We use Cookies - by using this site or closing this message you're agreeing to our Cookies policy

Is it always reasonable to dismiss an employee who has committed a violent act towards another employee or a member of the public?

Many firms have a very laudable aim of zero tolerance towards violence in the workforce and in the majority of cases it would be reasonable for an employer to dismiss an employee who has committed an act of violence. But is that always the case?

Many firms have a very laudable aim of zero tolerance towards violence in the workforce and in the majority of cases it would be reasonable for an employer to dismiss an employee who has committed an act of violence. But is that always the case?

No!

The EAT in Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd v Spoor have recently upheld a decision that the dismissal of a long service employee with an exemplary disciplinary record for a minor scuffle was unfair.

Mr Spoor had been employed for 42 years. He had momentarily lost his temper with a colleague over a minor issue and had grabbed him by the collar. He apologised to his colleague and the Branch Service Manager concluded that this was a case of "handbags between two guys" and not a very serious incident and decided not to take formal disciplinary action, instead issuing an informal letter of concern which was sent to HR, based off-site. A decision was taken by HR that in line with the company policy of zero tolerance towards all forms of physical violence, there had to be an investigation and disciplinary. Following this Mr Spoor was dismissed.

The Tribunal found that the incident was very much towards the lower end of physical violence, which had been the view of Mr Spoor’s local management. It had not been reasonable for the decision not to take into account the views of his managers and this had cast doubt on it amounting to gross misconduct.

At myHRdept we take a pragmatic view of incidents and advise our clients to look closely at the whole situation before making a final decision in the context of the incident. Clearly in this case the degree of physical violence involved, the employee’s length of service, their previous disciplinary record and the views of those who witnessed the incident were key, and Arnold Clarks’ HR team failed to adequately consider these.

If you're thinking of outsourcing your HR why not contact myhrdept.co.uk. With full service Premium Plus packages from only £120 per month (and start-up packages from just £70 per month) and fixed price HR support options available for one-off issues, we believe we offer the best combination of quality and price available in the UK. Call us on 01628 820515 to discuss your requirements email us and we’ll call you back.

We'd love to stay in touch.

Subscribe for email updates

MyHR Department is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. If you consent to us contacting you with information on relevant products and services, please tick the box below:

I agree to receive other communications from MyHR Department.

You can unsubscribe from communications at any time. For more information, please review our Privacy Policy. By clicking submit below, you consent to allow MyHR Department to store and process the personal information submitted above to provide you the content requested.

Processing

Thank you for subscribing!