The EAT has held that two claimants who were dismissed for gross misconduct after accidentally allowing their HGV licences to expire were fairly dismissed, even though their actions had no adverse consequences.

The mistake meant that the drivers had been driving illegally without licences or insurance, which put the employer's reputation at risk and jeopardised its operator's licence.  The EAT found that the employer's decision to dismiss the claimants was well within the range of reasonable responses, even though it did not actually suffer any loss or damage as a result of their misconduct.

Key point: An employee who puts his/her employer at risk can be disciplined, even if no loss materialises.

Wincanton plc v Atkinson and another