Case roundup

This week’s case roundup

Reasonableness of dismissal
Meakin v Liverpool CC Leisure Services Directorate, unreported, September 2001,
EAT

Meakin was a caretaker with 28 years’ service. On 15 July 1998 a fight took
place at the council’s premises between Meakin and Forde. Following an
investigation, both employees were dismissed. Meakin’s internal appeals failed.

Meakin’s unfair dismissal claim failed. He argued that dismissal was too
severe as no mitigating factors had been considered, namely his length of
service, clean record, the employer’s rejection of Forde’s racist behaviour
towards Meakin, unwarranted suggestions made by Forde about Meakin’s sister and
that during the fight, Forde had his hands around Meakin’s neck.

Meakin’s appeal to the EAT also failed. In cases involving more than one
employee, the position of each should, in principle, be considered separately.
Both the council and tribunal had considered all points of mitigation that
could have been made on behalf of Meakin.

Even if there were differences between Meakin and Forde such as length of
service, Meakin’s misconduct could still merit dismissal.

If this was the case, even taking into account long service and past good
conduct, the fact that the other employee involved had a less good record was
irrelevant.

Incorporation of collective agreement terms
Radford v LTI Limited, IDS Brief 698, EAT

LTI recognised three trade unions. The most recent collective agreement
stated that it would remain in force until 31 July 1998. In October 1998 LTI
informed the workforce of impending redundancies.

The unions felt the redundancy procedure described in the collective
agreement should be applied, but LTI’s position was that the agreement had
expired and an alternative selection procedure was used.

Radford’s score placed him in the redundancy pool, and he was dismissed. He
successfully claimed unfair dismissal. Although the collective agreement was
not incorporated into Radford’s contract, because it was not of day-to-day
significance to the relationship between him and LTI, the consultation and
selection criteria used had been inadequate.

Both parties appealed to the EAT, which confirmed that the tribunal had been
entitled to find the selection procedures in the collective agreement were not
incorporated because they were not of day-to-day significance.

However, the tribunal had erred in not asking whether the consultation was so
inadequate as to render the dismissal unfair.

Likewise, in relation to the selection criteria, the tribunal had erred in
substituting its own decision instead of considering what a reasonable employer
would have done. Accordingly, Radford’s dismissal was found to be fair.

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