HKEC 348: 23 aircrew officers ("the Claimants") were dismissed by their employer ("the Defendant") whilst disciplinary investigations were being conducted against them for alleged misconduct. Their contracts of employment contained provisions on detailed disciplinary procedures, including the right of the officers to a hearing, and the right to appeals against a finding of misconduct. The contracts also contained a provision entitling the Defendant to terminate the officers' employment on giving 3 months' notice or payment in lieu of notice. The Court of First Instance held that, in spite of the latter provision, the Defendant was not entitled to exercise its right to terminate until the requisite disciplinary procedures had been completed. The Court reached its decision based on the assumption that termination was for reason of misconduct.
This case serves as a warning to employers that where misconduct is alleged, and disciplinary procedures are set out contractually, the procedures must be fully adhered to before they can exercise their right to terminate without cause.