ET Finds Employer Did Not Follow Fair Process While Dismissing Employee (Mr R Parry v EDF Trading Ltd)

In the case of Mr R Parry v EDF Trading Ltd, Mr R Parry was unfairly dismissed due to the flawed decision followed by his employer leading to their decision to dismiss.

The Facts in Mr R Parry v EDF Trading Ltd

Mr R Parry (“the Claimant”) commenced work with EDF Trading Ltd (“the Respondent”) within its Treasury Department. He became a Junior Trader in 2018 and then was promoted to the role of Trader. He was responsible for pricing and managing structured long-term power and gas deals. The Claimant also marked the long-term power and gas curves, along the Head of Trading.

The Claimant argues that:

  • he suffered a detriment due to making a number of disclosures regarding reckless and risky procedures of two of the Traders that should have qualified him for protection under section 43B of the Employment Rights Act (“ERA”);
  • his dismissal was based on a flawed procedure and detriment due to protected disclosures.

On 10 January 2022, the Claimant was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct for the offence of unauthorised disclosure of confidential business matters after working for the Respondent for 7 years. The reason for his dismissal was for disclosing information, to external brokers, about losses sustained by the Respondent amounting to over £400m.

Mr R Parry’s Appeal is Rejected

The Claimant appealed against the decision to dismiss him on 28 January 2022. Following that, on 7 March 2022, his appeal hearing took place. The Claimant argued he had not referred to specific figures when discussing the Respondent’s losses only in general terms. Hence, he was subjected to a detriment for making protected disclosures.

On 1 June 2022, the Respondent wrote to the Claimant dismissing his appeal holding that, based on witness evidence, the Claimant had told external people at the house party that the Respondent had made £420m in losses. This matter of protected disclosures was not linked to the dismissal.

On 16 June 2022, the Claimant presented his claim to the Employment Tribunal for ordinary unfair dismissal under section 98(4) of the ERA, automatic unfair dismissal for raising protected disclosures under section 103A of the ERA, and detriment for raising protected disclosures under section 47B of the ERA.

The Decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal found that the Respondent had not followed a fair process leading up to the Claimant’s dismissal. Thus, the Claimant’s claim of ordinary unfair dismissal pursuant to s98(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 is upheld.

The Respondent had not made the Claimant fully aware of the allegations to prepare a defence or follow a fair process. Furthermore, the charges that he disclosed confidential information were rejected as the information regarding the Respondent’s losses had already been leaked to the market. This information was hardly confidential and not worthy of dismissal for gross misconduct. Moreover, the appeal process was also flawed.

Regarding the Claimant’s separate claims for automatic unfair dismissal, these were not upheld. The claims that his dismissal was linked to his public interest disclosures and detriment were not upheld as no evidence could be found that this had influenced the Respondent’s decision to dismiss him.

Our Lawyers View

Steve Norton, lawyer at Redmans, says, “This is an interesting case as much of the analysis is based on public interest disclosures (whistleblowing) and detriments, in which a number were upheld. But in the end, these were not considered the reason for the Claimant’s dismissal, which was based purely on procedural failures“.

If you have been unfairly dismissed, take a look at our guide on unfair dismissals, or contact us today.

We can discuss the facts of your case and advise on how best to proceed. With years of experience, Redmans Solicitors are well-equipped to help you.