A bank manager has won her case for unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal after she was fired earlier this year.
Marrine Isaq commenced employment with the Halifax Bank of Scotland in 1996. She worked as a bank manager at the Halesowen branch, near Birmingham, until the incident occurred last year. The incident that resulted in Ms Isaq’s dismissal occurred when a customer rang the Halifax branch and informed Ms Isaq that he would be attending the bank to pick up some money. Ms Isaq knew the customer and this was not an unusual request. She therefore placed the sum requested in a paper envelope ready for him. When the customer attended the bank – shortly before 5pm (the bank’s closing time) he was rude, in a rush and partially sighted. Ms Isaq was unable to carry out the exact procedures necessary in the circumstances (including obtaining a signature for the money) because of these issues and the customer left with the money. An investigation was subsequently launched and it was discovered that a number of similar transactions had occurred in the recent past, with the amount “missing” being £1,200. Ms Isaq was subjected to a disciplinary and dismissed shortly after this for gross misconduct, with Halifax accusing her of a breach of trust and confidence. She subsequently submitted claims of unfair dismissal and race discrimination to the Birmingham Employment Tribunal.
Read more: Examples of gross misconduct
The Employment Tribunal, held earlier this year, found in Ms Isaq’s favour in her unfair dismissal claim but rejected her race discrimination claim. The Tribunal found that the bank had failed to carry out a proper procedure in dismissing Ms Isaq (it’s unclear what this improper procedure entailed) and upheld her claim for unfair dismissal. However, the Employment Tribunal reduced the figure awarded to Ms Isaq by 60% because of her contribution to her dismissal through her actions. This resulted in a net award of £31,406 – compensation for the 6 months that Ms Isaq has been unemployed since losing her job. Ms Isaq submitted a request for reinstatement to her job but Employment Judge van Gelder rejected this, stating that he could not because of the bank’s contention that there had been a breach of trust and confidence . An application for an award of costs was also rejected by Employment Judge van Gelder.
Read more: How to prepare your unfair dismissal claim
Analysis of the unfair dismissal claim
The finding of unfair dismissal appears to be premised on the investigation and disciplinary procedures that were carried out by the Halifax Bank of Scotland. This is reflected in the 60% reduction in the award for contributory fault. If the bank had carried out the correct procedures it’s possible (and maybe even probable) that Ms Isaq would have failed in her claim. This serves as a reminder to employers that it is always worth carrying out the correct procedures when you are dismissing an employee.