We provide Legal & HR advice to protect and support your business.

2 minutes reading time (418 words)

Disciplinary Procedures - Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust v Corbin

Disciplinary-Procedures

The importance of approaching disciplinary matters with an open mind is emphasised in the case of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust v Corbin.

Ms Corbin was a radiographer with more than ten years’ service. However, she had received a warning under the disciplinary procedure, and a second offence had led to that warning being extended. In the course of defending herself against the second allegation she put together a ‘defence pack’, which she compiled at home. In doing so, she used information obtained from patient records – which should not have left the hospital - and which she had only partially redacted to conceal the identity of patients. That led to a further disciplinary process, at the end of which she was dismissed.

In the subsequent unfair dismissal claim, the employer argued that while the breach of patient confidentiality had not been malicious, ‘a breach was a breach’ and amounted to gross misconduct.

The tribunal found that the dismissal was unfair. The investigation into Ms Corbin’s conduct had highlighted an ambiguity in the application of the rules on patient confidentiality to the position of an employee facing a disciplinary hearing. The tribunal found it ‘incomprehensible’ that the manager conducting the hearing had ignored that fact. Nor had the manager recognised that the rules envisaged that there could be degrees of seriousness in their breach. He had simply asked whether there had been any breach of confidentiality and assumed that if there was, then that would inevitably be gross misconduct warranting dismissal. To adopt such a closed mindset – disregarding the possibility of a lesser sanction - was unfair.

The EAT upheld that finding. However, the EAT also allowed an appeal against the tribunal’s finding of wrongful dismissal. Wrongful dismissal is a contractual claim for notice pay and the issue is not whether the employer has acted reasonably, but whether the employee was guilty of gross misconduct entitling the employer to dismiss without notice. The EAT held that the tribunal had not made sufficient findings on this point. The fact that the employer had behaved unreasonably in assuming that dismissal was the only possible response to the employee’s conduct did not mean that she was not guilty of gross misconduct. The EAT also allowed an appeal to the effect that the tribunal had not given proper consideration to whether the employee’s compensation should be reduced to reflect the extent to which her conduct contributed to her dismissal. The matter was sent back to the same tribunal to reconsider these matters.

Employment Status- ecent case law
Disability Related Harassment - Peninsula Business...

Make an enquiry

Contact Kalra Legal Group

Please let us know your name.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your email address.
Please write a subject for your message.
Invalid Input
Please let us know your message.
CAPTCHA
CAPTCHA
Refresh Invalid Input

Call us 0808 1685860

 

What our clients say

“I am extremely grateful for the support I received from Anita during a very difficult time with a previous employer. It felt I was in a battle, but someone else was fighting that battle for me. Anita had my best interest at heart all the way, I really cannot praise her enough.”

R.B – Director at Software company

“I cannot thank you enough for all your efforts over the last 6 months working with our company to ensure we have taken all the necessary steps to protect our business and treat all our female staff equally.”

A.B - Managing Director of a Software Company

Contact us

KLG
Head Office
Suite 4, Ground Floor
Braywick House West, Windsor Road,
Maidenhead
Berkshire
SL6 1DN 

KLG
4th Floor
86-90 Paul Street
London
EC2A 4NE

Tel: 08081685860
Email: info@klglaw.co.uk

This website uses cookies to improve functionality and performance. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.