Manager dismissed

It’s the last Friday of the month which means it’s time for your monthly round up of all things employment law. Last week’s case law update looked at restrictive covenants, Early Conciliation and on-call/sleep-in working and all of the cases we have covered this month can be found here.

Last month’s newsletter included features on the England Ladies Football Team, gender pay reporting and tribunal fees. Today we have features on race pay gap reporting, the gig economy and holiday pay but we will begin with a follow-up from one of last month’s features, the England ladies football team.

Last month we had a look at the race scandal that had tarred a very successful summer for the Three Lionesses. Well, as proof history repeats itself, to overshadow a 6-0 victory over Russia, the Football Association (FA) have belatedly published a further scandal that implies the manager was a safeguarding risk to players.

England manager, Mark Sampson, had seemed to escape any sanctions for alleged racist comments having been cleared by two independent investigations. However, it turned out that Sampson had allegedly engaged in inappropriate relationships with players prior to becoming England manager.

It appears that the FA may have sat on this knowledge for nearly 4 years before deciding to dismiss him. Whilst there clearly is plenty of mud – some of which has stuck – surrounding Sampson, this decision seems to pose greater risk to his employer.

By dismissing an employee for an alleged offence that they may have turned a blind eye to for nearly four years the FA could have left themselves liable for an unfair dismissal claim. Furthermore, for a very high profile organisation such as the FA, this sort of shambles reflects very badly on their reputation.

Given there were fresh allegations of inappropriate racial comments that have gone un-investigated, it could well have transpired that there would be a much fairer way to dismiss had the investigations been completed. Then again, maybe this whole charade is to avoid headlines about allegedly racist remarks and behaviour!