Okay, I’m an employment lawyer, and the above came up in conversation last evening as I watched Klopp lose yet another Euro final. So, this training aid was left behind, after an exercise I assume. We are told it resembled an explosive device, it was reported when found, and ultimately the game was abandoned. I heard the cost put at m£3 so maybe the question should be: how can the guy responsible keep his job?!
I got to thinking about policies and procedures that an employer puts in place, which essentially lets the employee know what is unacceptable behaviour. For example, you ban harassment in your anti-bullying policy, and if it happens, the employee can be disciplined. In your internet policy, you make it clear that accessing certain sites is prohibited, and again if breached, then disciplinary will follow. Stealing from your employer can see you dismissed for gross misconduct. Put simply, you outline what is a “crime” and the “punishment” that will follow, in employment terms.
In the absence of a policy, can the employee be punished? The law generally says no. So in the case of the bomb drama at Manchester United, did the employer specifically provide in a policy that leaving a training aid at a client’s site would warrant dismissal? Possibly not. So some hope there for our fall guy. There may be more….
You then drill down into the process that the employer had in place to avoid such a thing happening. Compare if you will to a surgeon who will count the number of surgical instruments in advance, to ensure that none are left behind in the course of the surgery. Did the training company have a system that ensured that when the exercise was over that they came away with all training aids? In short, if it was of such importance to that employer, did they count and perhaps tag each aid going in, and ensure that all came out? Hmmm, where there is life, and some professional advice, there is hope….!