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

4.78 Average

143 Reviews

Liz P

An excellent professional service was provided by Chris Hadrill and Mel Chin. Efficient and trustworthy - would highly recommend this company.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Redmans Solicitors were great. They were able to advice me quickly and efficiently! I would recommend them, as a good solicitors to use.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Extremely efficient. Mel made a difficult situation bearable and gave good clear guidance thoughout.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Thanks Chris and Sacha I was reassured throughout the process and a happy outcome

Posted 2 weeks ago

Edward F

Good and clear employment advice

Posted 2 weeks ago

Richard O

Chris at Redmans is my go-to legal expert when it comes to employee-related matters. His depth of knowledge, experience and considered approach to problems and their solutions is highly valuable. I cannot recommend Redmans highly enough.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Rory Y

They provide me with timely and clear advice!

Posted 3 weeks ago

Steven C

Redmans handled my settlement with my employer quickly, decisively and to a standard that I was very happy with. I would in similar circumstances contract them again

Posted 3 weeks ago

Deepthi K

Transparent. Clear communication. Prompt reply’s. Saves lot of time. Very satisfied.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris and Sacha did a fantastic job and negotiated a significant better settlement agreement

Posted 3 weeks ago

Dino D

I did get a very swift and god service from Redmans

Posted 3 weeks ago

Stephanie H

Clear, prompt, effective support from Chris which has been very much appreciated. Thank you again.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

I would highly recommend Redmans Solicitors, the team were very friendly and my case was dealt with professionally and efficiently. Thank you!

Posted 2 months ago

Shane M

Very professional, welcome advice at a crucial time. Always available and reasonable cost.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

My case was relatively straight-forward. But even so, working with Redmans was easy, quick, professional & clear. Many thanks

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The team were very helpful and answered all my questions regarding my redundancy. Initially I had a call with one of the representatives who escalated my request to a suitable employment solicitor. We arranged a call to discuss the settlement and she helped answer all my questions. We then mainly contacted through email which helped resolve the settlement quickly and convently. Thanks for all the help.

Posted 2 months ago

Djaouida T

You have good communication.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional. A highly recommended company for employment related issues.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very professional service.

Posted 2 months ago

Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 10 months ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 11 months ago