Objectice Reasonable Employer

In Jabil Circuit Limited v Richard Flemming, the EAT have upheld the well known principle that a tribunal is not to substitute its decision for that of the employer where the employer’s decision was objectively reasonable (i.e. where the employer’s decision fell within the range of reasonable responses). Just because another employer (or the Tribunal!) might have reached a different conclusion, does not make a dismissal unfair.

Flemming was given £15.00 per head for a work’s night out. It was expected that 10 employees would attend and he was given £150.00. Only 2 did in fact attend, yet Mr Flemming spent £144.00 and put in an expenses claim for this amount (including some expenses for a taxi that was used on a different occasion!) and forgot to mention at the time that only two employees had attended the night out. The Tribunal made findings of fact to this effect, but went on to find the dismissal was unfair and criticised the employer’s handling of the disciplinary appeal.

Given the findings of fact the Tribunal made, the EAT considered that the Tribunal had substituted its view for that of the employer. The EAT also found this case to be one of the rare cases where a Tribunal’s decision can be overturned due to perversity.