Dismissing an employee for gross misconduct after an inadequate investigation was victimisation

A recent EAT decision highlights that even an admission of gross misconduct from an employee is no guarantee that dismissal will be fair. The EAT agreed with an employment tribunal that an employee was unfairly dismissed and victimised when he was summarily dismissed, ostensibly for knowingly using non-kosher jam to make cakes at a kosher bakery.

However, the EAT held that the principal reason for the dismissal was that the employee was regarded as a “problem employee” as he had previously asked for adjustments to his duties due to sciatica and had brought a tribunal claim for disability discrimination. Had it not been for this, the employer would have carried out a more thorough investigation and may as a result have imposed a more lenient penalty.