A dental nurse brought a claim for constructive unfair dismissal against her employer after being given a final written warning for eating an apple at her desk.
At the disciplinary hearing, the employer raised concerns about the employee’s recent conduct and incidents that had come to their attention. Her employer also accused her of ignoring other practices and procedures within the workplace. The employee had not been notified of these allegations prior to her disciplinary hearing.
The employee was given a final written warning by her employers and subsequently she resigned feeling that the sanction imposed was too harsh. This resulted in the employee bringing a claim for constructive unfair dismissal.
The Employment Tribunal found that the employee had been constructively unfairly dismissed, and the employee won her claim.
This case is a reminder to all employers about the need for any disciplinary sanction to be appropriate in the circumstances; to reflect the severity of the disciplinary offence; and not impose too harsh a penalty on the employee. Failure to do so may cause the employee to resign as a result of the sanction being a fundamental breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence, and bring a constructive unfair dismissal claim to the Employment Tribunal.