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The EAT has confirmed that inconsistent treatment of employees does not necessarily make a dismissal unfair, although it will usually do so. In General Mills (Berwick) Ltd v Glowacki, the claimant argued that his dismissal for breaching health and safety procedures was unfair because another employee had not been dismissed for health and safety breaches that had caused severe injuries.
At first instance, the tribunal agreed and held that as the two cases were so similar, the difference in treatment rendered the claimant's dismissal unfair. The EAT disagreed and held that the tribunal should have taken more account of the employer's reasons for the different treatment in the two cases. In particular, the other employee was absent for some time following his injuries (and was eventually dismissed for incapability) and the EAT accepted that there was a material reason for the difference in treatment.
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