The Employment Court has rejected an appeal for unjustified dismissal and unjustified disadvantage of a worker accused of sending a threatening text about their manager.  The text intimated physical violence towards the manager.

The employer became aware of the text and started a disciplinary investigation.  During the investigation the employee denied having sent the text and provided evidence pointing towards the text being fabricated to set him up.

The employer then embarked on a longer investigation into the text to try and establish who had set up the employee by faking the text.  Eventually the employee admitted that he had actually sent the text and that his evidence about being set up was untrue.

The employer’s view was that they would have taken the employee back, if the only issue had been the threatening text sent, because they could have redeployed him to a different area of the workplace.  However, once they knew that the employee had lied during the investigation they were not prepared to take the employee back. This was because they had lost trust and confidence that they could rely on his honesty going forward.

The Employment Court agreed with the employer that the lie amounted to a serious breach of trust which justified not reinstating the employee. The Court held that, even if the employee had been successful in establishing an unjustified dismissal or personal grievance for unjustified disadvantage, no damages would have been awarded because of the employee’s lie.

The employee would have been much better off had they just accepted that they sent the text and they would then have been able to have returned to work.  Their lies to cover up resulted in them being out of work totally.

Alan Knowsley

Employment Lawyer