Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust v Roldan, the Court of Appeal held that
where there is conflicting evidence, it could be perfectly proper for the
employer to give the alleged wrongdoer the benefit of the doubt without
feeling compelled to have to come down in favour of on one side or the other.
nurse from the Philippines,
was alleged to have abused a patient. A manager interviewed Ms Roldan and a
colleague (Ms Denton) who claimed to have witnessed the events. The
disciplinary panel found Ms Roldan’s evidence unconvincing and preferred that
of Ms Denton. They dismissed Ms Roldan. The tribunal found the dismissal
unfair. As the investigating manager and the disciplinary panel believed Ms
Denton had no reason to lie, they had not in any way sought to question the
reliability of her evidence, when it was clear that on one point it was not entirely
EAT overturned the decision but the finding of unfair dismissal was restored
by the Court of Appeal. When assessing the reasonableness of an
investigation, tribunals should take into account the gravity of the
consequences on the employee; where these are serious, the investigator must
be “even-handed” in looking for evidence in the accused’s favour as
well as evidence against them.
Court of Appeal added that where there is conflicting evidence, but no way of
determining which version is more credible, it could be perfectly proper to
give the alleged wrongdoer the benefit of the doubt without feeling compelled
to have to come down in favour of on one side or the other.