In Williams v Leeds United Football Club the High Court has found that LUFC were entitled to summarily dismiss Gwyn Williams, a technical director of LUFC, for sending an email containing obscene and pornographic images.
This is despite the fact that the email was sent over five years previously and that LUFC were looking for a reason to dismiss the employee for gross misconduct.
Since June 2013, LUFC had been looking for a reason to dismiss a number of senior managers for gross misconduct (conduct so serious as to justify immediate summary dismissal without notice or payment in lieu of notice). They even went so far as to appoint forensic investigators to trawl through the LUFC email system.
By 23 July 2013, no evidence of misconduct by Williams had been discovered; however, due to a restructuring exercise, Williams was served notice of dismissal by reason of redundancy. Under his employment contract, Williams was entitled to 12 months’ notice.