A Polish heavy goods vehicle driver has successfully sued his employer for £14,850 after a tribunal ruled he was unfairly dismissed and racially victimised at his place of work.
53-year-old Mr Stanislaw Kosik, who lives in Liverpool, took legal action against Montgomery Transport Limited after being dismissed for alleged misconduct in 2011. His claim for unfair dismissal and race discrimination was brought against the leading European logistics company.
The employee had been working at the company since 2005 and had a clean disciplinary record but was sacked for gross misconduct following an incident in 2011, which saw his vehicle tip over while making a delivery to a client in Wales. The reasons given for his dismissal were attributed to “performing an unsafe action in reversing his vehicle causing it to overturn” and “placing his own life and those around him at risk.”
Stanislaw claimed that he had done everything in his power to prevent the incident, which resulted in damage to the vehicle. He also said a witness statement provided, clarifying his position, was ignored by his employer. Following the event, he was left in Wales for two days without transport and assistance from his employer.
The driver also stated he and other Polish workers were treated differently from their British counterparts and were always given older vehicles. When he was involved in a separate incident, the road traffic controller “screamed at him” and despite making a complaint, he didn’t ever receive a response from his employer.
The judgement found that Stanislaw was unfairly dismissed contrary to section 98 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, and the claim against nationality discrimination was successful due to the unfair allocation of vehicles.
A member of Unite, Stanislaw was represented by Unite Legal Services throughout his case.
A solicitor from Unite Legal Services commented: “Mr Kosik had performed his job to a suitable degree. His employer did not conduct an investigation resulting in a complete failure to give him a fair chance at appealing the decision of gross misconduct.
“The member's attempts to bring the racial discrimination to the attention of his employer were also ignored.
“This should serve as a warning to any employer that they need to take the rights of all employees seriously, no matter what their nationality, age or sex.”
Howard Beckett, director of Unite Legal Services, said: “The case of Stanislaw Kosik shows the importance of the legal services that Unite, the country’s largest union, provides to its 1.4 million members who face unfair dismissal and racial discrimination in the workplace.
“An individual by themselves could not afford the legal fees to take on a company such as Montgomery Transport Limited.
“Unite Legal Services will vigorously defend its members who suffer unfair treatment wherever and whenever it occurs.”