Singe Benefits: £4785 for "causing" first degree burns.....

A warning for all employers that however appalling an employee's behaviour might be you can still end up losing an Employment Tribunal claim. In Gemma Notman v Hair Flair Salon a customer was getting highlights in her hair. She was left with a wound of about two to three inches wide on her head and hair began falling out. She went to casualty and then a burns unit, where specialists said there was a good chance her hair would not grow back.

The hairdresser was suspended following complaints by the customer. The Salon sent out a letter inviting her to a meeting to discuss gross misconduct. It did not specify what the alleged misconduct was or indicate that she was at risk of dismissal. At the hearing matters were raised which had not been referred to before. The Tribunal found that the real reason for dismissal was not that they believed the hairdresser had burnt the customer's head but because they wanted to show the customer that they had dealt with her complaint.

1) always set out that dismissal may be an outcome of a discplinary meeting where that is the case

2) always send out details of allegations of gross misconduct - eg when, where, what , who
3) don't get someone to put acid on your head

Office Parties - who needs them?

Presumably the answer is employment lawyers given two case reported this week:

Firstly The Times reports Chi v The Investors Club Limited :
He drunkenly groped her at NYT nightclub in the West End of London in December that year. She said: “He made unwanted advances towards me, including caressing me on a couch, even though I made it clear I wanted to go home.“He started to caress my back and asked me to stay a little longer. I said ‘no’, but he kept insisting and continued to caress my back for the duration that I was sitting there. He offered to pay for a taxi for my colleague and said he would take me home personally at the end of the night. Again I declined his offer.”

The Tribunal disabused the boss of his belief that an email saying " Someone's got the hots for you" was "lighthearted banter". The financial award has yet to be made but will be high.

The second case Richard Fleming v Jabil Circuits Ltd. Fleming was asked to organise the annual bash for his department, paid for by the company. 10 staff were expected to attend. He was given a cash advance of £150, booked a restaurant and advised everyone of the time and place. However only 2 turned up including him. Rather than wonder why everyone disliked them, they decided to have their meal, drink two or three bottles of wine which had already been opened, then go on a bar crawl part of which was not with co-workers. The next day the organiser of this very social evening submitted an expenses claim for £144 to one manager and eventually told another manager that only one other person had turned up. He was sacked for spending almost £300 on himself, another coworker and friends. The Tribunal awarded him £13,000 for unfair dismissal - having reduced the award as he was partly to blame for the dismissal in not telling his boss immediately that only 2 people turned up. Sometimes it's safer for mangers to shake their heads and laugh rather than get gung-ho.

"Go up the road and find another job" = £4000 unfair dismissal award

In Stephen Welsh v Raymond Barnes the Glasgow Tribunal has award £4000 to an asthmatic worker who arrived late at work after a chest infection. His boss told him to go up the road and find another job. He responded by telling his boss where he could shove the job. The employer thought this was a resignation - in reality it was a direct dismissal by the boss. The award was reduced by the Tribunal as they felt the worker did have a poor attendance record and would have been dismsised fairly eventually for poor performance.