Not a case to follow in all circumstances, but the decision of Gallacher v Abellio Scotrail has found that in exceptional cases it might be fair to dismiss an employee without any procedure where there is a complete breakdown in working relations.
The breakdown in relations between the employee (the claimant) and her line manager occurred at a critical time for the respondent. As such following consultation with HR, the decision was taken to dismiss the employee during an appraisal meeting. There was not previous notice that this would be discussed and no process followed. However, the Tribunal made a finding that in all the circumstances of the case the decision to dismiss was reasonable. The Tribunal even commented that a procedure in these circumstances may have made the situation worse.
On appeal, the EAT agreed that although it was rare that all procedures could be dispensed with, in this particular case it was reasonable for the employer to do so. Procedures are important and it is with caution that a Tribunal will find a dismissal fair that has followed no procedure at all, but the absence of a process will not automatically render the dismissal unfair. The Tribunal will consider the whole case and determine whether the dismissal fell within the band of reasonable responses.