Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2013 position: 94

Can you be dismissed for actions outside of the workplace?

The case of CJD v Royal Bank of Scotland considered whether the dismissal of an employee accused of assaulting his partner (who was also his colleague) outside of work constituted either unfair dismissal or sex discrimination.

Legally, dismissal will be unfair unless the employer can show it dismissed the employee for a potentially fair reason and acted reasonably in treating this reason as a sufficient reason for dismissal. There will be a valid sex discrimination claim if an employee can prove that the employer treats him or her less favourably than another employee due to their sex.

In this case, the employee (CJD) was in a relationship with a fellow employee (LC). One evening, at home, they had an argument involving physical contact. They both raised their voices and CJD kicked the door. CJD was arrested and charged with assault. LC was not arrested. CJD said that he was acting in self defence, which the court accepted…

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