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The curious case of the non-existent dismissal

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has released its judgment in Lawal v Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. Although centring on a procedural point, the facts of this case – which the EAT labelled as “curious” – make it an interesting read.

Dr Lawal was employed by the Trust from 2001. He gave notice of resignation on 21 April 2011, following the suggestion that he would be disciplined in relation to absence. The notice was timed to expire on 21 July 2011.

On 18 July 2011, the Trust offered to resolve the issue if Dr Lawal accepted a final written warning and a salary repayment. Dr Lawal did not accept this and never returned to work.

In spite of Dr Lawal’s departure, the Trust attempted to pursue disciplinary proceedings against him. It held a disciplinary meeting (in his absence) in November 2011, and followed this up with a dismissal letter.

Dr Lawal lodged various Employment Tribunal claims, including unfair dismissal, in February 2012. The ET held that his claim was out of time, as his employment had terminated in July 2011. In a very brief judgment, the EAT upheld the ET’s decision.

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