In Kurumuth v NHS Trust North Middlesex University Hospital, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that it was reasonable for the NHS trust to dismiss an employee when the UK Border Agency (UKBA) failed to satisfy itself that she had the right to work in the UK.
The claimant arrived in the UK in 1992 with a work permit, but was refused further leave to remain in 1997. The claimant remained in the UK while her appeal against this decision was determined, but UKBA had not confirmed her immigration status as late as 2008. The claimant was dismissed without notice in January 2010 as the trust concluded there was no evidence that the claimant had any right to work in the UK.
The absence of a proper procedure led the tribunal to find the dismissal procedurally unfair. However, the claimant appealed, arguing that it should have found that the trust’s decision was substantially as well as procedurally unfair. The EAT found that the trust had given the claimant opportunities to clarify her immigration status and had taken all reasonable steps to investigate the issue. The EAT was satisfied that the trust had reasonable grounds for the dismissal based on the genuine belief that the claimant was not entitled to work in the UK, even though the claimant’s immigration status had not been definitively determined.