Case 8: The facts
Solicitor Ms Dalley was dismissed on two counts of misconduct: firstly, she had failed to return to work or report in after her holiday; and secondly, she had failed to issue court proceedings in time, which amounted to professional negligence. She claimed that her dismissal was unfair because another solicitor had also failed to meet court deadlines but had not been dismissed.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that Dalley had not been unfairly dismissed. The tribunal should always focus on whether dismissal was reasonable in the particular circumstances, it said, although consistency is one factor to be taken into account.
The EAT found that there were different circumstances in the case of the solicitor who had not been dismissed: she had co-founded a new department which was understaffed, had been inundated with claims having very short time limits, and had not been faced with other disciplinary charges. This was enough to justify the difference in treatment.
Levenes Solicitors v Dalley EAT/0330/06