Mrs Beattie commenced employment with a Social Club within which there are three bars where events on functions are held, on 25th July 2008 as a Bar Steward. She was dismissed on 29th December 2015.
In May 2015, a stock shortage of alcohol was identified. Mrs Beattie was asked to meet with the Executive Committee to discuss the matter on 2nd July 2015. She offered no explanation to the committee and was issued a final written warning on 9th July 2015.
Mrs Beattie appealed this decision, but the sanction was upheld.
In November 2015, Mrs Beattie informed members of the committee she was unwilling to sell function tickets behind the bar as she was concerned about money going missing. Mrs Beattie was asked several times to sell the tickets but continue to refuse. She was suspended on full pay to allow investigations to be carried out.
On 24th December 2015, at an Executive Committee meeting, it was resolved Mrs Beattie should be dismissed. This was confirmed in writing on 29th December 2015. She appealed and was unsuccessful.
The tribunal considered whether the decision of the employer to dismiss fell within the band of reasonable responses which a reasonable employer might have adopted. They concluded the final written warning was valid and, during its currency, Mrs Beattie unreasonably refused to follow a legitimate and reasonable instruction. The tribunal decided the decision to dismiss in those circumstances was unfair, and the procedural flaws were such as to render the dismissal unfair.
Mrs Beattie was therefore, unfairly dismissed.
The tribunal then considered the remedy of compensation, however before doing so, needed to decide the percentage change of dismissal had a fair process been followed (Polkey). The tribunal was satisfied that is the Social Club had put in place a procedure whereby a disciplinary hearing had taken place, followed by an appeal (removing all decision making from the Executive Committee), there was a 100% chance she would have still been dismissed.
The tribunal reached this decision having had regard to the fact the final written warning was valid and ‘live’ at the time of the second incident of misconduct.
Employment Appeal Tribunal
On appeal, Mrs Beattie argued the earlier final written warning was not valid and so the reduction to her compensation could not stand. The appeal was dismissed by the EAT who agreed with the tribunal’s finding that the dismissal was unfair and the reduction to compensation to nil was both competent and appropriate.