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Can post-termination events influence a tribunal's decision on an Unfair Dismissal?

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Can post-termination events influence a tribunals decision on an Unfair Dismissal?

Employment Solicitor Chris Dobbs looks at whether events that take place after the termination of contract can influence a tribunal’s decision when it comes to unfair dismissal.

Citizens Advice Merton and Lambeth Ltd v Mefful

This is the case’s fourth appearance in the EAT on legal matters decided at various original Tribunals.

The Claimant was made redundant in August 2012 and raised various claims including for disability discrimination.

What did the tribunal find?

In this particular instance, the Tribunal had held that decision to dismiss Mr Mefful was impacted by his disability and, in reaching that conclusion, based their decision on events which took place in April 2012 and onwards.

The Respondent argued that some of these post-dated the decision to dismiss which had been taken in March.

What did the EAT say?

The EAT agreed and, logically, concluded that the events which take place after the decision to dismiss cannot have influenced the decision and that, therefore, the decision could not be said to be connected to the Claimant’s disability.

However, the Claimant had also alleged an earlier ‘protected act’ for the purposes of a victimisation claim.

Victimisation claims rely on the protected act being a significant factor in influencing the  way in which an individual is treated and so that could have played a part in the decision-making process.

A specialist Employment Solicitor’s View

Chris Dobbs says: “It seems obvious to say that issues which arise after an event have taken place are unlikely to have affected that event but it’s an unusually common line of argument.

What this does show is the importance of having a clear timeline, in case you ever need to question or clarify the chain of events in a case.

Thought not directly relevant to this case it’s also worth remembering that any decision-maker should have access to all pertinent facts, especially where their decision might lead to termination.”

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