Hillcrest Care Limited v Morrison, EAT 21 July 2004

Is the comparator comparable?: Morrison worked at a home for children with behavioural difficulties. While off duty, Morrison arranged to meet a colleague who was on duty, Augustus, outside the home.

When Augustus returned to work, a colleague, Arvidsson, concluded he was under the influence of drugs, but didn’t report this until the following morning.

Morrison and Augustus were dismissed for gross misconduct, while Arvidsson was informally reprimanded. The tribunal found Morrison’s dismissal was unfair. Failing to report Augustus did not justify dismissal as Arvidsson (who had taken no action until the next day) was not subject to formal disciplinary action. Hillcrest appealed.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) held that Arvidsson’s position was not truly comparable to Morrison’s, as Arvidsson reported Augustus the following day, while Morrison made no such report. The tribunal should have considered this, and the case was remitted to the tribunal.

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