Are you confident of the correct disciplinary procedures which must be followed for any size business?
A former employee of small and well-represented butchers in Wigan, Michael Hayward, was recently dismissed from his role of seven and a half years for recommending a discount from an online retailer butcher.
Hayward was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct for breach of contract by father and son Directors John and Paul Chadwick, for “advertising” what they believed to be a competitor and breaching the company’s social media policy. The butcher firm did not previously have a formal HR function in place and had already decided to dismiss Hayward before they brought him into a disciplinary meeting in April 2016.
According to the employee, he was not issued a verbal or a written warning despite requesting one. He was also not given the opportunity to have someone in with him during the meeting, nor was Hayward given an explanation regarding his actions and no appeal was arranged following Hayward’s sacking therefore, he did not follow up on the matter.
The tribunal highlighted that Hayward had been talked to regarding his social media use before he had posted the offer but was given no warning about how his behaviour could result in a dismissal.
Judge Keith Robinson claimed that Chadwick was ‘fanciful’ for suggesting that the situation has caused the company any financial or reputational loss.
The Judge stated that “Hawyard’s misdemeanor if one can call it that, was minor.” Keith Robinson continued “This is not an advertisement’ this [matter] was a wholly mishandled dismissal root and branch. The claimant was dismissed summarily in a process that was reprehensible.”
The tribunal concluded with Hayward being offered a £6,091 payout – £4,891 in loss of wages and £1,200 to reimburse his tribunal fees.
This case highlights the importance of ensuring you have a full and fair disciplinary process in place before dismissing any employee without a fair reason to do so. aspire cambridge have accredited human resources consultants who experts in the processes of issuing warning or dismissing an employee for gross misconduct and can provide support to businesses who are in need of advice or support.
Chadwick accepted the decision made by the Tribunal, and agreed that they had not followed the correct dismissal procedure in this case and honoured the compensation payment awarded..
Chadwick states that “We would like to take this opportunity to urge other small-to-medium businesses to ensure that their HR team is doing their job properly and if they do not have a HR team, to enlist the services of a professional HR consultant for the protection of both employer and employee”.
If you employ staff then you have a responsibility to ensure you have compliant contracts of employment, policies and procedures in place and deal with any employee related matters correctly. Ignorance will be no defence in the court room!
Why not allow one of our CIPD accredited HR consultants carry out a free HR health check to give you peace of mind that your business is in line with current employment law. We can then offer you pay as you go advice and support moving forward.