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New EAT Decisions

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These decisions have been placed on the EAT website in the last 24 hours.

Bournemouth Borough Council v Meredith
(Maurice Kay J., 24/7/02)

The employee, a teacher, was dismissed for gross misconduct when he took a disruptive 12-year old girl by the wrist and dragged her outside the classroom, in circumstances where she was being disruptive during an exam and had refused several instructions to leave the room.

The EAT upheld the decision that the dismissal was unfair. Helpfully, the EAT gave clear guidance on the procedures a school should follow if it wanted to impose a 'no physical contact' rule on its teachers. The Court of Appeal has refused Bournemouth's application for leave to appeal.

Johnson v Scottish & Newcastle 
(HHJ Wilkie, 26/2/02)

Mrs Johnson was assistant manager of a pub. She was dismissed for making excessive phone calls. Because of an inadequate procedure, the tribunal found the dismissal was unfair. The compensatory award was, on the face of it, £4,620. However, the tribunal reduced this by 95% (on the basis that there was a 95% chance a fair procedure would have reached the same result) - yielding £231. It then further reduced this by 90% for contributory fault, and awarded a final compensatory award of £23.18 .

The EAT held it was an error of law to impose the two reductions cumulatively without having regard to their overall effect. It breached the overriding 'just and equitable' test. Accordingly the assessment of award was remitted to a fresh tribunal.