The claimant in Scott v EC Maritime PCC Limited worked as an armed guard on ships. He was employed on rolling fixed-term contracts by a Guernsey-resident company which provided security officers to a number of maritime security companies. He was assigned to one such company. When that company sold its business, the new owner took over the contract with his employer and invited employees to attend induction days. Things did not go well at the induction day attended by the claimant and, as a result, the new owner told the claimant, and his employer, that his "attitudinal and behavioural fit" was not positive and they didn’t want him to work for them.
The employer emailed the claimant to say that it would investigate the allegations made against him but meanwhile told him he could work for other companies, explaining that they were unable to offer him deployments until the investigation was over. But in fact he heard nothing further and his fixed-term contract expired without the employer having carried out any significant investigation.
The Tribunal found that the claimant had been dismissed for a potentially fair reason – some other substantial reason justifying dismissal, namely pressure for his removal by a third party client. The employer had reasonably taken the view that there was no possibility of the claimant working for the third party and it was not the employer's practice to see if there was alternative work for other clients. Given the particular structure of the employer's business, the Tribunal decided that this approach did not fall outside the band of reasonable responses.
However, the employer had told the claimant that it would look into the client's criticisms. Although it may be within the range of reasonable responses for an employer to decide not to investigate an incident further (either with the client or the employee), that did not appear to be what had happened here, given that the employer had said it would investigate. The EAT allowed the appeal and sent the case back for reconsideration.