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This article was published on April 21st, 2015
Car enthusiast gets the boot
Well, what a fracas.
We’re not talking just about the incident that led to the non-renewal of Jeremy Clarkson’s BBC contract, but also about the public outcry the whole situation has generated. What exactly happened in that hotel, we don’t know. And until very recently we didn’t know what the consequences would be for the Top Gear presenter. But what we have known all along is that employers up and down the country face comparable conundrums to those in charge of Clarkson’s fate.
So, what to do with a valuable staff member who has stepped out of line. Sack them? Reinstate them? There’s no completely right answer because, whichever way you look, there’s a downside. You lose their expertise, their appeal, their contribution. Or you’re demonstrating to the rest of your workforce – and others connected with your business – that misconduct isn’t that bad after all (and risk claims from those you dismiss in similar circumstances in the future).
What the Clarkson situation has brought to light is just how difficult it can be for employers to make these types of calls. Employment law demands reasonableness. And employers also need to have a deep awareness of the ripple effect, and of how to handle and communicate decisions. It’s the recipe for staying on the right track.