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Dismissal was at ‘extreme end of reasonable’ but not unfair

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a teacher's dismissal was at the extreme end of reasonable but was not unfair.

The teacher had been dismissed following a disciplinary hearing. Her internal appeal was dismissed after the panel found that she had repeatedly failed to follow reasonable management requests to attend meetings; had communicated in an unreasonable and intimidating way; and that her behaviour had caused a breakdown in her working relationships.

The panel's decision stated that the allegations amounted to gross misconduct.

The teacher appealed, and the Employment Tribunal found in her favour. It found that the individual allegations did not amount to gross misconduct and it was wrong to "gross up" individual allegations of misconduct to make them constitute gross misconduct.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal overturned that decision. It found that the tribunal had erred in its approach because rather than asking whether the individual acts of misconduct amounted to gross misconduct, it should have asked whether the conduct in its totality amounted to a sufficient reason for dismissal under the Employment Rights Act.

The case went to the Court of Appeal, which found in favour of the school.

It agreed with the first tribunal that the decision to dismiss the teacher was within the range of reasonable responses, albeit at the extreme end of that range.

For further advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or for employment law advice more generally, please contact JPP Law on 020 3468 3064 or email info@jpplaw.co.uk

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