Radford HMY Group Limited has been ordered to pay compensation for unfairly dismissing a Unite member, one day after offering him voluntary redundancy.
45-year-old Michael Ranson was employed as a warehouse supervisor and had worked for the company for more than 22 years.
In October 2014 the company began offering voluntary redundancies to staff. Mr Ranson accepted the offer and was invited to a meeting in November to discuss with the HR manager.
The day before the meeting, Mr Ranson and his line manager were involved in a dispute via email about the work of another employee. Following the disagreement, Mr Ranson sent two text messages to his line manager, which used explicit language and informed his manager that he would 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 took the decision to suspend Mr Ranson pending a disciplinary hearing, effectively cancelling his redundancy meeting.
In December, the hearing took place and Mr Ranson was dismissed on the grounds that he had ‘used abusive language’, however, no real investigation was conducted by his employer.
Mr Ranson sought advice from Unite Legal Services who supported his claim to the Employment Tribunal. The employer refused to enter any negotiations and the claim proceeded to a contested Tribunal hearing where the member was represented by Unite Legal Services.
After considering the evidence and legal argument the Tribunal judge ruled that the company had not followed its own procedures for dismissal in this case, it had unfairly dismissed Mr Ranson and therefore should compensate him.
Mr Ranson said: “I had 22 years’ service at the company and it’s a shame that my time ended under such difficult circumstances. I apologised after sending the texts yet my employer dismissed me without hearing my side of the story or using the correct procedure.
“It was a really difficult time but 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 for a reason – they should be followed, not flouted at the whim of an employer.”