ON APPEAL FROM THE EMPLOYMENT APPEAL TRIBUNAL
MR JUSTICE LANGSTAFF
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE LEWISON
LORD JUSTICE BEATSON
| PATRICIA DAVIES
|- and -
|SANDWELL METROPOLITAN BOROUGH COUNCIL
MR DAVID MAXWELL (instructed by Legal & Governance Services) for the Respondent
Hearing date : 31st January 2013
Crown Copyright ©
Lord Justice Mummery:
The tribunal proceedings
Permission to appeal
The final warning
"8. As to whether there were prima facie grounds for [the final warning] there is, in our judgment, no doubt that the respondent did have a substantial body of evidence upon which it could properly conclude that the claimant had committed the act of misconduct alleged. On any view, there clearly was a prima facie case for the issue of a final written warning. Accordingly, applying the Stein and the Tower Hamlets test, we are satisfied that the employer and this tribunal should properly regard the final written warning as valid when then taking it into account when considering the later misconduct. The final written warning was not issued in bad faith, nor was it manifestly inappropriately issued. It was valid for the purposes of subsequent disciplinary proceedings and therefore the dismissal was fair and the claim for unfair dismissal is dismissed."
"6. …It was argued before the Industrial Tribunal on behalf of the appellant that he should never have been given a final warning at all. We do not consider that it was the function of the Industrial Tribunal to sit in judgment upon this matter. It was sufficient if they were satisfied that the final warning had been issued in good faith and that there were at least prima facie grounds for following the procedure..."
Discussion and conclusions
"(4) …the determination of any question whether the dismissal is fair or unfair having regard to the reason shown by the employer-
(a) depends on whether in the circumstances (including the size and administrative resources of the employer's undertaking) the employer acted reasonably or unreasonably in treating it as a sufficient reason for dismissing the employee; and
(b) shall be determined in accordance with equity and the substantial merits of the case."
Lord Justice Lewison:
"(2) Dealing with a case justly includes, so far as practicable:—
(a) ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing;
(b) dealing with the case in ways which are proportionate to the complexity or importance of the issues;
(c) ensuring that it is dealt with expeditiously and fairly; and
(d) saving expense."
"The Employment Judge or tribunal (as the case may be) shall make such enquiries of persons appearing before him or it and of witnesses as he or it considers appropriate and shall otherwise conduct the hearing in such manner as he or it considers most appropriate for the clarification of the issues and generally for the just handling of the proceedings."
Lord Justice Beatson: