From time to time we tell you about a Birmingham employment law case we have recently dealt with. Our other stories are here. This is the story of Ian’s dismissal after an unfair disciplinary from a well-known company after 36 years of service.

Ian, age 56, was a foreman working on large infrastructure projects. With over 36 years of knowledge within his field, Gurdeep’s dismissal came as a shock.

Ian was issued with a company van to help complete his daily tasks.  As the company owned many vehicles, it had its own fuel pump at the depot, where Ian was the only employee trained and authorised to fuel machinery. An electronic fob was issued to Ian which recorded how much fuel he dispensed from the pump.

The company were well aware that the small tanks they issued could only hold a certain amount and this was not sufficient to last for the working day. Therefore, Ian (thinking proactively) would fuel up several jerry cans to top up the tank whilst out on site. This is precisely why the company issued jerry cans in the first place!

Ian’s employer became aware that Ian was drawing more fuel than the van’s tank’s capacity to hold fuel. This led it to believe that Ian was taking the extra fuel for his own personal use and therefore an investigation was. carried out. Evidence included in the investigation was offered by another employee, Steven, who had a personal vendetta against Ian and wanted him sacked. Other colleagues of Ian stated when they need extra fuel, Ian gave them some of his fuel, showing where the extra fuel went too and was in fact not for Ian’s personal use as alleged.

It is important to remember when an employer is carrying out an investigation, it must be conducted fairly and reasonably. Making a decision after an unfair disciplinary investigation can make any subsequent decisions or action unfair, and leave an employer vulnerable to legal action.

In the appeal, Ian’s employer refused to hear new evidence produced by Ian and his representative. He complained the accusations made were instigated by his manager, who for an unknown reason, took a dislike to him.

Unfortunately, Ian was unfairly dismissed from his job.

We helped Ian to bring a claim of unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal on the basis that the employer simply conducted an unfair disciplinary and as a result got the decision wrong.

Image used under CC courtesy of DennisM2