Reasons for dismissal
Case 5: The facts
Having received a number of formal disciplinary warnings throughout her employment, office assistant Miss Yerbury was eventually dismissed over issues relating to her work performance.
A tribunal found that her dismissal was unfair because it was on grounds of capability; since her earlier warnings had been on grounds of conduct, it said, the employer should have disregarded them when disciplining Yerbury for her performance.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) said that conduct and capability are closely linked; what matters are the facts themselves and not the label given to them. There can be more than one reason for dismissal - in this case both Yerbury's conduct and her performance had been contributory factors, and the tribunal had been entitled to take the earlier warnings into account.
The case was sent to a different tribunal for re-hearing.
Royal Veterinary College v Yerbury UKEAT/0202/05
Case 6: The facts
Christine Rainthorpe was dismissed after 22 years because her husband had got a job with a competitor. Her employer said that she might unintentionally pass on trade secrets.
The EAT held that the fear of passing on commercially sensitive information can be a fair reason for dismissal, but said that in this case the employer's fear was unreasonable. There had been no reason to doubt Rainthorpe's loyalty, and her dismissal was therefore unfair.
Chandlers (Farm Equipment) Ltd v Rainthorpe UKEAT/0753/04