Ms Gallacher was a senior manager. Her relationship with her manager deteriorated at a critical time for the employer’s business, and she was dismissed at an appraisal meeting with no procedure, forewarning or right of appeal.
The tribunal found that the reason for the dismissal was a lack of trust and confidence between two employees at a senior level which was a barrier to delivering the objectives of the business. The dismissal was for “some other substantial reason”. Given the irretrievable breakdown in working relations on both sides, the tribunal noted that any procedure would not have served a useful purpose. It concluded that, given these stark circumstances, the decision to dismiss Ms Gallacher without any procedure was within the band of reasonable responses.
The EAT agreed. It said that there will very occasionally be cases where procedures may be dispensed with because they are reasonably considered by the employer to be futile.
Tribunals will always scrutinise dismissals where no procedure has been followed, to assess whether they fall within the band of reasonable responses.
This is a useful example of a very rare case in which an employer is found to have acted fairly despite not taking any formal procedure before dismissing an employee.
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