Jagex Ltd v McCambridge UKEAT/0041/19

Facts:

Mr McCambridge had worked for Jagex Ltd for six years and had an unblemished record. One morning he found a visa application form on a photocopier, which contained a senior employee's salary details. He moved the form to an area where unclaimed documents were placed. Later that day, he pointed out the document to a colleague. The next day, he placed it in a confidential waste bin and told two more colleagues about it. Mr McCambridge was called to a disciplinary hearing, where he apologised for what he had done but said he did not believe the information was confidential. His contract did not specify that salary information was confidential information or that disclosing it would be grounds for dismissal. He was summarily dismissed. He brought a claim for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal.

Decision:

The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the dismissal was unfair, as the information was not confidential. That meant that the employee had not been guilty of gross misconduct so he had also been wrongfully dismissed.

Comment:

This decision is a reminder that salary details will not be treated as confidential information unless there is clear wording in the employee's contract to this effect. Disciplinary action should therefore not be taken against an employee for disclosing this information without checking that this is permitted under the contract.