The claimant in Buzolli v Food Partners Ltd was a lorry driver who had received a final written warning when he failed to attend work because he was under the influence of alcohol. A few months later, while the warning was still on his file, he had what was described as a "preventable collision". As the damage caused was more than £4,500, it counted under the employer's disciplinary policy as gross misconduct. Following a disciplinary hearing he was dismissed.
The Employment Tribunal rejected his unfair dismissal claim and the EAT upheld this, despite the fact that the employer's procedure had not followed exactly the detail of the ACAS code of practice on disciplinary procedures - the final written warning letter did not expressly state that further misconduct might make the claimant liable to dismissal and the letter inviting him to the disciplinary hearing did not put him on notice that he might be dismissed.
Although the failure to inform an employee of the issues, to enable them to respond at the disciplinary hearing, can often result in a dismissal being unfair, in the particular circumstances of this case, it was evident (not least, from his comments at the disciplinary appeal hearing stage) that the claimant was aware of the consequences of the final written warning and it was reasonable to assume that he was aware of the possibility of dismissal after the disciplinary hearing. So, despite the flaws, the disciplinary procedures were, looked at in the round, fair. One important factor was that the employer's disciplinary policy specifically stated that, on a final written warning, an employee would be advised that if there were further conduct breaches in the next 12 months, dismissal would follow.