Two security guards at Heathrow have been sacked after allegations were made that they accepted bribes to allow travellers to use an exclusive VIP lounge.

Two security guards at Heathrow have apparently been sacked after it was alleged that they accepted bribes to let travellers into an exclusive VIP lounge in the airport. The two staff members let travellers pay a nominal amount to let them into the lounge – which normally charges £1,800 for entrance and has played host to such stars as David Beckham and Rihanna. On other occasions they apparently agreed to receive gifts from stars (although there is no suggestion that Rihanna or Beckham were involved) instead of charging them the full entrance fee.

The misconduct was discovered after airport bosses were alerted to allegations and a full internal investigation was launched. This resulted in a disciplinary investigation and disciplinary procedure being carried out, after which the two managers were dismissed for gross misconduct.

If you’re accused of misconduct  (improper or unacceptable behaviour) in the workplace then you may be dismissed as a result – this is normally if the conduct is so serious as to be regarded as gross misconduct. Gross misconduct normally includes the most serious offences, such as theft or violence. For an action (or omission to act) to be classed as gross misconduct it has to be deliberate and intentional on the part of the employee – it has to either be deliberate wrongdoing or gross negligence at work. If your employer has a reasonable belief that you have stolen from your employer then this would normally constitute gross misconduct.

In order for the conduct complained of to be gross misconduct it must:

  1. Be so serious that it goes to the root of the contract; and
  2. Be a deliberate and wilful breach of the contract or amount to gross negligence

If you’re found guilty of gross misconduct then your employer is entitled to terminate your contract of employment without notice. However, if your employer fails to carry out a fair procedure or make a reasonable decision to dismiss you then you may have a claim for unfair dismissal.

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The Direct 2 Lawyers Employment Team post daily on interesting employment law cases, Employment Tribunal judgments and Employment Appeal Tribunal judgments. All of the Employment Team posts are written by qualified specialist employment lawyers

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