Disciplinary Procedures

Employment

In the case of Crawford and another v Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust [2012], The Court of Appeal ruled that there were flaws in a disciplinary process which led to the unfair dismissal of two nurses.

The nurses had been accused of tying a patient to a chair, and the chair to a table, with bed sheets.  They were suspended, during which time a police investigation took place.  The police concluded there was no action to be taken.  The Trust then undertook their own investigation, the result being that the nurses were to be dismissed for gross misconduct.  The employees appealed internally and the original decision was upheld.  They then took their appeal to an employment tribunal which ruled in their favour.  The tribunal found five key errors in the way the disciplinary procedure had been undertaken.  The nurses had therefore been unfairly dismissed.

Disciplinary proceedings need to be handled carefully.  The employer must be thorough and fair in it’s investigations and the information and evidence of the alleged misconduct must be clear.  Matters should not be referred to the police without a genuine belief that, if the allegations are true, that they constitute a criminal act.

If you are an employer or employee and would like advice on employment and disciplinary procedures please contact us.

Jacqueline Penfold
Jacqueline Penfold
Tina Ripley
Tina Ripley