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Courts throw out employee’s wrongful dismissal claim against BA

Posted: 13th September 2017   In: Business Employment, Individual Employment

Claims by employees of wrongful dismissal and victimisation should be taken seriously but that did not mean that tribunals should be afraid to throw out unworthy claims without having to go to a full hearing.

That was the advice from the Court of Appeal in a case involving British Airways and one of its ground staff who had been given airside security clearance.

BA’s human resources department received an anonymous letter claiming that the employee had lied on his CV about the reason for him leaving his former employment, and that he had, in fact, been dismissed for misconduct.

Following disciplinary hearings, he was dismissed for misconduct by BA because of the dishonesty involved in his false CV.

He then issued various claims against BA, complaining of victimisation, discrimination, unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal. He admitted that he had lied on his CV, but contended that BA had already been aware of the circumstances of his departure from his previous employer, and that it had concocted the anonymous letter as part of a plan to get rid of him as a troublemaker.

The tribunal struck out the dismissal claims, having found that his case was founded on baseless and unlikely assertions and had no reasonable prospect of success. Other claims proceeded to a full hearing before a different tribunal, but were ultimately dismissed.

The employee appealed against the strike out decision.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the employee’s case was fanciful, and that the tribunal had been entitled to strike out the claims.

The Court of Appeal has upheld that decision. It held that claims should be struck out by the tribunal if it was persuaded that they had no reasonable prospect of success at trial. The tribunal's time should not be taken up by such cases.

Please contact Robert Bedford if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.