Employment Cases Update

Martin v Home Office UKEAT/0046/19/AT

Date published: 09/06/2020

Appeal against the ET’s dismissal of the Claimant’s claims of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. Appeal allowed in part.

The Claimant was summarily dismissed for carrying out unauthorised searches on the Respondent's database, in contravention of the Respondent's "zero tolerance policy" on misuse of its IT systems. The Claimant brought various claims in the ET, including of unfair dismissal and under section 15 Equality Act 2010 ("EqA 2010"), alleging that dismissal had been a disproportionate response and that she had been unfavourably treated because of something arising in consequence of her disability (namely, depression). The ET concluded that, although this case was at the extreme limit of what a reasonable employer would do, it was within the range, and so it was not an unfair dismissal; and that the Claimant's conduct in searching the database was not "in consequence of" her disability. The Claimant appealed on a number of grounds, including that (1) the ET misinterpreted the Respondent's policy, with the result that its decision on the reasonableness of the decision to dismiss was flawed, (2) the ET wrongly applied a perversity test to the question of whether the Respondent had taken reasonable steps to communicate the zero tolerance policy to the Claimant, and (3) the ET had wrongly concluded that there was no medical evidence to the effect that the Claimant's condition was not causative of her actions.

The EAT held that these grounds of appeal succeeded. Accordingly, the ET's decisions on the claims of unfair dismissal and section 15 EqA 2010 would be set aside and remitted for consideration by a fresh ET.

Read the full text of the judgment on BAILII or download the file by clicking the link below.