Warehouse supervisor compensated for unfair dismissal
Radford HMY Group Limited has been ordered to pay compensation for unfairly dismissing a Unite member over a text just one day after offering him voluntary redundancy.
45-year-old Michael Ranson was employed as a warehouse supervisor by Radford HMY Group Limited for more than 22 years but opted for voluntary redundancy when it was offered in October 2014.
The day before a meeting with HR to discuss the redundancy Mr Ranson and his line manager were involved in a dispute via email about a colleague’s work.
Mr Ranson followed up the emails with two text messages to his line manager, which used explicit language and said that he was going to report the incident to HR. He then tried to call his line manager to explain the texts.
The texts were reported to the warehouse manager, who suspended Mr Ranson pending a disciplinary hearing, effectively cancelling his redundancy meeting.
At the disciplinary meeting despite, no real investigation had been carried out by his employer Mr Ranson was dismissed on the grounds that he had ‘used abusive language’.
Mr Ranson sought advice from Unite Legal Services who instructed Thompsons Solicitors. The employer refused to enter into any negotiations and the claim proceeded to a contested Tribunal hearing where the member was represented by Unite Legal Services and Thompsons.
After considering the evidence and legal argument, the Tribunal judge ruled that the company had not followed its own procedures and had unfairly dismissed Mr Ranson.
Mr Ranson said: “After 22 years’ service at the company it was a shame that it ended in such difficult circumstances. My employer dismissed me without hearing my side of the story, ignoring that I apologised after sending the texts and didn’t even follow their own procedures.
“It was a really difficult time and I was so glad that Unite Legal Services were there to represent me. Fortunately, I have now moved on and found work with another company.”
Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union said: “It’s clear that the employer did not act reasonably in this case. After the incident, management staff went straight to sanction, which is against its own written policies.
“Procedures for misconduct and dismissal are there to be followed, not flouted at the whim of an employer.”
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