Employment Tribunal upholds unfair dismissal claim after finding disciplinary process ‘deeply flawed’ (Mr J Korpan v Magnox Ltd – ET/3306683/2018)

In the case of Mr J Korpan v Magnox Ltd: ET/3306683/2018 an Employment Tribunal held that an employee had been unfairly dismissed when their employer carried out a ‘deeply flawed’ disciplinary procedure.

The facts in Korpan v Magnox Ltd

Mr Korpan (“the Claimant”) commenced employment with Magnox Ltd (“the Respondent”) in January 2007 at its Harwell site.

The Respondent engaged Interserve Plc to provide cleaning services at the Harwell site. One of the female cleaning operatives assigned to clean the site was Ms LC. LC made a complaint of sexual harassment against the Claimant.

The Respondent undertook an investigation into the complaints of sexual harassment, and the Claimant was dismissed for gross misconduct after a disciplinary hearing. The Claimant appealed against the decision to dismiss him but the Respondent dismissed the appeal.

The Claimant subsequently pursued claims for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal upheld the Claimant’s claims for wrongful dismissal and unfair dismissal for the following reasons:

  • Eye witnesses that the Claimant had used to support his case had been dismissed on the basis that they had colluded, but no evidence had been provided of collusion
  • The Respondent had not taken any account of the delay in LC reporting the harassment (the first events allegedly took place in 2015 but no complaint was made until July 2017)
  • Some potential eye witnesses were not interviewed, whereas others were interviewed but not asked key questions
  • Only one allegation was referred to a disciplinary stage but the disciplinary officer considered six separate allegations
  • The Claimant was criticised for simply denying the allegations
  • The appeal process appeared to be an uncritical confirmation of the dismissing officer’s decision

The Employment Tribunal concluded that the dismissal process was “deeply flawed” and that the dismissal process was incomplete and unreasonable.

Our solicitors’ comments on Mr J Korpan v Magnox Ltd

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “This case is a useful reminder of the form of procedures that employers should (and should not) use in dismissing employees – the Tribunal found that the range and gravity of the deficiencies in dismissing the Claimant were sufficient to uphold the Claimant’s claims for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal.”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Mr J Korpan v Magnox Ltd: ET/3306683/2018 can be found here.