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Reliance on informal warnings

Posted on 20th May 2010
Case law

The EAT has concluded that an employer, when dismissing for gross misconduct, can rely upon a previous and similar incident even though no formal warning was given.

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the earlier incident was relevant and could be considered as background

London Borough of Brent v Fuller [2010]

Background

Mrs Fuller worked as a school administrator. She had intervened whilst teaching staff were trying to restrain a pupil and was told not to do so by the Head Teacher. A similar incident took place on a later date and Mrs Fuller was dismissed. Among the reasons given for the dismissal were 'repeated and inappropriate intervention into behavioural management issues' and 'failure to follow reasonable instructions'.

The decision

The EAT, disagreeing with an Employment Tribunal, concluded that the earlier incident was relevant and could be considered as background by the employer.

Comment

The decision emphasises that an employer is entitled to take into account all relevant circumstances when they are considering dismissal, including incidents for which no formal warning is issued.  

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