Some other substantial reason (SOSR) dismissal
18 April 2017
Is there a particularly high threshold for an employer dismissing an employee because of a 'substantial reason'?
No, held the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Ssekisonge v Barts Health NHS Trust, rejecting the Claimant's appeal against a finding that her dismissal was fair.
The Claimant was a nurse who, having come to the UK, obtained indefinite leave to remain and then British citizenship, had her citizenship revoked when the Home Office had concerns over her true identity. However, her leave to remain (and work) in the UK was unaffected. The Trust dismissed the Claimant after a disciplinary process relating to concerns over her identity and her conduct. The employment tribunal found that the principal reason for dismissal was that the Trust could not be certain of the Claimant's identity. It was fair for a 'substantial reason' (SOSR); given the Claimant's role, certainty as to her identity was essential.
The EAT rejected an argument that a 'no fault' SOSR dismissal, there was a particularly high threshold for employers to make dismissal reasonable. The EAT noted case law that in such circumstances employers should not be expected to investigate too far beyond what official information they reasonably obtain about an employee from a responsible public authority, but it did note that the position on fairness might differ on different facts, e.g. a case not involving a nurse and an NHS Trust.
With thanks to Daniel Barnett’s employment law bulletin for providing this update.