Case - Zimmer v. Brezan

LTL 9/2/2009, Employment Appeal Tribunal - Robin White

In the case of Zimmer v Brezan, UKEAT/0294/08, the EAT upheld a finding by the Reading ET that Mr Brezan had been automatically unfairly dismissed because when the employer decided to dismiss, Mr Brezan was not aware that he was at risk of dismissal, although he knew that his conduct was under investigation. The EAT held that for the statutory procedures to be satisfied the employee must either be explicitly informed that they are at risk of dismissal in the 'Step 1' letter or must have had that risk communicated by the Step 1 letter and accompanying material. The EAT rejected an argument that it is only necessary, as stated on the face of the Schedule to the Employment Act 2002 which sets out the requirements for 'Step 1', for the employer to set out the matters which have caused dismissal to be contemplated.

Robin White appeared for Mr Brezan at both the Reading Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Robin said: "This is a useful clarification of the 'Step 1' requirements which follows good employment practice. An employee should know what they may face at a disciplinary hearing and it is not difficult for an employer to make that clear, most easily by an explicit statement in the letter starting the process."

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