The EAT overturned the decision on the basis that the Tribunal had not properly recognised that there may be a range of reasonable ways in which an employer may react to circumstances which give rise to the dismissal. The Tribunal had also failed to consider whether the decision was made in truly parallel circumstances which made it unreasonable to dismiss Mr Jones. The EAT were of the view that the Employment Judge had not drawn a distinction between a deliberate punch in the face at a workplace and a threat made afterwards that was never carried out. The EAT were therefore of the view that the circumstances were not the same and therefore there was no disparate impact.
This case - MBNA Limited v Jones - shows that employers do have discretion when it comes to what sanctions are applied in disciplinary procedures. In this case the disciplining manager gave evidence to the effect that he believed that Mr Jones had punched Mr Battersby with no real provocation, whereas Mr Battersby had been provoked (by the punch) into sending texts which he would never have acted upon. However, the EAT noted in this case that if circumstances are truly the same then an employer must bear in mind the need for consistency of treatment.