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Reasonableness of Sanction

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[Thanks to Louise Jones of Temple Garden Chambers for providing this case summary]

The EAT (HHJ Peter Clark) has handed down judgment in Weston Recovery Services v Fisher, which considered the circumstances where dismissal for conduct not amounting to gross misconduct could be fair.

The employment tribunal had found that the Claimant's dismissal was unfair, on the basis that the relevant conduct (returning a vehicle in an unsafe condition) was not gross misconduct. The EAT did not interfere with the finding of fact that the conduct was not gross misconduct, but found as a matter of law, in line with s98(4) ERA, that the dismissal was fair: the employer passed the well-known BHS v Burchell test, had followed a fair procedure and imposed a sanction, dismissal, which fell within the range of reasonable responses. However, applying the tribunal's finding of fact, the Claimant was entitled to damages for wrongful dismissal, as the employer had not been entitled to dismiss the Claimant summarily.