SM Trucking Ltd v Dixon [2022] EAT 66

Appeal against a finding that the Claimant had been wrongfully dismissed and against compensation awarded. Appeal allowed in part.

The Claimant was an HGV driver and the Respondent's only employee. The claimant was involved in an accident whilst at work driving the Respondent’s only HGV articulated lorry when he collided with a lorry in front of him as he approached a set of traffic lights. The Respondent’s lorry was written off. The Claimant said the Respondent phoned him and said because the lorry was off the road and there was no vehicle for him to drive and so no job to come back to, they would have to part company. The Respondent said that it was because he could no longer get insurance for the Claimant due to his driving record. An ET found that the Claimant had been wrongfully and unfairly dismissed, awarding him notice pay, a basic award reduced by 50% for contributory fault and unpaid holiday pay. The Respondent appealed.

The EAT allowed most grounds of the appeal. The ET erred in finding that the Claimant had been wrongfully dismissed when on the ET’s findings he had been entirely to blame for the accident. It was also inconsistent to reduce the basic award for unfair dismissal by only 50% on grounds of conduct under s.122(2) Employment Rights Act 1996 when the ET had effectively found gross negligence or gross misconduct by the Claimant. The holiday pay claim was dismissed.

Published: 24/05/2022 09:12

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