There is a very interesting case reported on the EAT website dealing with the vexed question of failing to follow a reasonable instruction.

Management had decided unilaterally to impose change on the employee’s job and had then disciplined him for failing to abide by the change and the sanction they imposed, transfer, was not within the disciplinary procedure.

The upshot was that Croydon Tribunal found the dismissal unfair and no contribution. So far, so straightforward.

The EAT made a number of interesting points:

Firstly a manager who imposes a disciplinary sanction and does not follow the disciplinary procedure is committing an act of bullying. Bullying is a term bandied around often in the workplace but is often difficult to define. A manager misusing the disciplinary procedure is given as an  example of bullying.

Secondly the EAT look at the provenance of the word “intransigent” and find that it came from a group in the Spanish parliament in the 19th Century who refused to compromise and were called Los Intransigentes.” They also find that intansigence is not a synonym for “bloody minded” and accordingly the Claimant did not contribute to his dismissal.