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Employer cannot be liable for loss post-dismissal caused by a third party

 


 

 


 


 


Employer
cannot be liable for loss post-dismissal caused by a third party


In
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust v Roldan, the EAT ruled that an employer is
only liable for losses it has caused its ex-employee, not those caused by third
party action, such as a criminal prosecution which prevents that employee from
working post-dismissal.

Following
allegations that she had been seen mistreating a patient, Ms Roldan was dismissed
from her position as a nurse working in an intensive care unit following an
investigation, which produced evidence from the healthcare assistant who had witnessed
what had happened, and a full disciplinary hearing.

The
tribunal decided the dismissal was unfair as there had been no proper investigation.
It awarded Ms Roldan compensation of over £20,000, for her losses for a 14
month period, which included a period when Ms Roldan faced prosecution by the
CPS for her actions, and was on bail – a situation which ended with her
eventual acquittal in the Crown Court.

The
EAT overturned both of the tribunal’s decisions. On close scrutiny of the
evidence, there were no procedural defects to render the dismissal unfair and
on this basis the case would need to be re-heard. Furthermore the tribunal was
wrong to award 14 months’ losses. Losses flowing from the dismissal should only
have been for 6 weeks. After that time, the reason that Ms Roldan could not
work was due to the prosecution mounted against her. That was out of the hands
of the Trust. The acts of the police in charging and of the CPS in prosecuting
her were matters which affected her ability to work, but were not the direct
consequence of acts attributable to the employer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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