Former leisure boss wins Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal on appeal
Mr Tom McNeill commenced employment with Aberdeen City Council in 1985 and worked for the Council for a period of 21 years until his resignation in July 2006. Problems came to the surface for Mr McNeill at the Council in 2005 when he reported one of his colleagues for having a sexual relationship with a manager. This colleague subsequently made complaints to the Council that Mr McNeill had discussed the sexual relationship allegations with other colleagues in the workplace and that this amounted to misconduct. Mr McNeill was therefore suspended on 16 August 2005 and an investigation and disciplinary process was carried out on the basis of two allegations: firstly, that he had breached the confidentiality of an interview that he had undergone regarding the complaint against his senior manager; and, secondly, that he had made remarks that were defamatory and undermined the position of a female colleague. The investigation (and Mr McNeill’s suspension) continued for almost a year until he resigned on 27 July 2006, contending that the Council had breached its duty of trust and confidence towards him by failing to carry out a reasonable investigation. He subsequently instructed employment law solicitors and made a claim for constructive dismissal in the Employment Tribunal.
Mr McNeill was successful in his claim for constructive dismissal in the Employment Tribunal and was awarded a basic and compensatory award (although the latter was reduced by 50% because of his contributory conduct). However, the Council appealed and were successful at the Employment Appeal Tribunal, with the original ruling being overturned. However, Mr McNeill appealed the EAT’s verdict to the Court of Session and his appeal came to the court on 28 November 2013. The Court of Appeal upheld in the original Employment Tribunal verdict in Mr McNeill’s favour and Mr McNeill’s award of (reportedly) £26,028 was legally reinstated to him.
Redmans Solicitors were not in any way associated with this case