Whistleblowing garage mechanic wins almost £50,000 in unfair dismissal Employment Tribunal claim

MoJA mechanic who was sacked after accusing his garage bosses of overcharging customers for unnecessary work has won almost £50,000 after succeeding with his legal claims.

Mr Jason Phur, 39, was sacked from his job as a mechanic at the Volksline garage in Canterbury, Kent, after he voiced concerns to company director Nick Sutton that customers were being overcharged and that they were being forced to pay for work that didn’t need to be done. Three weeks after voicing his concerns Mr Phur was told that he was going to be disciplined on allegations of throwing a chair at Mr Sutton. having a ‘negative attitude’ to work, and working at a ‘sub-standard’ level. He was then sacked for misconduct.

After being sacked from his job Mr Phur brought an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal, alleging that he had been dismissed because he had made a protected disclosure (also known as “whistleblowing”).

Mr Phur’s claim came to the Employment Tribunal earlier this year. Mr Phur, giving evidence at the Employment Tribunal, stated that he had verbally raised his concerns with company director Nick Sutton after being told to replace the clutch on a Vauxhall Astra when in fact the car did not need any repairs done to it. He also gave the following evidence to the Employment Tribunal:

  • That a customer was charged £2,500 when he was told to remove the complete cylinder head on a car when it was known that the fault was with the engine control unit
  • That a row had broken out after he had raised his concerns with Mr Sutton
  • That he was subsequently disciplined and dismissed for, among other things, having an allegedly “negative attitude to work”

The Employment Tribunal also heard evidence from another customer, John Forster, that he had been quoted £500 to repair an oil leak and replace brake pads but, upon taking the car to another mechanic he was told that there was nothing wrong with the car.

Mr Sutton, giving evidence at the Employment Tribunal, told the tribunal panel that Mr Phur had been dismissed for his attitude to work and for throwing a chair at work.

The Employment Tribunal ruled in Mr Phur’s favour in his claim for unfair dismissal, making findings of fact that Mr Phur had made a protected disclosure to Mr Sutton and that the reasons for his dismissal were “implausible and inconsistent”. The Employment Tribunal therefore found that Mr Phur had been dismissed for ‘whistleblowing’ and awarded him £46,000 in compensation for his loss of earnings and injury to feelings.

Mr Phur stated after the conclusion of the case: “They just didn’t like the fact that I spoke up against the regime. What they did to me has had a huge emotional and psychological impact upon me.”

Nick Sutton commented after the case: “We have never fitted parts that didn’t need fitting. We are an honest firm which has been operating in Canterbury for 35 years. ‘We always treat our employees well. This whole thing feels like a punch in the throat.”

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “It can often be difficult to succeed with whistleblowing cases but Mr Phur has convinced the Employment Tribunal that his dismissal was caused by the protected disclosure he made. Businesses should ensure that employees are not subjected to detriments or dismissal because they have made protected disclosures.”