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Stephanie Cummings secures a 100% reduction on the basis of contributory conduct and Polkey principles. Stephanie appeared before Employment Judge Porter in the Manchester ET on behalf of a Respondent whose dismissal of its employee was found to be procedurally unfair. The Judge agreed that the award ought to be reduced to nil taking into account the principles in Polkey and the contributory conduct of the Claimant.

Stephanie appeared before Employment Judge Porter in the Manchester ET on behalf of a Respondent who operated a call centre. The Claimant had been dismissed for gross misconduct when it was discovered that he was spending long periods of time in ‘wrap’ codes which meant he was not available to take phone calls from members of the public. When challenged, the Claimant admitted he would spend the time looking at sports sites on the internet. The Claimant claimed his dismissal was unfair because he said that management were aware that he spent time looking at sports sites and further, it was common practice to do so and no-one else had been disciplined for such conduct.

The Judge concluded that it was reasonable for the Respondent to regard the conduct as gross misconduct as it amounted to theft of company time. The Judge rejected the Claimant’s “vague” assertions that others undertook the same behaviour and said that the assertion that Claimant’s managers were aware of the many hours he spent avoiding work was not credible.

However, the Judge found the dismissal to be procedurally unfair due to the Respondent failing to give the Claimant an appeal hearing without adequate explanation as to why the Claimant’s appeal letter did not meet the Respondent’s criteria.

The Judge reduced the Claimant’s award by 100% on the following bases: - The Claimant was guilty of culpable and blameworthy conduct which was deliberate. The Judge noted the Claimant had described himself as “lazy” and had admitted to spending a large proportion of the working day not working; - The appeal hearing would have made no difference in the circumstances. The Judge noted the Claimant’s failure to adduce any satisfactory evidence at tribunal in respect of the issues raised in the appeal letter.

As such, whilst there was a finding that the dismissal was procedurally unfair, the award was reduced to nil and the Claimant’s claim for re-engagement was refused.

Stephanie has experience in the ET on behalf of both Claimants and Respondents and regularly appears in preliminary and final hearings.

For further details, please see Stephanie Cummings full website profile.