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Summary Dismissal: Failure to Obey Instructions

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

The Court of Appeal has handed down its decision in Dunn v AAH Ltd, which is authority for the proposition that where an employee has so undermined the trust and confidence at the heart of a contract of employment, an employer should no longer be required to retain the employee in his employment, but should be entitled to accept that the contract for employment has been repudiated in its essence; the employer in such circumstances is permitted to terminate the contract.

In this case an employee had failed to follow instructions to report on problems of risk within the operations of his company to group headquarters in Germany; this neglect meant that he had denied the group headquarters the opportunity to assess the risk for themselves. The Court held that the employee had been properly dismissed for gross misconduct.