In Royal Mail Group v Jhuti, the issue was whether Ms Jhuti’s was dismissed because she’d made protected disclosures to her line manager. But, the individual who took the decision to dismiss Ms Jhuti was unaware of these protected disclosures.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal found that she had been unfairly dismissed. It held that it did not matter that the decision was made by someone who was unaware of the protected disclosures, or that the decision had been manipulated by another individual in a managerial role. The decision was, nonetheless, down to the employer.

Reversing this decision, the Court of Appeal concluded that the dismissal had been fair. It held that when a tribunal determines an employer’s reason (or main reason) for a dismissal, it should only consider the mental processes of the decision-maker, and what that decision-maker knew. The mental process of anyone else should not be considered, apart from in cases where the decision-maker has been manipulated by a manager with some responsibility for the investigation.

In an unfair dismissal case, this means that ‘unfairness’ caused by a particular individual is irrelevant, unless it is attributable to the employer. It’s important for employers to select decision-makers who act independently and fairly. Equally, they should ensure that records of the decision-making process are made and retained.

For more information, please contact Nia Cooper.

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