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Finding dismissal unfair as investigation too thorough was perverse

Makbool Javaid

In NHS24 v Pillar, Pillar (P) was dismissed for gross misconduct after a third serious Patient Safety Incident (PSI). The first two incidents had not been treated as disciplinary matters and an ET decided that inclusion of details about them in an investigative report given to the dismissing officer fell foul of the “reasonable investigation” requirement in British Home Stores v Burchell, thus making the dismissal procedurally unfair. The EAT upheld the employer’s appeal. The ET’s decision was inconsistent with its own findings that the previous PSIs were relevant and that dismissal had been a reasonable outcome on the basis of the material before the dismissing officer. It was then novel to complain that an investigation was too thorough and as a consequence the dismissal was unfair. Burchell is directed primarily at the inadequacy of an investigation. The ET’s decision that it was unfair to include information about the previous PSI incidents was irrational and perverse.

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