Dismissals With Serious Consequences Should Be Handled With Care

28 May 2010

In Salford Royal NHS Foundation v Roldan, the Court of Appeal stated that where there is a real chance a dismissal will hinder the employee’s career, there is an added burden on a disciplinary board to examine how reasonable a dismissal would be. Furthermore where this is the case, the Tribunal will examine the decision much more critically.

In this case, Ms Roldan (a Filipino nurse recruited from Singapore) was dismissed for misconduct for mistreating a patient based on the verbal evidence given by another nurse. The decision was based, essentially, on Ms Roldan’s word against Ms Denton’s.

The Court of Appeal upheld the Tribunal’s decision that Ms Roldan was dismissed unfairly, adding that with a case such as this where the implications of dismissal for an employee are very serious, great care should be taken in handling the investigation. Supposedly without complaint, Ms Roldan had worked for the Trust for over four years. The result of dismissal was that she would be deported and consequently unable to carry on her career in nursing in England.

The Court highlighted some guidelines for employers in misconduct investigations where there is little evidence to confirm either party’s story:

  1. Employers are not required to believe one employee over another.
  2. Circumstance dependant, it may be perfectly justified and proper to give the accused the benefit of the doubt, without agreeing with either party’s story.

The case can be found here.