Two strikes and out: prior warning could be taken into account despite outstanding appeal

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In August 2010, the claimant in Rooney v Dundee City Council, a cashier supervisor for the council, was involved in an incident where she had disregarded an express instruction from a senior employee. She had paid in a large cheque from a member of the public despite being told to wait for money laundering clearance, apparently because she had taken the view that it would better serve the council if she took the money rather than letting him carry out his threat to leave if there was going to be a delay. Following a disciplinary hearing in September 2010, she received a final written warning, which was to stay on her record for 15 months. She appealed against that, but although two dates for hearings were set, they did not go ahead because of unavailability/severe weather and no appeal was ever heard.

A further incident took place in December 2011, just before the 15 months was up. Following an argument about a shift rota, the claimant failed to follow instructions given to her to ‘cash up’ by the end of the day, with potentially (although not, as it turned out, actual) serious consequences. A disciplinary hearing was heard in March 2012, following which she was dismissed. The person conducting the hearing was aware of the previous final writing warning and that the appeal had not been determined. The claimant appealed against the decision to dismiss but the decision was confirmed on appeal…

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