The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that an entrepreneurial nurse who was sacked from the recruitment agency she founded after being accused of involvement in ‘massaging’ the books was fairly dismissed on the basis of a reasonable belief that she had flouted her duties as a director.
The nurse had established the apparently flourishing agency, in which she held a senior position and a substantial number of shares. However, she was accused of playing a part in ‘flattering’ the company’s accounts so as to inflate its value by £9.9 million. She was ultimately dismissed on grounds of gross misconduct.
In pursuing complaints of unfair dismissal, sex discrimination and victimisation before the Employment Tribunal (ET), she argued that she had been persecuted for making protected disclosures and that the process leading up to her dismissal was a sham. She submitted that her expulsion from the business had been ‘pre-ordained’.
Following a 15-day hearing, her case was rejected in its entirety by the ET in an 84-page decision. The ET found that her dismissal had not been influenced by her sex or by any protected acts or disclosures. The procedure followed had been fair and her dismissal fell within the range of reasonable responses to what her bosses genuinely believed was her gross misconduct.
In dismissing her appeal, the EAT found that she had been given a fair opportunity to respond to accusations of bad faith. His Honour Judge Peter Clark ruled, “Far from arriving at legally perverse conclusions, we are satisfied that the ET has demonstrated clear and logical reasons for its wholly permissible findings.”