Fair Procedures – Dismissal of an employee involved in criminal activity
Where an employer has compelling grounds to dismiss an employee, the employer must still engage in fair procedures in dealing with the employee; this is known as Fair Procedures. It is not an excuse for an employer, often a small employer, to claim they were not aware of employment policies and procedures. This was demonstrated in a case where an employer in the removal business dismissed an employee who stole a lawnmower in the course of his work. In this case, the employee was arrested and charged in relation to the theft of the lawnmower.
However, the Adjudication Officer pointed out that no procedures were conducted by the employer in dismissing the employee. In this case the sacked employee was awarded one year’s wages because of this failure. It appears harsh where the employee was clearly in the wrong for stealing property and committing a criminal offence. But the law requires employers to have a process of fair procedures in dealing with wrong-doing by employees. So in this case had the employer put in place fair procedures, it is very probable that the employer would have won its case.
Unfair Dismissal Claim – Medical Certificate
Where an employee returns to work following a period of illness and produces a medical certificate stating that the employee is fit to return to work, the employer must accept that and allow the employee back. If the employer disputes the capacity of the employee to do their job, the employer must have their own medical assessment of the employee. Our case law will not accept the opinion of the employer that the employee was unfit to carry out their job where the employee has a medical certificate of fitness.