0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

Evidence of guilt not always required for fair dismissal

21 July 2021

In L v K a teacher was arrested following the discovery of indecent images of children on his home PC. His son, who also had access to the computer, was also arrested but charges against both of them were ultimately dropped. Following an investigation, the teacher was dismissed by the school. The fact that he may have downloaded the images gave rise to a safeguarding concern as well as a risk to the school’s reputation and a breakdown in relationships.

The teacher brought a claim for unfair dismissal, but this was rejected by the Employment Tribunal (ET). A subsequent appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that that the dismissal was unfair because the grounds for dismissal (particularly the concerns regarding reputational risk) had not been put to the teacher clearly. However, a recent Court of Session hearing has now concluded that evidence of guilt may not always be required when establishing a fair reason for dismissal. Nor does the employer need to expressly refer to reputational risk during the disciplinary process - particularly if the alleged wrongdoing is such that there is a clear and genuine risk to the employer’s reputation.

This case offers particularly helpful guidance for employers when being faced with employees who are suspected of criminal wrongdoing, albeit care should always be given to ensure allegations are clearly defined and considered on their own merits.

Related opinions

Employment Appeal Tribunal rules no entitlement to pay for zero-hour worker during a period of suspension

In a recent case the Employment Appeal Tribunal determined that, as a zero-hour worker, the Claimant was not entitled to be paid whilst he was suspended pending an investigation into an allegation of misconduct.

View blog

Flexible working and leave for carers

The Government has launched a consultation today on potential changes to the statutory flexible working regime.

View blog

Importance of considering flexible working applications

An employment tribunal has awarded an employee almost £185,000 for indirect discrimination following a failure to adequately consider the employee’s flexible working request.

View blog

Potential care home vaccination challenge

Time is rapidly running out for those who will fall within the mandatory vaccination requirements applying to care homes from 11 November 2021 and who remain unvaccinated from Covid-19.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up