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Lady Paton, Lord Bracadale and Lord Drummond Young
For a tribunal to conclude that a dismissal for conduct was
fair, the employer must establish that the conduct ‘reflected in some way upon
the employer-employee relationship’.
D was dismissed for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in
whose flat he was living. The police had charged him with assault. D admitted
he had pushed his girlfriend onto a sofa but claimed he did so in self-defence
as she was scratching his face. His employer dismissed him even though
accepting that he was acting in self-defence.
The Court of Session, upholding the decision of the
tribunal, held the dismissal was unfair because the employers had not
established a legitimate reason for dismissal. To rely on conduct as a reason,
the conduct had to reflect in some way on the employer-employee relationship.
Pushing his girlfriend onto a sofa in response to her scratching him could not
reflect in any way on the employer-employee relationship.