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‘Egregiously unfair’ dismissal costs employer £30,000

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The employer, Michelin, dismissed their employee who was signed off with stress.

The employee had organised a search party to look for his best friend’s missing son. The employee was devastated when it was confirmed that the missing boy died falling from cliffs at Arbroath. Soon after two friends of the missing boy were murdered. While being on one week’s sick leave due to the stress caused by the tragedy, the employee was captured on a Facebook picture attending a gin festival to take his mind of events. The dismissal followed when the Claimant’s bosses at the leading tire company saw the picture.
The Employment Tribunal awarded the employee £29,485 in compensation and the judge said he was considering imposing a £5,000 fine on Michelin for its unjustifiable handling of the case.

In the Tribunal’s written judgment it was found that Michelin did not engage with the employee’s explanation for being absent or attending the gin festival. Instead, the employee had to go through ‘hostile questioning’, ‘remarkably intensive’ management and a ‘flagrant disregard’ for fairness.

Michelin commented that the judgment would be taken very seriously and further investigation will be done.