Due to the nature of the conviction, once the investigation was concluded, the Store Manager decided to invoke the disciplinary procedure. The respondent was concerned about the drug conviction and the impact it would have on customers entering the store if it became public knowledge.
A meeting was held on the 20th September 2011 with a subsequent meeting on the 26th September 2011. At the second meeting, the claimant was informed that he was dismissed on the grounds of serious misconduct under the following headings:
- Conviction by a Court of law for any serious criminal offense considered damaging to the company or its employees.
- Conduct which brings the company’s good name into disrepute.
The claimant decided to appeal the decision and his representative wrote a letter detailing the appeal grounds. The Appeal Officer was the Manager of another of the respondent’s stores. The Appeal Officer was asked to hear the appeal but was not provided with the letter setting out the grounds of appeal.
At the appeal meeting the Appeal Officer listened to the claimants grounds of appeal and went on to investigate each one afterwards. The Appeal Officer traveled to the store where the claimant had been employed so that he could review his personnel file. However, he did not speak to the Store Manager, the Personnel Manager or anyone else working at that store in relation to the claimant.
The Appeal Officer considered the issues raised by the claimant including, firstly, the fact that he had kept the company apprised, secondly, the fact that he was provided with a character reference from the Personnel Manager for Court and, finally, that the conviction was not in the public domain.
The Appeal Officer considered the notes from the meetings held with the claimant when considering the appeal. Given the grounds of appeal he did not deem it necessary to speak to anyone other than the claimant. In concluding his consideration of the appeal he upheld the decision to dismiss as he found that the claimant’s conviction could easily bring the company into disrepute. When cross-examined at the Employment Appeals Tribunal Hearing, the Appeal Officer confirmed that he did not find evidence that customers or members of the public were aware of the claimant’s conviction but he did consider how it would be viewed if it came into public domain.