This case highlights the importance for employers to deal with workplace disputes through proper investigation, before insisting an employee returned to work.
It involved allegations of bullying and race discrimination, between a consultant surgeon and his colleagues which had created a dysfunctional environment at work. It was agreed that the consultant would take three months paid leave while the matter was investigated, the result of which recommended management training and mediation. Matters turned even more sour when he raised allegations of patient safety and NHS work being turned away in favour of private work. His colleague alleged to the police that he had assaulted them but no police action was taken. A further investigation recommended that steps be taken to improve relations but this never happened and the consultant was not kept up to date, nor was he told the police outcome. His request for special paid leave to be extended until matters were resolved was refused. His employer insisted that they would not be dealt with until his return to work. He refused and was dismissed for unauthorised absence. His dismissal was held to be unfair.