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Dismissal was clearly within the range of reasonable responses

 




 


 





 

 


 

 


Dismissal was clearly within the range of reasonable
responses

In Austin v
Tesco Stores Ltd, the EAT held that the investigation carried out by the
employer was reasonable in all the circumstances of the case, therefore the
employer had reasonable grounds to sustain a genuine belief that the employee
had committed an act of gross misconduct and summary dismissal was clearly
within the range of reasonable responses.

After filling
his car with fuel, Mr Ralls, who was served by Mr Austin, paid with a debit
card, accompanied by a Tesco Club card. Later that day, he realised his debit
card had not been handed back to him, just the Club Card. He returned and
collected his debit card from Mr Austin. On his next bank statement he
found that £300 had been withdrawn in two separate transactions at around
the same time from the store’s ATM, which was about a 100 metres from the
filling station. Following a disciplinary hearing, Mr Austin was summarily
dismissed for gross misconduct in that the store manager had formed a genuine
belief that Mr Austin had been responsible for credit card fraud.

The EAT rejected
Mr Austin’s appeal. He argued that Tesco had not carried out a reasonable
investigation. But the EAT thought otherwise. Mr Austin had given no reasonable
explanation. Mr Ralls paid by debit card accompanied by a Club Card. A PIN
number was used. Only the Club Card was given back at the time of the
transaction. Mr Austin did not put the debit card into the safe as he should
have done. Mr Austin gave the debit card back to Mr Ralls later on in the day.
The money was withdrawn during an 11 minute period when Mr Austin’s till showed
no debit or credit card transactions. QED said the EAT – dismissal was clearly
within the range of reasonable responses open to Tesco. Every little helps.

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