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7th November 2011

Beware incorporating disciplinary procedures into contracts of employment


In Hussain v Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust [2011] EWHC 1670 (QB), the Claimant, a consultant paediatrician, claimed that her employer Trust had unlawfully excluded her from work and had brought disciplinary procedures in breach of her contract of employment. The High Court held that the Trust had not complied with the Practitioners’ Disciplinary Procedure, which meant that it was proposing to act unlawfully and in contravention of the Claimant’s contract of employment.  However, the judge rejected various other complaints regarding the investigation procedure and how the Trust dealt with the disciplinary process generally, since the paragraphs from the contract concerning the same were advice or guidance to investigators and others.  Employers should take note of this decision when considering whether or not to make a disciplinary procedure contractual.