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Disciplinary investigation heavily influenced by HR led to unfair dismissal

The EAT has allowed an appeal against the decision of an employment judge that an employee had been fairly dismissed in circumstances where the investigating officer's recommendations had been heavily influenced by input from Human Resources. The investigating officer's report originally recommended a finding of misconduct and a sanction of a written warning, but after numerous comments and amendments by HR, the final report found the employee to have committed gross misconduct, and recommended immediate dismissal. The employment judge had failed to apply the decision of the Supreme Court in Chhabra v West London Mental Health NHS Trust [2013] UKSC 80, which set out guidelines on the role of HR in disciplinary investigations. In particular, HR's advice should be limited essentially to matters of law and procedure, as opposed to questions of culpability, which are reserved for the investigating officer.

The EAT set aside the finding on unfair dismissal, and remitted the case to be re-heard by the same employment judge in light of Chhabra. (Ramphal v Department for Transport UKEAT/0352/14.)  Source: Practical Law

At EmployEasily Legal Services we understand fully the difference between advising and leading disciplinary investigations and ensure our clients are properly advised on matters of employment law and HR procedure, ensuring they don't find themselves needlessly exposed as the Department of Transport was in this case.

Contact us today to find out how EmployEasily Legal Services can help you prevent problems and protect your business across all areas of employment law and HR.


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