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Suspending a disciplinary hearing: Jinadu v Docklands Buses
Article date: 17/07/2015
When faced with disciplinary action, it is common for employees to raise a grievance which is in some way connected with the disciplinary process. In this situation, it can be difficult to decide whether to suspend the disciplinary process and deal with the grievance (and subsequent appeal) or whether to run the two processes concurrently.
In this case, Ms Jinadu, a bus driver, was subjected to disciplinary proceedings due to poor driving. She made certain allegations against the managers involved. Docklands continued with the disciplinary process and dismissed her. An employment tribunal decided that the dismissal was fair. Ms Jinadu appealed to the Employment Appeals Tribunal on the basis that the disciplinary should have been suspended while the allegations were dealt with. This was rejected, with the judge finding that there is no general obligation on an employer to suspend the disciplinary process where allegations are made.
This case will be of some comfort to employers who wish to exit an employee from their business quickly. However, employers should be aware that each case will be judged on its own facts and there could still be circumstances where it is fair to suspend the disciplinary process to deal with a grievance. However, this is not the default position and as this case demonstrates, there will also be cases where it is perfectly fair to continue a disciplinary process even though the employee has raised a grievance.
For more information on disciplinary and grievance procedures, contact Gary Dalton, Solicitor in the Employment Team.