Kuzel v Roche Products Ltd: CA 17 Apr 2008

The claimant had argued that she had been unfairly dismissed since her dismissal was founded in her making a protected disclosure. The ET had not accepted either her explanation or that of the employer.
Held: The employee’s appeal failed, and the employer’s succeeded. It was wrong to draw parallels with prohibited grounds reasons and unfair dismissal claims.
A burden lay on an employee claiming unfair dismissal under the section to produce some evidence that the reason for the dismissal was that she had made a protected disclosure but that, once she had discharged that evidential burden, the legal burden lay on the employer to establish the contrary: ‘when an employee positively asserts that there was a different and inadmissible reason for his dismissal, he must produce some evidence supporting the positive case, such as making protected disclosures. This does not mean, however, that, in order to succeed in an unfair dismissal claim, the employee has to discharge the burden of proving that the dismissal was for that different reason. It is sufficient for the employee to challenge the evidence produced by the employer to show the reason advanced by him for the dismissal and to produce some evidence of a different reason.
Having heard the evidence of both sides relating to the reason for dismissal it will then be for the ET to consider the evidence as a whole and to make findings of primary fact on the basis of direct evidence or by reasonable inferences from primary facts established by the evidence or not contested in the evidence.
The ET must then decide what was the reason or principal reason for the dismissal of the claimant on the basis that it was for the employer to show what the reason was.
If the employer does not show to the satisfaction of the ET that the reason was what he asserted it was, it is open to the ET to find that the reason was what the employee asserted it was. But it is not correct to say, either as a matter of law or logic, that the ET must find that, if the reason was not that asserted by the employer, then it must have been for the reason asserted by the employee. That may often be the outcome in practice, but it is not necessarily so.’ The ET had applied the law correctly. The employer had done enough successfully to contest the assertion of a prohibited reason.
Mummery LJ said: ‘Unfair dismissal and discrimination on specific prohibited grounds are, however, different causes of action. The statutory structure of the unfair dismissal legislation is so different from that of the discrimination legislation that an attempt at cross fertilisation or legal transplants runs the risk of complicating rather than clarifying the legal concepts.’


Mummery LJ, Arden LJ, Longmore LJ


[2008] EWCA Civ 380, [2008] ICR 799, [2008] IRLR 530




Employment Rights Act 1996 103A


England and Wales


Appeal fromDr Kuzel v Roche Products Ltd EAT 2-Mar-2007
EAT Unfair Dismissal – Automatically unfair reasons
Public Interest Disclosure
Section 103A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 inadmissible reason for dismissal – burden of proof – whether Protected . .
CitedSmith v Hayle Town Council CA 1978
In a case on the issue of sufficiency of qualifying service for bringing an ordinary case of unfair dismissal, the court considered the allocation of the burden of proof in employment cases.
Held: The burden is upon he who is seeking to rely . .
CitedMaund v Penwith District Council CA 1984
The employee alleged that he had been dismissed for trade Union activities. The Industrial Tribunal held that he had the burden of proving that. The EAT disagreed.
Held: The appeal against the decision of the EAT failed.
Griffiths LJ . .

Cited by:

CitedWhitelock and Storr and Others v Khan EAT 26-Oct-2010
EAT UNFAIR DISMISSAL – Reason for dismissal including substantial other reason
Tribunal failed to apply guidance in Kuzel v Roche Products Ltd [2008] IRLR 530 in failing to consider employer’s reason . .
CitedEl-Megrisi v Azad University (Ir) In Oxford EAT 5-May-2009
Appellant raised concerns with employer about immigration status of staff and students, and other alleged irregularities – Dismissed shortly afterwards – . .
CitedFecitt and Others v NHS Manchester EAT 23-Nov-2010
S.47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996 provides that ‘A worker has the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or any deliberate . .
CitedVTB Capital Plc v Nutritek International Corp and Others SC 6-Feb-2013
The claimant bank said that it had been induced to create very substantial lending facilities by fraudulent misrepresentation by the defendants. They now appealed against findings that England was not clearly or distinctly the appropriate forum for . .
CitedRoss v Eddie Stobart Ltd (Unfair Dismissal : Automatically Unfair Reasons) EAT 8-Aug-2013
EAT UNFAIR DISMISSAL – Automatically unfair reasons
Burden of proving the ‘whistleblowing’ reason for dismissal under s.103A Employment Rights Act 1996 lies on the employee who has insufficient continuous . .
CitedNHS Manchester v Fecitt and Others CA 25-Oct-2011
The appellant challenged reversal by the EAT of a finding that it had not unlawfully victimised the respondents for the making of a protected disclosure. The claimant had reported a co-worker exaggerating his qualifications. After repeated . .
CitedB v John Reid and Sons (Strucsteel) Ltd EAT 21-May-2015
EAT Unfair Dismissal: Automatically Unfair Reasons – Automatic Unfair Dismissal – Section 100(1)(e) Employment Rights Act 1996 – Applying the two-stage approach laid down by the EAT in Oudahar v Esporta Group Ltd . .
CitedRoyal Mail Group Ltd v Jhuti SC 27-Nov-2019
The employee was a whistleblower, but her manager in response bullied her and dismissed her on the grounds of alleged poor performance. J suffered stress and was away from work and unable to defend herself. The decision maker, acting honestly . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 09 September 2022; Ref: scu.266958