West Coast Trains Ltd v Murphy: EAT 4 Apr 2006

EAT The claimant, a service manager employed on the respondents’ trains, was dismissed on conduct grounds for having sworn at and been threatening towards a customer. She claimed she had been unfairly dismissed and the tribunal upheld her complaint. They found the respondents’ investigation to have been inadequate in respect that although they had a written complaint by the customer and had interviewed her by telephone, they had not conducted a face to face interview and should not have accepted the customer’s word.
Held: the tribunal had erred in relying on their own assessment of what had happened between the customer and the claimant, in relying on the Linfood guidelines in a case which did not involve an informant, in failing to apply the ‘range of reasonable responses’ test on the stage of investigation, and in making a qualitative assessment thereby substituting their own subjective views. The case was remitted to a freshly constituted tribunal for a rehearing.
The Honourable Lady Smith
[2006] UKEAT 0064 – 05 – 0404, UKEATS/0064/05
Bailii, EATn
CitedLinfood Cash and Carry v Thomson EAT 1989
One employee had informed his employer that a fellow employee had stolen two books of credit notes. He refused to allow his identity to be disclosed for fear of reprisals. The Tribunal had held that the dismissal was unfair because although the . .
CitedJ Sainsbury Ltd v Hitt; Orse Sainsburys Supermarkets Limited v Hitt CA 18-Oct-2002
Reasobaleness of Investigation Judged Objectively
The employer appealed against a decision that it had unfairly dismissed the respondent. The majority of the Employment Tribunal had decided that the employers had not carried out a reasonable investigation into the employee’s alleged misconduct . .

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Updated: 29 January 2021; Ref: scu.241492