An Edwin Coe Employment Partner appeared on the Vanessa Feltz Show on BBC Radio London this morning to discuss the suspension of Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear after allegedly punching a producer on the show. As Edwin Coe commented, if an employee assaults somebody in the workplace this may result in a dismissal for gross misconduct. However, the status of Mr Clarkson may well be different to that of an employee as he may be a contractor to the BBC.
Whether the relationship is one of employee or contractor it is ultimately a decision for the business whether to end the relationship. It can be that the commercial position is that some individuals may be so intrinsic to a business that the business may not wish to support their departure. However, this has to be balanced against the duty of employers to provide a safe place of work and protect the trust and confidence that they owe to all their staff.