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Unusual circumstances allow a dismissal with no procedure

In Gallacher v Abellio Scotrail, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that, in rare circumstances, an employee can be fairly dismissed without any procedure, including the absence of an appeal.

The Claimant was dismissed at an appraisal meeting having not been subject to any formal procedure or forewarning. She was also not given the right to appeal.

Usually, not having any process, will render a dismissal unfair.  However, in this case, the EAT agreed with the Tribunal, that there can be rare circumstances where dispensing with a procedure could be considered within the band of reasonable responses that an Employer may take. A dominating factor in this instance was that, on the facts, there had been critical and irreparable deterioration of the working relationship between the Claimant and her line manager and there was evidence to suggest that, not only would the procedure have served no useful purpose, but, if anything, it would have actually worsened the situation.

The Claimant was dismissed at an appraisal meeting having not been subject to any formal procedure or forewarning. She was also not given the right to appeal.

Cases like this will be extremely rare and any employer seeking to dispense of a procedure entirely would be wise to take legal advice before hand as this will rarely be acceptable even where relationships have broken down. However, it does illustrate that Tribunals will consider all material factors relevant to the dismissal when determining fairness.

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