In Ezsias v Glamorgan NHS Trust the EAT grapples with the issue of whether a relationship breakdown involving a senior Consultant should be dealt with by way of the disciplinary procedure.
Given that the disciplinary procedure is to deal with behaviour and conduct over which an individual has control, the question posed is almost philosophical.
In this case the consultant’s character was such that he was very difficult to work with. The employer concluded that the disciplinary procedure was not appropriate. One’s character is difficult to change, the saying about leopards and spots springs to mind. I cannot fault the logic of the EAT finding that the disciplinary procedure was not appropriate. After all some attitudinal and character traits are inherent and immutable. Disciplining someone because of their nature is futile. The appropriate way of dealing with the issue is by way of SOSR.
Quite where that leaves the employee with Aspergers or other conditions within the autistic spectrum is perhaps an open question that needs judicially answering at some stage. Mr Ezsias was described by the EAT as “obssessive,” “blinkered” and “seeing things in black and white” all of which are traits that may resonate with those on the autistic spectrum.