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Contributory Conduct

Article from Daniel Barnett’s Employment Law Bulletin – published 30 April 2013

In Ladrick Lemonious v Church Commissioners, the EAT reviewed the correct approach to reducing awards for unfair dismissal for contributory conduct.

The Claimant had over 36 years’ service when he was dismissed from his post as a technical support worker for sending emails in the names of other employees, one of which wrongly implied that a colleague had committed a criminal offence. At tribunal, the dismissal was found to be procedurally unfair. The tribunal held that because of the Claimant’s conduct, it would not be just and equitable to award him either a basic or a compensatory award.

At the EAT the Claimant raised a number of grounds of appeal. The EAT dismissed the appeal and set out the following principles:

  • a reduction of 100% for contributory conduct can be justified even if there were procedural failings by the employer, provided those procedural failings did not cause or contribute to the dismissal.
  • a tribunal may reduce the basic award to nil by virtue of the Claimant’s conduct (and the accepted approach set out in Devis v Atkins remains good law).

Article written by Sarah Fitzpatrick, Associate Solicitor.

For further information or advice please contact Sarah at sarah.fitzpatrick@collingwoodlegal.com or by telephone on 0191 282 2888.

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