Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

Keywords: unfair dismissal, range of reasonable responses, contributory fault

Mr Anthony was dismissed for misconduct for allegedly overstating the hours he had worked. During the company appeal process it was found that he had probably done so by mistake and the fact that he had been suffering from stress mitigated against his dismissal. However, he was still dismissed. The Employment Tribunal found the Respondent liable for unfair dismissal as his dismissal was outside of the range of reasonable responses, having consideration to the amount of time he overclaimed. However, the Employment Tribunal reduced his compensation by 20% for contributory fault. The Respondent appealed on both liability and, in the alternative, that his compensation should be reduced by more than 20%. The Respondent failed on the first ground of appeal but succeeded on the latter.

The facts in Richard & Lesley Callow (t/a Callow Building Services) v Anthony

Mr Anthony (“the Claimant”) commenced employment with the Respondent (a building services company) in July 2001. He had eight years continuous employment with the Respondent. On 8 October 2009 and 9 October 2009 the Claimant was working on a building site. He submitted time sheets for these two days which claimed he had worked half an hour more on each day than he actually had. He was therefore alleged to be deliberately submitting falsified time sheets to his employer. An investigation was carried out and, subsequently a disciplinary hearing on 28 October 2010. The Claimant didn’t attend this hearing, stating he was sick, and didn’t attend further hearings. He was finally dismissed for gross misconduct on 24 March 2010 after not attending a final disciplinary hearing. The Claimant appealed his dismissal and the appeal was held on 18 May 2010. The Claimant claimed at this appeal that he had been stressed on these days and that the incorrect timesheets were a mistake. The manager handling the appeal indicated that she believed Mr Anthony. However, she decided to uphold the dismissal.

The Claimant subsequently submitted a claim for unfair dismissal to the Employment Tribunal. The Employment Tribunal held the Respondent liable for unfair dismissal, asserting that given the manager dealing with the appeal believed the Claimant innocent the decision to dismiss was without the range of reasonable responses in the circumstances. However, the Employment Tribunal indicated that the Claimant was 20% responsible for his dismissal because of his failure to attend any of the disciplinary hearings and put his case. The Respondent appealed on both points.

The law relating to unfair dismissal and the range of reasonable responses

Under s.94(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. There are two “branches” of unfair dismissal – procedural unfair dismissal and substantive unfair dismissal. We’ll take a look at substantive unfair dismissal in this post.

For a decision to dismiss to be substantively unfair the decision must be outside of the “range of reasonable responses” in the circumstances. Whether a decision is unfair depends on the subjective frame of mind of the person making the decision to dismiss. In deciding whether a decision to dismiss is unfair the Employment Tribunal will consider:

  1. Whether a reasonable and thorough investigation has been carried out
  2. Whether the Respondent has a genuine belief in the Claimant’s guilt
  3. Whether the Respondent has an honest belief in the Claimant’s guilt

The Employment Tribunal must not substitute its own view for the view of the manager taking the decision. Should the manager handling the dismissal or the appeal fail to, for example, have an honest belief in the Claimant’s guilt (and this is adduced through evidence) then the decision may be unfair. However, the “range of reasonable responses” test is heavily weighted in favour of the employer.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in Richard & Lesley Callow (t/a Callow Building Services) v Anthony

The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed the Respondent’s appeal against liability but allowed the appeal relating to contributory fault. The Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that the Employment Tribunal’s view on liability was neither perverse nor had it substituted its own judgment for that of the employer. However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal accepted the Respondent’s appeal on the contributory fault point as the Employment Tribunal had not given sufficient reasons for its decision to place the contributory fault percentage at 20 percent. The matter was therefore remitted to the Employment Tribunal to be heard on this point.

Our specialist employment solicitors’ thoughts on Richard & Lesley Callow (t/a Callow Building Services) v Anthony

This is a case where, at first glimpse, the decision to dismiss the Claimant seems unduly harsh. However, the Claimant certainly did not help himself by failing to attend the disciplinary hearings arranged. This is an important point for Claimants: always try and attend your disciplinary hearing for if you fail to then the decision to dismiss you can be held in your absence.

Our specialist unfair dismissal solicitors deal with all types of unfair dismissal cases and are able to take no win no fee unfair dismissal cases on.

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

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

    Testimonials

    4.80 Average

    346 Reviews

    Anonymous

    I dealt with Chris Hadrill who was very knowledgeable and professional. To provide some context, I raised a grievance with my Employer and with the help of Redmans received a settlement offer. I have secured alternative employment and would recommend Redmans overall. I was very satisfied with the service I received and would rate it as 5 star.

    Posted 7 hours ago

    Danielle T

    I contacted Redmans in regards to a situation I needed dealing with with my employer. This was resolved within a week of initial contact and I couldn’t be happier. Both Chris and Sacha were brilliant and couldn’t have been more helpful! Thanks guys!

    Posted 1 day ago

    Anonymous

    Quick proccessing of my Redundancy agreement.

    Posted 4 days ago

    Anonymous

    Fantastic support during a difficult time! Chris was fantastic, from the first conversation all the way through a difficult process. Chris supported me with a settlement agreement and his counsel was invaluable. The company I worked for tried to suggest some solicitors that they knew would simply rush through an agreement. Thankfully I found Chris and the Redmans team, what a relief! They fought for me and allowed me to keep my focus on the next stage in my career journey. If I go through anything similar in the future Redmans will be my first point of call!

    Posted 5 days ago

    Anonymous

    Quick responses to all inquiries. Supportive and provided top-notch service. Extremely pleased with the outcome and would recommend to anyone in need of legal advise.

    Posted 6 days ago

    Ben H

    Good, quick and informative service.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Edward W

    I liked Mel Chin's approach to my inctruction. She provided clear advice and explained things in a manner that I understand. I rated her service 5 out of 5.

    Posted 1 week ago

    James B

    Great and prompt service- would recommend and use again!

    Posted 1 week ago

    Emma L

    Excellent service. From start the team where efficient and helpful, the whole process was made easy on a very stressful and upsetting situation. They worked well to support my situation and negotiate. Would highly recommend. Thank you to Chris, Sacha and the team.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Brian H

    I must say, not seeing any of you and doing all on-line works very well. Very pleased with the service and would recommend you. Fantastic service. Many thanks Brian Haines

    Posted 1 week ago

    Sheenu A

    Professionals with excellent quality of work.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Maris T

    I recommend Redman's Solicitors. Chris was very helpful and informative. He provided a speedy and efficient service at a reasonable price.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    quick response, friendly staff, my issue was smoothly done. superb

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Overall I was very satisfied with the service I received. Right from making initial contact to being contacted by Chris Hadrill. He was easy to talk to, friendly and professional and gave sound advice. I would certainly use Redman's again. Thank you for all your help, Chris. I would rate my experience as 5 star.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jane K

    4 stars for quality of advise. the team are good but it feels rushed sometimes and hard to contact.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Arabella B

    I am so grateful to Caroline Lewis at Redmans Solicitor’s for helping me with my Unfair Dismissal Case. I was seriously impressed how easy Redmans made the whole case, and am very happy with my Settlement. I have recommended your firm to at least 5 people in the last 3 months.. Thank you Caroline and everyone at Redmans. You are Brilliant .

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Highly professional and efficient service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Tanya T

    I had the pleasure of Chris and Sacha’s experience with a work matter. They made me feel at ease with the process and explained everything thoroughly. Would happily recommend Redmans especially Chris and use them if needed I’m the future. Thank you!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I used the services of Redmans solicitors and was a quick outstanding service I engaged them in a settlement agreement after been made redundant extremely professional at all that was done and would definetly use them again

    Posted 1 month ago

    Adrian A

    Spot on support, enough to get the matter at hand sorted. No beating around the bush, no nonsense - got the job done and we all moved on.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mark Q

    Five Stars I was most impressed by the attention, courtesy, speed and above all, professionalism in dealing with my Settlement Agreement. I would certainly have no problem in recommending this firm to anyone in need of their services.

    Posted 1 month ago