New judgment: McBride v Scottish Police Authority (Scotland)  UKSC 27
15 Wednesday Jun 2016
On appeal from:  CSIH 4.
Concerns the proper approach of employment tribunals when ordering that an employer reinstate an employee who has been unfairly dismissed.
The appellant was one of the experts from the Scottish Criminal Records office involved in the McKie Scandal, and she and the other experts were suspended while investigations took place. One investigation concluded that the experts had not been guilty of any malicious wrongdoing and recommended that they return to work without any disciplinary action being taken. They returned to work on restricted duties.
Following subsequent unfair dismissal proceedings, the employment tribunal ordered that she be reinstated “to the position of Fingerprint Officer and treated in all respects as if she had not been dismissed.” In its reasoning, the tribunal stated “(it being understood that reinstatement would be to a non court going fingerprint officer role)”.
Held: The tribunal was not seeking to impose a contractual limitation in the reinstatement order removing the excluded duties (ie signing reports and attending court to give evidence) from the appellant’s job description. Rather it was recognising a practical limitation on the scope of her work caused by circumstances beyond her control and that of her employer.