Gross Misconduct

 

In case you have been living under a rock divisive Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended by the BBC.

Whilst journalists have been investigating what a fracas actually is, (and how to pronounce it) the BBC has been trying to get to bottom of the incident in which Clarkson reportedly punched a producer over not being able to order steak after filming.

In normal circumstances the employer would suspend the employee whilst an investigation was carried out, a disciplinary meeting would be held and if they allegations were found to be true the employee would be dismissed for gross misconduct.

Clarkson and his fellow Top Gear presenters bring high revenues into the BBC and over 800 000 people, including Prime Minister David Cameron have urged the BBC to reinstate Clarkson, who is viewed by many as a national treasure.

We recently did a Case of the Week  on mitigation and the BBC has every right to consider mitigating circumstances such as the above when considering what disciplinary action to take. However, Clarkson also has a long history of disciplinary problems  including being put on a final warning last year for using racist language whilst on set.

As an employer the BBC also has a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for all employees, the producer involved in the fracas could bring legal claim for a breach of contract and or breach of a duty of care.

Furthermore it would set a precedent for future incidents making it difficult and unfair to treat other employees differently.