Tribunal awards £2 for employer's refusal of unsuitable companion at disciplinary hearing

Mr Gnahoua was a bus driver at Abellio London Ltd (Abellio). He was dismissed for gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing. On appeal, Mr Gnahoua told Abellio that he wished to be accompanied by two brothers, who had formed the PTSC union, of which Mr Gnahoua was also a member. Abellio refused this request stating it had banned the brothers from representing its staff at hearings due to their “threatening behaviour” and “dishonesty”. Therefore, Mr Gnahoua attended the appeal unrepresented and the decision to dismiss him was upheld.
Mr Gnahoua subsequently brought various claims in the tribunal, which included that Abellio had denied him the opportunity to be accompanied at his disciplinary appeal hearing. The employment tribunal accepted that, by refusing to allow the two brothers to attend the appeal, Abellio was in breach of Mr Gnahoua’s statutory right to be accompanied. Notwithstanding this finding, the tribunal accepted that Abellio had “strong grounds” for refusing Mr Gnahoua’s choice of companion. It also appreciated that Mr Gnahoua had not suffered any loss because of the breach because Abellio had conducted the appeal hearing in a fair and thorough manner. Therefore, the tribunal considered that a nominal award of £2 was appropriate in the circumstances.
The full case report can be found here: Mr M Gnahoua v. Abellio London Ltd 

Helena Rozman

About Helena Rozman

Helena has experience in acting for both employees and employers covering both contentious and non-contentious work. Helena's experience includes defending Employment Tribunal claims and engaging in settlement negotiations; advising clients on complex disciplinary matters, exit strategies and large restructuring exercises, including TUPE and redundancy; co-ordinating and responding to data subject access requests; advising on the employment implications on business and asset purchases and outsourcing arrangements; project managing and advising clients on multi-jurisdictional projects with our international offices; drafting settlement agreements for exiting employees; advising on the employment aspects of corporate transactions and undertaking due diligence; and reviewing contracts, company handbooks and policies.

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