By Caroline Baker - 28 February 2018
A banker was sacked from his role with Clydesdale Bank after failing to take action against two colleagues, Z and N, who were accused of having had sex in a bar on a work night out.
The dismissal followed an anonymous letter to the Bank which complained that George Eleftheriou had not disciplined Z and N, even though they “were engaged in sexual activity in open view of others in a public house on a team night out.” The letter also alleged that it was “public knowledge within London that [Mr Eleftheriou] was also sexually involved with [N] in the office and was caught on CCTV.”
Following receipt of the letter, Mr Eleftheriou’s boss, Brian Colquhoun, carried out an investigation and spoke to other members of the team. The team members gave Mr Colquhoun details of unsubstantiated rumours that N had slept with other members of staff, gossip about the Dirty Martini incident and that there was one occasion when a security guard had surprised N and Mr Eleftheriou in a compromising situation in the office.
Following a disciplinary hearing, it was found that although Mr Eleftheriou had investigated the incidents reported to him, he “did not take adequate action” and he was dismissed.
After Mr Eleftheriou claimed his dismissal was unfair, a Tribunal found in his favour, finding that the way Mr Eleftheriou was treated did not align with the disciplinary action taken in relation to Z and S (Z’s immediate boss), who both received final written warnings. However, the Tribunal found that Mr Eleftheriou was a third responsible for his dismissal through his actions.
This case is a warning to employers that inconsistent disciplinary action can be problematic when trying to justify a harsher punishment. It is also a warning to those managers who have disciplinary allegations reported to them that a failure to appropriately deal with such allegations can ultimately result in disciplinary action.