Employers should avoid attaching emotive labels when informing employees of the findings of disciplinary panels.
The Court of Appeal in Brito-Babapulle v Ealing Hospital NHS Trust upheld the tribunal’s view that, on the facts, an employee had been dismissed for misconduct, despite the employer describing the conduct as ‘fraud’ in the dismissal letter. It was always clear what the allegations were (working in private practice while on paid sick leave). The court therefore did not agree that the employer should have been required to establish that it had a genuine belief that the conduct amounted to fraud. However, the employer might well have avoided costly litigation had it not labelled the misconduct in this way.