Sexual Misconduct Dismissal at the CBI
- Employment Law
- 13th Apr 2023
The boss of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has been dismissed and three other employees suspended, in the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal at the business lobbying group. Tony Danker has been dismissed with immediate effect and will receive no financial package, following an independent investigation into complaints of harassment made against […]
By Julie SabbaMLP Law
The boss of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has been dismissed and three other employees suspended, in the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal at the business lobbying group.
Tony Danker has been dismissed with immediate effect and will receive no financial package, following an independent investigation into complaints of harassment made against him by a female colleague.
The CBI is not the only organisation, however, which has had to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct against senior members of management. Julie Sabba, an Associate in the Employment team, therefore asks – How should employers respond in such circumstances?
As with any disciplinary process, regardless of the nature of the allegations, the employer should first investigate the circumstances as fully as possible, before deciding whether or not the employee in question should face a disciplinary hearing. In cases involving sexual misconduct this can include taking witness statements (which may be anonymised when given to the employee) and can also include gathering relevant documentation, which can range from inappropriate emails to screen grabs of WhatsApp messages.
It is also often appropriate to suspend the employee (with pay) whilst the investigation is conducted.
Thereafter, a disciplinary hearing should be held, during which the employee should be given ample opportunity to respond to the case against him or her. The employee also has the right to be accompanied at such a meeting. Before attending the hearing, the employee should be made aware of the potential sanction which may be imposed.
It is not unusual in cases of sexual misconduct to consider summary dismissal (where no notice is given or paid) for gross misconduct, when determining an appropriate outcome.
Once the sanction has been notified to the employee in writing, the right of appeal should also be given. An appeal can include a full rehearing, be limited to specific grounds or can be focussed on the severity of the sanction.
Of overarching importance is that the employer sends a signal to its employees that any type of sexual misconduct or harassment is unacceptable and any such complaints will be taken seriously. This can help to minimise any external reputational damage and can also prevent poor morale internally.
Having relevant policies in place and targeted training can bolster that impression and can reduce the likelihood of claims, such as constructive dismissal or discrimination claims, from staff who feel they have been the victims of such behaviour.
If you would like advice from the Employment team at MLP Law in respect of any of the issues raised here or more generally, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 0161 926 9969 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow us on Twitter @HRHeroUK.
About the expert
Stephen is the Owner of MLP Law and leads our Commercial, IP and Dispute Resolution teams which provide advice on all aspects of the law relating to mergers, acquisitions, financing, re-structuring, complex commercial contracts, standard trading terms, share options, shareholder and partnership agreements, commercial dispute resolution, joint venture and partnering arrangements, IT and Technology law, Intellectual Property, EU and competition law, Brexit and GDPR.
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