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Vetco Gray UK Ltd v Garden - Was interpretation of policies open to employer as "reasonable employer" [2012] EAT

Where an employee is dismissed for breach of his employer's policies, the tribunal must ask not whether the employee's interpretation of those policies was correct, but rather whether that interpretation was one that was open to a reasonable employer in all the circumstances.

Mr Garden was absent sick for some 9 months, on sick pay, prior to his dismissal. During his time off he undertook lessons to become a driving instructor. He did not have Vetco's permission to do so, and was at one stage warned by the HR manager (who had heard talk of his activities) that doing so would be gross misconduct. The staff handbook expressly prohibited undertaking any other activity - paid or unpaid - during working hours without the permission of management.

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