A Unite member has been successful in his appeal for more compensation after he was unfairly dismissed by his employer of 15 years
He was sacked just three days after his partner of 26 years Ray Berrow was found to have been unfairly dismissed at Cardiff Employment Tribunal and was awarded more than £20,000 in compensation.
Peter Lawless from Hereford was made redundant by Print Plus, based in Hereford, in February 2008.
Despite working for the firm for more than 15 years he was called in by his manager, Mark Adcocks, on Monday the 25th February after his partner’s success at the Employment Tribunal on Friday the 22nd February and told that the company could no longer afford to pay him.
In September 2008 Cardiff Employment Tribunal found that Print Plus had unfairly dismissed Mr Lawless because no selection or consultation process had taken place.
Unite’s lawyers, Thompsons Solicitors, argued that Peter was dismissed because Ray had been successful in his unfair dismissal case against Print Plus the Friday before.
The Employment Tribunal did not find that this was the reason for his dismissal but awarded Mr Lawless £9,000 in compensation plus a 10% increase on his award for Print Plus’ failure to comply with statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedures.
Unite decided to appeal against the decision believing the company should have been made to pay more for not following employment law and the Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed increasing Mr Lawless’ overall award and raising the percentage for the company’s failure from 10 to 40% meaning Mr Lawless has been awarded an extra £5,000.
Neither Mr Berrow nor Mr Lawless have yet received their compensation from Print Plus and Thompsons Solicitors are now to seek the payments through the courts.
Mr Lawless said: “I’m pleased the Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed with the union and Thompsons that Print Plus should pay more for the way I was treated. To be called into the office and told I was being made redundant without any warning – after 15 years and just a few days after my partner had fought his unfair dismissal case through employment tribunal was quite a shock.
“My first thought when the shock wore off was, having been through it with Ray, a dread of having to go through the tribunals system but Unite and Thompsons have been very supportive and have made sure my case has been handled with ease.”
Andy Richards Regional Secretary of Unite Wales said: “This is a great result for Mr Lawless and a fair one. It is yet another example of UNITE supporting its members all the way to ensure they receive the justice they deserve. Employers who fail to follow the rules when they make our members redundant will find it costly.”
Rebecca Spence from Thompsons Solicitors said: “This is an important result and a well deserved increase in compensation for Mr Lawless. The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision to add 40% to the compensation reflects just how seriously they viewed Print Plus’s failure to follow employment law.”