Employee awarded £42,000 in compensation after firing in car park (Mr G F Dolby v Stuart Plant Ltd: 3312733/2019)

In the case of Mr G F Dolby v Stuart Plant Ltd 3312733/2019 the Employment Tribunal held that a lack of consultation on Mr Dolby’s redundancy process rendered his dismissal unfair, awarding him £42,000 in compensation.

The facts in Mr G F Dolby v Stuart Plant Ltd

Mr G F Dolby commenced employment with Stuart Plant Ltd as a Business Development Manager on 4 January 2010 on a gross salary of £42,000.  

On 2 November 2018, Mr G F Dolby was called to a meeting with Mr Stuart Sayer, the Managing Director, in the Holiday Inn in Peterborough for a “catch-up”. Whilst walking back across the car park was informed out-of-the-blue he was being made redundant.

On 5 November 2018, Mr G F Dolby sent Mr Sayer an email setting out his dismay and upset at his dismissal, and also requested payment of his annual profit share bonus of £15,000 he had received in previous years.  Mr Sayer acknowledged the email on the same date and said he would “be back soonest”.

On 3 January 2019, Mr G F Dolby sent a letter to Mr Sayer as part of a grievance against Mr Russell Tregent, the Rental Director, and also submitted a letter challenging the legality of dismissal letter, and the dismissal itself.  The letter raised amongst other things, the fact that “There was no discussion about potential alternative job roles” in particular the role of Key Account Manager (KAMs).  A reply was not received to his letters.

On 18 January 2019, Mr G F Dolby instructed his solicitors to write to Mr Sayer. That letter made the point (amongst others) that the company had failed to consider the alternative vacant position of KAM. Mr G F Dolby did not receive a reply to this letter either. Mr Sayer, did eventually respond on behalf of the company, to a further letter from the Claimant’s solicitors of 6 February 2019, stating in a letter of 13 February 2019 that the company would defend these actions if necessary.

The Claimant argued that the following events amounted to unfair dismissal due to:

  • The manner in the way he was dismissed was unfair;
  • There had been a failure to offer him suitable alternative employment;
  • The decision had already been made to dismiss him before he was “consulted”;
  • The employer had lied about offering suitable alternative employment which he would have been more than capable of doing and willing to do.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal held that Mr Dolby had been unfairly dismissed, based on a lack of meaningful consultation or offer of suitable alternative employment.

The Employment Tribunal awarded Mr Dolby the sum of £42,000 as compensation for his unfair dismissal (capped at one years’ gross salary).

Our lawyers’ view on Mr G F Dolby v Stuart Plant Ltd

Stephen Norton, legal adviser in the employment team at Redmans, commented on the case: “The employer attempted to create a smokescreen around the unfairness of their actions by painting a picture of the employee, having performance and attendance issues but they produced no evidence to support this, as well as claiming an offer of suitable alternative employment was made which also turned out to be untrue. On top of this there was no meaningful consultation, only a cruel and unfeeling matter-of-fact comment during a walk across a car park, that ended someone’s employment.”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Mr G F Dolby v Stuart Plant Ltd 3312733/2019 can be found here.