Osama Bin Laden facemask selfie worker unfairly dismissed, Employment Tribunal rules

MoJA dairy worker who was sacked after he wore an Osama bin Laden facemask to work and took a ‘selfie’ of this was unfairly dismissed, an employment tribunal has ruled.

Robert Mazur worked as a lab technician for Crediton Dairy Limited at its dairy plant in Crediton, Devon, for seven years testing samples of milk, water and chemicals in a sealed room at the plant. On one working day he brought an Osama bin Laden mask into the laboratory and took a photograph of himself with the mask on in the lab, subsequently posting this photo on Facebook. However, the photo that Mr Mazur had taken of himself (commonly known as a ‘selfie’) also showed a fragment of his employer’s logo. The management at the firm subsequently viewed the photo on Facebook and disciplinary proceedings were commenced. This resulted in Mr Mazur being dismissed for gross misconduct on the basis that he had brought his employer into disrepute.

After being dismissed from his employment Mr Mazur made a claim for unfair dismissal to the Employment Tribunal. Mr Mazur also claimed that he had been a victim of bullying and that the diary had escalated a minor issue to gross misconduct after one of his bosses had branded him as “rude and difficult”.

Mr Mazur’s claim came to the Employment Tribunal earlier this year, with the Employment Tribunal ruling in February 2015 that he had been unfairly dismissed. However, the Employment Tribunal also ruled that Mr Mazur was 60% at fault for his dismissal and any award made by the Employment Tribunal will therefore be cut proportionately.

Mr Mazur stated after the judgment of the Employment Tribunal was released: “It has been a very long and exhausting case. Everything was new for me as I have never had to fight for justice in front of court.¬†Bearing in mind I suffered severe depression and am not fully recovered yet. Thankfully I got a lot of support from my friends even those currently employed by Crediton Dairy.”

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Businesses must take decisions to dismiss employees that are reasonable in the circumstances and must also carry out a fair procedure in dismissing employees. If a business fails to take these steps then they could be opening themselves up to litigation in the employment tribunal.”

A remedy hearing will be held at a later date to determine compensation in Mr Mazur’s case.