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The London Zoo love triangle led to bloody fight at a Christmas party

The employment tribunal in Westlake v ZSL London Zoo held that two zookeepers who got into a fight at London Zoo’s Christmas party should have received the same disciplinary sanction.

Ms Westlake got into a fight with a colleague, Ms Sanders at a work Christmas party. The fight appeared to originate over another zookeeper Mr Davies, Ms Sanders’ former boyfriend who was by then dating Ms Westlake. Ms Sanders face was slashed with a wine glass by her colleague Ms Westlake.

The Zoo dismissed Ms Westlake and issued a final written warning to Ms Sanders as well as banning her from work related social events. Due to factual disputes as to how the incident was initiated, the Tribunal concluded that both employees should have been given the same punishment and therefore ruled that Ms Westlake was unfairly dismissed. However, she was awarded with zero compensation.

The case is a reminder of the need for consistency of treatment where it is supported by a proper analysis of the facts as well the need for employers to recognise the problems that could arise at the Christmas party. Nobody wants to be a ‘party pooper’, but employers may want to consider issuing a statement to employees attending a work-related social events informing them of the need for good behaviour and the dangers of drinking too much alcohol.

It is the season to be jolly, but make sure your Christmas party is not one to remember for all the wrong reasons! If you are worried about your upcoming Christmas party why not read our previous articles on avoiding employment related problems.

Alternatively if you have a question relating to Christmas Party shenanigans call me for a free consultation on 0113 3504030 or email me at samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk.

Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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