Tribunal decides dismissal for bankruptcy is fair

A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal decision considered whether Your-Move (YM), an Estate Agent, had unfairly dismissed a consultant (Mr Pubbi – the Claimant) for failing to disclose that he had been made bankrupt.  The Claimant was a financial consultant employed by YM, and carrying out work for its appointed representative firm. The Claimant was on sick leave for a period in early 2017, then again from January 2018. Within a week of being signed off on sick leave, he had applied for, and been granted, a bankruptcy order.

A few days after the order was made, the Claimant raised a grievance about how he had been treated, and YM’s HR department discovered the bankruptcy order on carrying out a Google search.

There was no express term of the Claimant’s contract, nor any policy or regulatory requirement that applied to him, that specifically required him to disclose a bankruptcy. However, the Employment Tribunal found that YM dismissed the Claimant because it nevertheless believed that, in all the circumstances, he knew, or should have appreciated, that it would regard his bankruptcy as a serious matter, and would have expected him to disclose it, and that he had deliberately not done so.  The EAT agreed with the Tribunal’s view that YM was entitled to view the conduct as warranting dismissal, and did not err in finding that the dismissal was fair.

Significant confusion as to whether the Claimant had been carrying on a function subject to the FCA’s “FIT” requirements, which ultimately led to a conclusion that he was not, did not change this view.

We will be producing a longer article on the implications of this decision.

Ben Duxbury

I am a Managing Associate working at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP specialising in Employment Law.