In the vast majority of cases a claimant in an unfair dismissal case will request monetary compensation for the loss of their job. One of the remedies that a claimant can request in the event that they have been found to have been unfairly dismissed is that of reinstatement to their original job.
Reinstatement is not very often awarded because Employment Tribunals recognise that once a dismissal has taken place the employment relationship(s) can be extremely damaged and a reinstatement is, in practical terms, unworkable.
Reinstatement is more likely to be ordered where the employer is a large firm, and there is greater scope to re-deploy the claimant where they may not be subject to the same management team that led to their dismissal.
An interesting point has arisen in a 2016 Scottish case of McBride -V- Scottish Police Authority. Mrs McBride was a fingerprint expert employed by Scottish Police Authority. Her and some other colleagues’ evidence was called into question in respect of a criminal trial.
She subsequently brought proceedings against her employer for unfair dismissal and she was successful in her claim. She had requested reinstatement in her claim form. The Employment Tribunal ordered that she be reinstated but that she could not provide evidence in any subsequent court proceedings. Her previous role had been all encompassing as a fingerprint expert and had included an obligation to give evidence in court proceedings as and when necessary.
The case was, eventually, appealed to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court upheld that on the facts the Employment Tribunal had not ordered a reinstatement, which altered the contractual terms of the claimant’s employment. But the Supreme Court did uphold the legal principal that if someone is reinstated to their role then it must be on the same contractual terms as when they left.
The case has some wider implications because an Employment Tribunal cannot say to an employer in an order for reinstatement “we ordered you to reinstate the claimant to their previous employment but on different terms and conditions or a different job description of that which they had been employed previously”.
Author: Gareth Price, e: