Anne was not informed of the complaints and neither was she given the opportunity to contest or explain herself. It was a malicious statement with the end view of harassing Anne for, they, Anne and Jill have recently "fallen out." Anne is therefore a victim of discrimination.
My advice to Anne is to take the matter to the Employment Tribunal. As an employee, Anne has the right to be treated fairly without discrimination. This means that she must be afforded equal opportunities. The act of Jill may have possibly even been the cause for Anne to be denied the opportunity for employment in another nursery. This denied Anne the equal opportunity for a transfer to another job. In the case of Fearon v Chief Constable of Derbyshire , acts of the employer that denies the employee access to such opportunities was considered as an unlawful discrimination.3 Aside from this, Anne was also denied the right to meet her accusers, know the entire details of the complaints against her, defend herself fully against such alleged complaints, be accompanied by a person who can fully represent her cause, and given a fair and impartial determination of the issues as warranted by the general principles of natural justice and fair play. All these, according to the Code of Practice Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures is a clear violation of an employee's rights. 4 Therefore, among other things as discussed earlier in this same paragraph is that Anne also has the right to due process as a part of her employment law rights.
Eileen has a good chance of bringing a successful claim on the unfair dismissal grounds of failure to adhere to procedural rules on dismissal, deprivation of her right to a minimum notice period, denial of her right to appeal the decision and lapse of disciplinary warning.
Eileen's act of chatting online during office hours could be a fair reason for dismissal. The fair reasons for dismissal are conduct, inability to do ones work, illness, redundancy, retirement and statutory restriction. She is unable to do her work and the repeated commission of the offense shows poor conduct and discipline.5 Thus the substantive law regarding fair reason for dismissal has been met. The dismissal would have been valid and correct had the requisite proper procedure been followed. Due process requires the fulfillment not only of the requisites of the substantive law but also that the proper procedure be followed in disciplining erring employees.6 Notice of the offense committed and the scheduled meeting should have first been given Eileen. She should have been afforded sufficient time to prepare her answer to the complaint against her. At the meeting the manager would present her with the evidence proving her commission of the offense. She would then be given the full opportunity to explain herself. This procedure was not followed and instead she was immediately dismissed. Failure to comply with the procedural requirements deprives her the right to be heard and is thus violative of justice and fair play.
The law requires that the employee be given a minimum notice period to allow the employee time to seek other employment.7 Eileen was immediately d