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Say what you mean

24 September 2010

What’s the difference between the allegations ‘loss of £3,000′ and ‘theft of £3,000’? A finding of unfair dismissal says the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Celebi v Compass.

Mrs Celebi’s employers invited her to a disciplinary hearing regarding the allegation ‘loss of £3,000’. The evidence put to the tribunal was that they actually believed she had stolen the money. The fact that Mrs Celebi appeared to accept at the time that she knew she was being accused of theft could not be relied upon by her employers and it was at that point that the allegations should have been clarified. The EAT held that ‘it is a logical conclusion of a failure to put the allegation of theft to the claimant that the dismissal is unfair.’
The lesson to be learnt from this case is to say what you mean and not to try and save an employee’s feelings by attempting to soften an allegation.

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