Sakharkar v Northern Foods Grocery Group Ltd (t/a Fox’s Biscuits) - In all circumstances employer's mistake made dismissal unfair [2011] EAT

A reasonable and genuine mistaken belief can sustain a fair dismissal. However, when considering the fairness of a dismissal a tribunal should look beyond just the decision maker: factors such as scale and role of the employer's HR resources are all relevant to fairness. 

Mr Sakharker was employed by Northern Foods Grocery Group (NFGG) from 1991 until November 2008. Between 2006 and 2008 he suffered a considerable amount of sickness absence and NFGG's absence policy was applied to him. This was a complicated process but essentially involved warnings being issued after set periods of absence: each stage proceeded to the next if further absences occurred. The process allowed for three warnings - after that "third-stage warning" the next action would be a hearing and dismissal.

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