Mr Hope was employed by the British Medical Association (“the Association”) as a Senior Policy Adviser from June 2015 until he was dismissed for gross misconduct on 24 May 2019.
Prior to his dismissal, Mr Hope brought numerous grievances against senior managers at the Association. These grievances included complaints that the senior managers failed to include him in meetings that he thought he should be attending.
The grievances raised by Mr Hope could not be resolved at the informal stage, partly because he wished to discuss them informally with his line manager who did not have the authority to resolve his concerns about more senior managers. Mr Hope, however, refused to progress any of his grievances to the formal stage or withdraw them.
A grievance hearing was arranged but Mr Hope refused to attend despite being informed that his attendance was considered to be a reasonable instruction. The hearing proceeded and his grievances were not upheld.
The Association considered Mr Hope’s conduct to amount to gross misconduct as he had brought numerous vexatious grievances and had refused to comply with a reasonable management instruction to attend the meeting. He was ultimately dismissed.
The Employment Tribunal Decision
The ET found that Mr Hope’s dismissal was fair. It concluded that it was reasonable for the Association to conclude that his conduct was vexatious and unreasonable. It also found that the conduct of the disciplinary investigation and process was reasonable.
Mr Hope appealed this decision.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal Decision
Mr Hope’s principal ground of appeal was that the ET had mistakenly failed to consider whether his conduct was capable of amounting to gross misconduct in the contractual sense and that the ET’s conclusions were perverse.
The EAT dismissed his appeal, holding that the ET had not gone wrong in its approach. It held that the ET was entitled to conclude that the Association had acted reasonably in treating the reason for dismissal, being Mr Hope’s conduct, as a sufficient reason to dismiss in all of the circumstances.
Charlotte Dowdy is a Trainee Solicitor at Nelsons.
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