Postman loses Employment Tribunal claim against unfair dismissal

by Direct 2 Lawyers on January 16, 2013

  • SumoMe

A postman has lost his appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal against a finding of fair dismissal in his Employment Tribunal claim last year.

The facts in McAfferty v Royal Mail Group Ltd

Thomas McAfferty commenced employment with Royal Mail in 1991 and worked as a postman for the company for 19 years until his dismissal in 2010. He was authorised to use taxis to attend work if he had to work on his scheduled days off but it was discovered in October 2010 that he had been using taxis to attend work on 87 occasions between September 2009 and October 2010 – and had been charging his employer for doing so. This had racked up a bill of £2,422.50 during this period. His line manager at Royal Mail stated that he had only been authorised to use the company card to book taxis to attend work on 4 or 5 occasions and Mr McAfferty was subsequently investigated and subjected to a disciplinary for misconduct. It was discovered during the investigation process that he would leave his house in the morning, attempt to hail a van to take him to work, and then return home and book a taxi when he was unable to get a lift. He was therefore dismissed for gross misconduct in November 2010 and subsequently submitted an Employment Tribunal claim after obtaining employment law advice from solicitors. However, the Employment Tribunal rejected his unfair dismissal claim and he appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in McAfferty v Royal Mail Group Ltd

The Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed Mr McAfferty’s appeal, stating that the decision was not perverse and that the Employment Tribunal were entitled to come to the view that the decision to dismiss him was within the band of reasonable responses. Royal Mail had conducted a reasonable investigation and had reasonable grounds to believe that the act (and subsequent concealment) constituted grounds for dismissal.

Chris Hadrill, employment law solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “This is was a relatively unusual Employment Tribunal judgment in that there was a majority finding of fair dismissal with the Employment Judge dissenting. It’s normally the other way around if there’s a split in the decision of the Employment Tribunal, with the lay members finding unfair dismissal with the Employment Judge dissenting. However, the reasoning of the Employment Tribunal or the Employment Appeal Tribunal can’t be faulted”.

Direct 2 Lawyers offer employment law advice from solicitors based in London and around the country.

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