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Keep the employee aware of disciplinary issues

Posted on 1st October 2010
Case law

An employee was wrongfully dismissed where the employer had not kept him 'fully informed of any perceived deficiencies in his conduct'.

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the club had not kept him 'fully informed of any perceived deficiencies in his conduct'

McCormack v Hamilton Academical Football Club Limited [2010]

Background

Mr McCormack was Assistant Manager of Hamilton Academical Football Club Limited. He was dismissed for gross misconduct after just over two months. The club relied on conduct involving bullying, swearing at the youth team and making sexually derogatory comments to a female trainee physiotherapist which it said undermined the mutual trust and confidence to such an extent that the club was entitled to dismiss. Mr McCormack was spoken to on at least two occasions about his behaviour but he was not subject to formal disciplinary proceedings, given instructions about conducting training sessions or told about the allegations of bullying.

The decision

The court held that Mr McCormack had not breached the duty of mutual trust and confidence by his actions and the club had not kept him 'fully informed of any perceived deficiencies in his conduct'.

Comment

The court commented that the case was not one where Mr McCormack was alleged not to have complied with instructions given to him. As such this case is a clear warning that employers must keep employees informed of any conduct issues, set expectations and give instruction if they are to be in strong position to dismiss successfully.

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