The employee’s role as a floating support worker required regular travel to and from clients’ homes. The employee submitted his expenses claims which were paid by the employer. Following an audit of the employee’s expenses claims he was invited to attend a disciplinary meeting where he was asked to explain why his mileage exceeded that recommended by the AA. The employee cited roadworks, parking difficulties and one-way systems as the reason for the alleged inflated claims. However, the employer’s audit looked at two separate journeys in 2010 and 2011 and these were still in excess of the AA and the RAC’s recommended journey. The employee was dismissed for gross misconduct.

The employee issued a claim in the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal. His claim was dismissed. It concluded that the employer had carried out a reasonable investigation including considering the employee’s alleged reasoning. It was not required to carry out specific investigations into the employee’s reasoning. Instead the employer conducted a reasonable assessment of the facts available to it.

This case should provide some comfort to employers. It is also a good reminder of the steps that employers should take when dealing with disciplinary sanctions including dismissal to minimise the risk of claims. A fair process should be followed and this includes a reasonable assessment of the facts available at the time.