Museum worker fairly dismissed for persistent lateness at work

Royal Museums Greenwich had warned the claimant a number of times about arriving late
Royal Museums Greenwich had warned the employee a number of times about arriving late.

A museum was found to have fairly dismissed a worker during a crackdown on persistent lateness at work, after he had accumulated a series of warnings for poor timekeeping. Stephen Simpson rounds up recent tribunal decisions.

Unfair dismissal: employee fairly dismissed for persistent lateness
The employment tribunal decision in Ghartey v Royal Museums Greenwich concerns a long-serving employee who was dismissed for persistent lateness following an accumulation of warnings.

Persistent lateness: tribunal’s view in this case

“Ultimately, it is an employee’s responsibility to take whatever reasonable steps are needed to get to work on time … It is clear that it was a requirement that he attend work on time and that if he did not it could cause operational difficulties for the respondent and could lead to disciplinary action.”

The claimant, a visitor assistant at the Royal Museums Greenwich, was warned a number of times about arriving late at work.

He was advised that his timekeeping would be monitored and that disciplinary proceedings could ensue if there was no improvement.

Following a series of discussions and warnings, he was issued with a final written warning.

Around the same time, the museum began a drive to improve museum workers’ attendance and timekeeping. This included disciplinary meetings and warnings for staff who had reached a certain level of absence or lateness.

As he was already in receipt of a final written warning, the claimant was dismissed. This was despite his protestations that he had a difficult bus journey to work, his previous warnings were unfair, and the timing of the attendance drive was dubious.

In his unfair dismissal claim, the tribunal acknowledged that the claimant had a problematic journey to work involving several buses.

However, the tribunal rejected the unfair dismissal case because:

  • the claimant had been persistently late;
  • the claimant had known the importance of arriving at work on time and that any failure to do so could result in disciplinary action; and
  • the museum had conducted a fair procedure.

Read more details of the case and practical tips in the light of the judgment…


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