The EAT has upheld a tribunal’s decision that an employee was unfairly dismissed for some other substantial reason but that it was appropriate to reduce the level of compensation awarded. The facts of Anderson v Chesterfield High School are somewhat unusual, in that it concerned the employment of a local government politician by a publicly-funded local school. The individual was not undertaking any work for the school due to his local government duties, but was continuing to receive paid time-off from his employment. However, when he was elected Mayor of Liverpool, a full time, executive post, the school reassessed his position and he was dismissed.
The EAT (upholding the tribunal’s decision) found that although the governors had a fair reason to terminate the Mayor’s employment, they failed to follow any procedure in doing so. The dismissal was therefore unfair. However, the compensatory award was reduced by 100% on the basis that even if a fair procedure had been followed, he would have been dismissed in any event. Further, a 25% discount to the basic award was also justified on the grounds of contributory fault given the Mayor’s failure to keep the school informed about his running for office so they could consider its impact on his employment. Unusually, when reducing the compensatory award, no allowance was made for the time it would have taken to follow a fair dismissal procedure. This is likely to reflect the finding that the Mayor’s conduct in continuing to receive public money for the role despite providing no services was “blameworthy”.