Part-Time Porn Star Unfairly Dismissed
21 September 2016
An administrative assistant at the Liverpool Community Health Trust was, without the Trust’s knowledge, supplementing her income by partaking in various activities, including taking part in pornographic movies. This behaviour came to the attention of one of her colleagues who then informed the Trust. The colleague stated that, if the admin assistant wasn’t dismissed, then her alternative means of income would be leaked to the media.
The Trust questioned the employee about whether these accusations were true – and she openly admitted that they were. She was duly suspended pending disciplinary action. As is often the case, she was signed off sick shortly after being suspended. During this time, it is said that she was given an ultimatum by the Trust. Effectively, it was made clear to her that unless she resigned she would be dismissed. She didn’t resign and was sacked.
The former employee of the Trust then brought a claim in the employment tribunal, alleging that she had been unfairly dismissed. The fact that no proper disciplinary procedure had been followed was highlighted as a significant contributory factor in the judge’s decision to find that she had been unfairly dismissed. The judge determined that, had a proper process been followed, she would have been dismissed in any case. Nevertheless, the failure to follow the correct procedure resulted in an award of around £2,000.
The case therefore highlights that, even when it appears that dismissal is inevitable, employers must always ensure they act in a fair manner. On the spot dismissals simply invite open wallet surgery before the tribunal. It is imperative that a sound disciplinary process is followed.
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