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 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

4.76 Average

164 Reviews

Samantha K

Absolutely brilliant thank you. Caroline Lewis is a legend

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

The legal advice was clear and helpful.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Davinder P

Good Service

Posted 2 weeks ago

Adrian V

I was using Redmans services for a Settlement Agreement. Very quick and professional service. The outcome was favourable and I was very pleased with the amendments and results. Pretty glad to recommend them for any type of legal advice.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Very responsive, efficient, clear and supportive. Thank you! Highly recommend.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Tiago S

Chris was always prompt to help me with legal matters that are beyond my comprehension and very helpful leasing with my former employer. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors to everyone who needs help.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional advice tailored to what was needed. Thanks for your help Chris Hadrill and team.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Peter S

Really pleased with the outcome and the advice I had from Chris and Sacha.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Harika A

Redmans solicitor's helped me with my settlement agreement, Chris has been very helpful throughout the process.He was very prompt in his responses and made my settlement look simple.Special thanks to Caroline for her efficient communication, thorough explaination of contract terminology and negotiations.I highly reccommend Redmans solicitors for anyone seeking employment related legal help.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Good and quick service

Posted 3 weeks ago

Ricky D

Very satisfying to be assured of such attention and professionalism.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Excellent service - thankyou

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Efficient, timely and friendly support and advice

Posted 3 weeks ago

Ahmed S

They are always on hand when you need them and provide support even when its not necessary.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Nemen S

Wonderful experience.Chris was very responsive and provided an excellent service. A real professional who I would recommend to anyone

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Their guidance was clear and they provided me with all the information I required. Friendly yet professional

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris @ Redmans assisted me with an employment issue. Firstly, he was very proactive in coming back to my initial enquiry and then helped to clearly lay out the options that I had in relation to my position. He then assisted with the preparation of my case, which led to a very satisfactory outcome. I would highly recommend the quality of service & professionalism offered by Redmans Solicitors.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Great service

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris was very effective and decisive in dealing with my matter. I felt guided, and the pressure to make decisions was taken off my shoulders; he knew what needed to be done and I was happy to follow his advice. The result of the legal dispute was a great success for me. He is also kind and personable. The only thing that I would say it could be improved, is the accuracy of cost estimation at the beginning: not many activites, that could not have been forseen had to take place, but costs went up more than double in the end. Overall very good and trustworthy. I would definately recommend and use Redmans services again.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Liz P

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

Posted 1 month 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 month ago