An interesting practical point arose in the recent case of Ramphal v Department of Transport surrounding whether HR advice and guidance should be sought by the dismissing officer. In that case the issue for the EAT was whether the Tribunal had properly considered the inference that HR had inappropriately interfered with the dismissing officers decision on culpability and sanction. The EAT found that there was evidence to support an inference of improper influence and where this was rejected by the Judge they should have given clear and cogent reasons for reaching the opposite opinion. The case was therefore remitted back to the Tribunal to be reheard.
The EAT however also gave guidance of more practical importance to those in the field and this was that the role of HR should be limited to questions of law and procedure and not cross into issues of culpability and sanction. The EAT said that the employee is entitled to assume that the decision is taken by the dismissing officer without being influenced by HR as to culpability and anything beyond legal advice or matters of process and procedure. The case is therefore a useful reminder of the position.