Was Due Process Followed in the ‘Sacking’ of Hannah Blythyn?

Hannah Blythyn

In a troubling turn of events, First Minister of Wales, Vaughan Gething has sacked the Minister for Social Partnerships, Hannah Blythyn, following a leaked message scandal. Ms. Blythyn has categorically denied any involvement in the leak, stating, “I am deeply shocked and saddened by what has happened today. I am clear and have been clear that I did not, nor have I ever leaked anything. Integrity is all in politics and I retain mine.”

While this story continues to unfold, it raises important questions: Was a proper investigation process conducted before this drastic decision was made? And what might have been the potential outcomes if a thorough and independent investigation had been carried out? How do brash actions like this, impact other employees or anyone else who’s paying attention?

The Importance of Independent Investigations

Independent investigations are pivotal in ensuring fairness and objectivity, particularly in high-stakes situations. When internal politics and preconceived notions are removed from the equation, decisions are more likely to be based on solid evidence and unbiased assessments. This objectivity not only maintains fairness but also builds trust , both inside and outside of the organisation. Employees are more inclined to have faith in an impartial investigation, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability.

The Potential Impact of a Thorough Investigation

If an independent investigation was conducted in the case of Hannah Blythyn, several potential outcomes could have been considered. A thorough review would likely have involved interviewing all parties, examining all possible evidence, and assessing the context in which the leak occurred. This could have either substantiated the claims against Blythyn or cleared her of any wrongdoing, leading to a fair and justified conclusion.

Setting an Example for Business Leaders

This high-profile incident should raise critical questions for business leaders: Are we ensuring that all investigations in our organisations are conducted with the utmost integrity? What example are we setting when it comes to handling allegations and grievances?

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Under UK employment law, following proper procedures is not just a recommendation – it’s a legal requirement. The Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Equality Act 2010 outline specific processes that must be followed during investigations. Adherence to these procedures protects organisations from potential legal challenges and penalties while ensuring consistency and fairness in how cases are handled.

Understanding Constructive Dismissal

In scenarios where due process is not followed, the risk of constructive dismissal claims increases. Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns due to the employer’s conduct breaching the contract of employment to such an extent that it is untenable for them to remain. Claims of constructive dismissal can have significant legal and financial repercussions for employers, including compensation claims and reputational damage.

Do As Vaughn Says, Not As He Does!

It’s important to consider that Welsh ministers can be dismissed by the First Minister or through a vote of no confidence without legal recourse. This reflects the political nature of their appointments and dismissals, which are governed by the procedures set out in the Government of Wales Act 2006, rather than standard employment law. Fair?

The moral evaluation ultimately comes down to balancing the need for effective and accountable governance with principles of fairness and due process. The current system prioritises political flexibility and accountability, considering measures to enhance fairness and transparency could address some moral concerns while preserving the effectiveness of governance.

As the story of Hannah Blythyn’s dismissal continues to develop, it serves as a stark reminder of the importance of proper investigation procedures. Despite the rules being different between politics and business, ensuring fairness, transparency, and adherence to standards is crucial. For business leaders, this incident highlights the need to reflect on, and possibly reevaluate, how internal investigations are conducted within their organisations. After all, the integrity of the process is just as important as the outcome!