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Statutory Dismissal Procedure

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The EAT has handed down an important decision on the necessary content of a step 1 dismissal letter.

An employee was dismissed for being found in a company van, about to drive, having consumed alcohol. He was in breach of a 'zero tolerance' rule. The step 1 letter simply referred to ""conduct which fails to reasonably ensure Health and Safety of oneself and others."

The EAT held that that the letter was sufficient to comply with step 1 of the statutory dismissal procedure (adopting an analogous position to the grievance letter cases such as Shergold).

Further, if the words of what is put forward as a Step 1 letter are ambiguous or a Tribunal is doubtful as to whether they are sufficient, the Tribunal is entitled to look at the whole context, including whether the employee knew what the allegations against him were, in deciding whether there had been compliance with Step 1. Interestingly, the tribunal left open for another day the question of whether just putting 'misconduct' in the letter would suffice (para. 49).

Draper v Mears Ltd