In the recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) in the case of MBNA Limited v Jones UKEAT/0120/15, the EAT confirmed that disparity of treatment between employees would not always render a dismissal unfair but the issue would be relevant to the question of reasonableness where the circumstances between employees was “truly parallel”.
The EAT’s decision clarifies that if the decision to dismiss the employee is reasonable in all the
circumstances of the case, then the issue that the employer may have been more lenient to another employee is irrelevant. However, if the circumstances giving rise to disciplinary action is the same between employees i.e. truly parallel, then the employer will need to be consistent in its treatment of those employees, otherwise the employer risks its decision being rendered unfair.