Unfair Dismissal claim successful because of failure to provide notice of investigation
An employee on furlough was unfairly dismissed because he was not given warning that he was attending an “investigation meeting”. He was alleged to have used his company vehicle for private use having used his van to make a 220-mile round trip to pick up some golf clubs he had been offered for free.
The employee fuelled the vehicle with the company fuel card which came to the attention of the company secretary when checking the fuel receipts. As a result, his manager called him in to discuss the incident.
An employment tribunal heard that the employee was not told the meeting was an “investigation meeting” into a potential disciplinary matter and stated that he felt “ambushed” when talk turned to his trip.
He was dismissed for gross misconduct, and his subsequent appeal was turned down.
The tribunal panel concluded that on the “balance of probabilities” the employee had knowingly used the company card to pay for fuel on his trip. Yet they found that his dismissal was unfair because he was not given warning about the investigation meeting. However the employee was not awarded any compensation by the tribunal because it was “inevitable that he would have been fairly dismissed on the same date as his actual dismissal had a fair procedure been followed”.
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