Haulage workers wins Employment Tribunal unfair dismissal claim

MoJA haulage worker has won his Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal after he was sacked by his employer in 2012 on allegations that he had stolen from his employer.

Mr Norman Kingston was employed for 17 years at Kenyon Road Haulage as a fleet engineer until he was summarily dismissed from his position in 2012 on allegations that he had knowingly taken payments for scrap metal that he knew that he was not entitled to.

Mr Kingston’s problems at Kenyon Road Haulage (“Kenyon”) started in October 2011 when an investigation was commenced by his line manager into the fact that employees of the firm would sell scrap metal from the firm’s yard to a third party and distribute the profits to all employees, with this endeavour organised by Mr Kingston. The investigation’s conclusion was that the monies gained from the scrap metal had been misappropriated from the company and that any monies obtained by the employes had been done so without the company’s consent. Mr Kingston was dismissed at a later disciplinary meeting.

Mr Kingston subsequently brought a claim for unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal, alleging that the company had acted outside of the range of reasonable responses in dismissing him from his role.

Mr Kingston’s claim came to the Manchester Employment Tribunal in June 2013, with the Employment Judge holding that Mr Kingston had been unfairly dismissed from his position by the company. The Employment Tribunal found that Mr Kingston had informed Kenyon that he had informed his employer about the selling of the scrap metal and that the money paid by the buyer of the scrap metal was divided up among the workers at the firm. The tribunal also found that the manager undertaking the disciplinary meeting did not have a reasonable or genuine belief in the allegations against Mr Kingston as he was aware at an earlier date of the selling of the scrap metal.

Kenyon appealed the judgment of the employment tribunal but their appeal was unsuccessful, with the appeal being rejected by the Employment Appeal Tribunal earlier this year.

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors commented on the case: “Employers must take care to ensure that any investigations undertaken into allegations of misconduct at work are carried out with fairness, thoroughness and integrity, as if it is later found by an Employment Tribunal that the investigation was unfair, partial or lacking then this could result in a finding of unfair dismissal.