As Annabel Kaye of Irenicom points out in her very useful article on the subject on the The Grapevine online magazine the concept of reasonable belief crops up throughout employment law – particularly in dismissals. In the case of Taylor v Alidair CA 1978 ICR 445, CA Lord Denning got to the nub of the matter with his customary succinctness;
“Whenever a man is dismissed for incapacity or incompetence it is sufficient that the employer honestly believes on reasonable grounds that the man is incapable and incompetent. It is not necessary for the employer to prove that he is in fact incapable or incompetent”
Annabel’s article deals with how the employer can demonstrate reasonable belief and is well worth a read. The key issue is that an employer mustn’t act hastily, but after having carried out a thorough and fair investigation into the allegation.
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