your last name (required)

Your email (required)

Your telephone number (required)

Brief details of your enquiry

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


4.76 Average

204 Reviews


Excellent advice and customer service.

Posted 1 month ago

Aneet G

I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

Posted 1 month ago

Fern M

Very efficient and friendly

Posted 1 month ago

Neville S

A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

Posted 1 month ago

Daniel T

Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

Posted 1 month ago

Paul T

Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

Posted 1 month ago

Marina E

Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

Posted 1 month ago

Rosa B

Fabulous service all round.

Posted 1 month ago


Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

Posted 1 month ago

Alkhas K

Excellent service.

Posted 1 month ago

Mathias G

Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

Posted 2 months ago

Mark W

Most professional from start to finish offering very a personal service. Most impressive and quick when dealing with the matters in hand.

Posted 3 months ago


Posted 3 months ago


I am very glad I came across Redmans Solicitors. Fantastic service!

Posted 3 months ago


Fantastic communication, always happy to answer queries, highly recommended.

Posted 3 months ago

Wavenie B

They were very straight to the point, friendly and understanding people. I felt they had my best interest. They were easy to get hold of, replies were almost instant. 5/5 for customer service

Posted 3 months ago

Christina P

Caroline was fantastic to work with - extremely knowledgeable, supportive, thorough and honest. I definitely recommend Redmans!

Posted 3 months ago


Very well done and fast support. Professional and reliable. Highly recommended!

Posted 3 months ago

Helene L

They were very knowledgable in the respected area in terms of change in law/regulations that is crucial for the clients who are seeking for legal arvice.

Posted 3 months ago

Sara R

Very helpful and wonderful advice

Posted 3 months ago

Marie D

very good service all digitalised

Posted 3 months ago