Fair or Unfair Dismissal? You decide. Bandara worked as a BBC journalist for 18 years, it was his job to publish stories. The day after Prince George was born, despite the management pressure Bandara, he decided not to cover the story of the royal birth, but to cover the 30th anniversary of Black July.
Despite the clean 18 years service prior to this, Mr Bandara was found to have been guilty of gross misconduct and as a result, was handed a final written warning.
Bandara was an employee of the BBC who was dismissed for misconduct which took place after a final written warning in relation to previous conduct.
The Employment Tribunal reached the decision that the final written warning was not appropriate. Despite this, according to the tribunal, it did not quality as an unfair dismissal. The Tribunal judged that if the BBC had given an ordinary written warning instead then the disciplinary result would have been much fairer.
The ruling was then taken to the Employment Appeal Tribunal with two questions:
- Was the Employment Tribunal right to have ruled that the final written warning was manifestly inappropriate
- Whether the Employment Tribunal had made an error of law in questioning whether the dismissal would have been fair in the hypothetical situation that only an ordinary warning had been given.
The EAT concluded that the Employment Tribunal had been correct in saying that the final written warning was manifestly inappropriate. It was agreed that the types of acts committed by the employee did not warrant a final warning according to the employer’s policies.
The EAT added ‘The employment Tribunal’s task is not to put forward a hypothesis of its own but to examine the reasoning of the employer.’
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