Who? Craig McCracken, 35, employment partner at Manchester firm Nexus.
Why is he in the news? Overturned an employment tribunal’s (ET) verdict of unfair dismissal against an employer for sacking a member of staff whose alleged ‘gross negligence’ had allegedly exposed customers to death or serious injury.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) remitted the matter to a differently constituted ET for fresh determination on 14 November.
Northern Diver, which manufactures deep-sea diving equipment, challenged – in the EAT – an ET ruling that it had failed to make a convincing case for dismissing the employee.
The EAT heard that the dismissed employee was allegedly responsible for not fitting valves to drysuits correctly. If the valve had failed while the diver was underwater, they could have suffered an ‘uncontrolled ascent to the surface, which might result in decompression sickness or worse’ or an ‘uncontrolled descent causing serious injury or death’.
The ET judge, however, had dismissed Northern Diving’s health and safety concerns as ‘relatively mild’, a finding which the EAT ruled was flawed. The EAT also found that the ET judge had not properly explained the basis upon which he had reached his decision.
Thoughts on the case: ‘It’s very difficult to win at the EAT, but I read the ET judgment and could not understand why my client had been unsuccessful.
Why become a lawyer? ‘My father was a policeman and so the law was always of interest.’
Career high: ‘Wilkinson v Springwell Engineering in 2008. This was possibly the first finding of dismissal for being too young.’
Career low: ‘I found myself redundant when just two years qualified – the firm at which I had trained and was still working folded.’