Following Adam Johnson's conviction for sexual activity with a child and his subsequent six year sentence (both of which are now the subject of an appeal), it has been well documented that his former employer, Sunderland Football Club, found themselves under intense media scrutiny resulting in the resignation of their chief executive Margaret Byrne in March. Organisations are frequently judged both internally and externally by their response to disciplinary issues involving their employees and, with the benefit of hindsight, the court of public opinion has judged that Sunderland handled this badly. In this article we consider the options that were available to Sunderland in dealing with the accusations against Johnson, the factors they could have taken into account and consider how they might have handled this matter differently.
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© Farrer & Co LLP, April 2016