Management Notes

The EAT case of Mr Halliday and Laurent Perrier (UK) Ltd is interesting as the EAT comments on inferences to be drawn/weight to be given to management notes made during a disciplinary process.

Mr Halliday, a salesman for LP, was dismissed for failure to complete paperwork.  He claimed this was connected to his dyslexia and the decison was therefore perverse.  He referred, at hearing, to notes he had been sent anonymously, of a management meeting before the disciplinary hearing.  These (which may sound familiar to many employers out there) were:-

“In terms of SH there are three possible options (1) carry on with the disciplinary process which could lead to dismissal resulting in possible tribunal. (2) give SH one last chance …. this could be very time consuming. (3) A without prejudice conversation … offer of at least 3 months’ notice.  Negotiation likely.”

Mr H submitted that this note showed that dismissal was decided upon at that meeting and the subsequent disciplinary was therefore pre-determined.

The EAT disagreed and said this note was ‘An honest asessment of the management options open….We do not regard the minutes as an indication that the dismissal was decided upon on that day.’

That said, this finding is fact sensitive and involved analysis of the wording of the notes.  Stronger wording relating to the dismissal option may have resulted in a different finding at Tribunal.  A cautionary but useful lesson for employers!

Glass of fizzy anyone?  It is a Friday after all!