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August 23rd, 2017
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Dismissal Dates called into Question

Entered by: Heidi Rush @ 18:26:17 on 25/08/09

As an employer, if I was to ask you what the date of an employee's termination was following a gross misconduct dismissal, many of you may think that the answer to the question is easy and clear cut. However, a recent outcome from the Court of Appeal may challenge your thinking. 

The decision, made by the Court of Appeal, has been made following a review of the case Gisda Cyf v Barratt. To outline the case, the employee was dismissed without notice for gross misconduct. The decision was communicated to her by a recorded delivery letter. Whilst she was expecting this letter, she was away at the time of its delivery and it was accepted on her behalf by her partner's son. On her return home she did not ask about the letter until the morning after she got back, some four days after its delivery. 

On considering this case, the Court of Appeal has found that the date of termination should be the date she read the letter and this is the date that all time limits should be calculated from. 

So what does this mean to you as an employer? Firstly, if you make any dismissals from employment, the timeframe for the appeal period will need to be given a degree of flexibility and if you haven't heard from the employee by the end of the appeal period it may be worth confirming, in writing, that the appeal period has expired and the internal company process has concluded. 
If the disciplinary meeting has taken place in the absence of the employee, due to unexplained non attendance, then the dismissal date may be challenged if good reason can be found
Finally, it is worth noting that there may now be some discretion to extend the time period for Employment Tribunal Applications if the employee can evidence that there was a delay in reading the dismissal notification.

If you need some advice on employee dismissals please call our human resources consultants and find our how we can help you

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