The case of Turner v East Midlands Trains highlights a point which can be very upsetting to employees who have been dismissed; they cannot ask the Employment Tribunal to reconsider the decision to dismiss. See the comments of Sir Stephen Sedley:
“For a good many years it has been a source of distress to unfair dismissal claimants that, with rare exceptions, they cannot recanvass the merits of their case before an employment tribunal.”
Unfortunately, unfair dismissal claims are not about fairness in the ordinary sense of the word, they are about whether a decision to dismiss is ‘within the range of reasonable responses’ open to an employer. This means that an Employment Tribunal will not look at all the facts to decide whether they would have dismissed the employee. They will look at what evidence the employer had at the time of the dismissal, and whether dismissing the employee on that evidence was a reasonable response.
‘Reasonableness’ is a difficult term to pin down but the law uses this in an honest attempt to find the right answer, when employees and employers may have completely different ideas of what is reasonable.
Whether you are an employee or an employer, it is vital to take legal advice as early as possible to make an informed decision on the next steps as unfortunately, the law isn’t always fair!
For more information on our employment services, if you have an employment law enquiry or need assistance, please contact Philip Kay on 01392 344800 or use the enquiry form under the contact us section.