British Leyland v Swift: CA 1981

The court upheld the dismissal by employers of a long-serving employee who had stolen and subsequently altered a road fund licence belonging to his employers and had persistently lied about the incident.
Held: When considering the decision of an employer’s disciplinary panel, it was not for the Tribunal to consider whether a lesser sanction would have been reasonable; but whether the dismissal itself was within the band of reasonable responses. The correct test is to ask whether it was reasonable to dismiss the employee? If no reasonable employer would have dismissed him, then the dismissal is unfair. If a reasonable employer might reasonably have dismissed him, then the dismissal is fair. There is a band of reasonableness within which one employer might reasonably dismiss the employee whilst another would quite reasonably keep him on. It depends entirely on the circumstances of the case whether dismissal is one of the penalties which a reasonable employer would impose. If it was reasonable to dismiss, the dismissal must be upheld as fair even though some other employers might not have dismissed.


Lord Denning MR


[1981] IRLR 91

Cited by:

CitedSantamera v Express Cargo Forwarding (T/A IEC Ltd) EAT 26-Nov-2002
The claimant appealed against a decision that she had not been unfairly dismissed. She had been dismissed after complaints by a colleague, but had not been given the opportunity to examine him during the process.
Held: An employer was not duty . .
CitedBournemouth University Higher Education Corp v Buckland EAT 8-May-2009
EAT UNFAIR DISMISSAL: Constructive dismissal
Whether fundamental breach of implied term of trust and confidence cured, so that the Claimant’s resignation did not amount to constructive dismissal.
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 02 May 2022; Ref: scu.341170