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Conflict in witness evidence in disciplinary proceedings

Posted on 20th May 2010
Case law

Where there is a conflict in the witness evidence obtained during an investigation and the employer cannot reasonably conclude one way or the other, it is 'proper' for the employee to be given the benefit of the doubt.

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Julie Temple Julie
Temple
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Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust v Roldan [2010]

Background

Ms Roldan was a registered nurse. An allegation was made that she had ill-treated a patient, resulting in her suspension and subsequent dismissal.

The decision

The evidence in support of the allegations conflicted. In reaching its decision, the Court of Appeal reminded employers 'that they must form a genuine belief on reasonable grounds that . . . misconduct has occurred'. It went on to say that an employer does not need to reach a position where they believe one employee and disbelieve another. If a conclusion cannot reasonably be reached one way or another, 'it . . . [is] perfectly proper . . . for the employer to give the alleged wrongdoer the benefit of the doubt'.  

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