Employment Cases Update

K v L (Unfair Dismissal) UKEATS/0014/18/JW

Date published: 22/09/2020

Appeal against the ET’s rejection of the Claimant’s claim of unfair dismissal. Appeal allowed in part.

The Claimant, an experienced teacher with an unblemished record, was suspended while the police investigated potential indecent images of children on a computer found at his home. Following the police investigation, he was advised by the Procurator Fiscal that no further action would be taken at that time. The Respondent considered that there was an irretrievable breakdown of trust and confidence between the Claimant and the Council and an unacceptable level of risk to the Council of serious reputational damage, and the Claimant was dismissed. His claim of unfair dismissal was rejected by the ET. The Claimant appealed on various grounds, including that (1) he was not given notice that he was at risk of being dismissed on the grounds of reputational damage, and (2) the employer had to be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that he had committed the offence, and he could not be dismissed simply on the basis that he might have committed the offence.

The EAT held that these two grounds of appeal succeeded, but the other grounds failed. Accordingly, a finding of unfair dismissal would be substituted and the case would be remitted to the same ET for further procedure in connection with remedies.

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