How should you deal with an employee who engages in allegedly threatening behaviour towards a colleague? This issue has been considered in two employment tribunal cases.
Employee dismissed after raising his voice at a colleague
F was a science and education director at a medical and research charity. On 27 September 2011, he had a heated discussion with his line manager, E, and was heard raising his voice. E went on to submit a grievance letter to the chair of the trustees, G.
E claimed that F engaged in “offensive, threatening and intimidating” behaviour that left her “physically shaking, sick, fearful and frightened”.
Following a disciplinary hearing conducted by G, F was found to be guilty of aggressive and threatening behaviour, and was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct.
The employer relied on the grievance letter from E, but did not interview her at any stage in the process, and the evidence of the witnesses to the incident, who were interviewed by E.
F’s appeal was dismissed.
Gillette employee dismissed after shouting and swearing at a colleague
T was a fitter at Gillette UK Ltd. On 19 January 2012, his line manager, J, asked him to a meeting to discuss various issues.
J alleged that T shouted at her during this meeting, and repeatedly put his finger up to her face, and that she felt “threatened and intimidated” by his actions.
A witness in an adjoining room, B, said that he heard T swear at J. T claimed that J was in a bad mood and had acted in an abrupt manner, and that he had become agitated at the way she was behaving.
Further, he said that he had been pointing at a list of jobs on a board, and denied swearing at J. Following a disciplinary hearing, T was found guilty of abusive and threatening behaviour, and was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct.
His appeal was dismissed.