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Amanda Glover comments on ‘incorrect communication resulted in colleague’s ‘near miss’ with a train was unfairly dismissed’

A railway firm team leader with controller of site safety status was unfairly dismissed after he incorrectly communicated a line blockage, resulting in a near “fatal” miss with a train, a tribunal has ruled.

The Newcastle Employment Tribunal found that while Network Rail Infrastructure (NRI) had reasonable grounds to view Mr C Boxall’s actions as misconduct, the almost two-year delay in his eventual dismissal was “wholly unacceptable and made the investigation wholly unreasonable”.

However, it also found that Boxall – while not entirely “blameworthy or culpable” – did contribute to his dismissal and his award was reduced by 25 per cent.

In People Management, Amanda Glover, Associate at Clarkslegal comments that despite the seriousness of the incident in question, and the tribunal’s acceptance that the employee had committed an act of misconduct – both of which appear like reasonable causes for dismissal – “an employer’s procedural ‘mishaps’ can ultimately lead to a finding of unfair dismissal”.

The mishaps in this case include the largely unexplained delays in the investigation process and the employer’s failure to follow its own disciplinary procedure fully, Glover explained.

“In terms of the substantive mishap, the tribunal found that the dismissal was not a reasonable response in the circumstances of this case,” she added. “The employer had failed to consider alternative sanctions or take into account the substantial mitigation both in respect of the personal stress the claimant was under at the time and his clean disciplinary record and period of service.”

Read the full article: People Management 

Judge says two-year delay in proceedings was ‘wholly unacceptable’, but employee’s misconduct contributed to his dismissal

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