Unfair Dismissal: The Post Office (Consignia plc) -v- Burkett
The Court of Appeal has handed down its decision in The Post Office
(Consignia plc) -v- Burkett
It is authority for the proposition that tribunals, when deciding whether an
employer had reasonable grounds for its belief in misconduct, must set out
and analyse the facts as found by the employer at the time of the dismissal
(assuming the employer undertook a reasonable investigation).
It is an error of law to set out facts as found by the tribunal, unless a
clear distinction is drawn between what the tribunal decides occurred, and
what the tribunal decides the employer thought occurred.
Mr Burkett was dismissed for deliberately overfilling a Post Office van with
oil, causing an explosion. The tribunal found that there was no evidence to
support the fact that he had overfilled it deliberately and held the
dismissal to be unfair.
The Court of Appeal (after the Employment Appeals Tribunal dismissed the
original appeal) allowed the appeal on the grounds that the Tribunal had
substituted its view, whereas it should have looked at the facts that the
Post Office had found after the Post Office's original disciplinary
investigation, and decided whether those grounds for belief in misconduct
This document is for general guidance and research purposes only, and does not purport to give professional advice. Please check the date at the top of the article; the International Workplace retains historic articles for general research.