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Supermarket worker was likely "victim of own loyalty", Tribunal rules

Supermarket worker was likely

Saturday 08 April 2023

Supermarket worker was likely "victim of own loyalty", Tribunal rules

Saturday 08 April 2023

A former supermarket store manager was described as a "victim of her own loyalty" by the Employment Tribunal after losing her claim for wrongful dismissal following a spat with her manager.

Tania Newall, a former manager at Morrisons Val Plaisant, had her claims in respect of wrongful dismissal and untaken rest periods dismissed by the Tribunal after accusing her former manager of "screaming and shouting" at her over the phone.

Mrs Newall, who worked for Sandpiper for 21 years prior to her departure, handed in her notice on 16 June 2022 following a confrontation with her former manager, Mr Antony Bray.


Pictured: Mrs Newall claimed that Mr Bray was "screaming and shouting" at her over the phone.

Mrs Newall claimed that Mr Bray was "screaming and shouting" at her over the phone when she asked him to arrange cover for her as a result of her need to take leave for a surgery. 

She said: "I was speaking to Antony on the phone from my kitchen, and my husband was in the living room and could hear the screaming and shouting of Antony. That's how loud it was."

She claimed she was "disrespected, verbally abused and screamed at for something that was not [her] fault".

Mrs Newall added: "After 21 years of hard work, honesty and loyalty on that same day I emailed and gave my notice due to the way Anthony treated me that day.

However, the Tribunal found that "her claim for constructive unfair dismissal is not supported by the weight of the evidence." 


Pictured: Mrs Newall declined the opportunity to raise a grievance against Mr Bray while employed with Sandpiper.

The Tribunal's Deputy Chair, Advocate Cyril Whelan, noted in his written judgement that Mrs Newall declined the opportunity to raise a grievance against Mr Bray while employed with Sandpiper, and only raised a grievance three months after she had left the company. 

It was also noted that Mrs Newall was given a number of options to remain at the company. Mr Andrew Holmes, Sandpiper Senior Officer, testified that he wanted to find a role for Mrs Newall in which she would be happy. However, she told him that her main reason for leaving was that she didn't want to work in retail anymore and needed a better work life balance for her and her family. 

Moreover, third party evidence was presented to the Tribunal to the effect that Mr Bray did not "swear or raise his voice" during the phone call in question, and "was no more than being firm because what was being asked for should already have been done by Mrs Newall". 

Advocate Whelan noted that: "On all of the evidence presented to us both in writing and at the hearing... We are unable to conclude that Mr Bray addressed Mrs Newall unreasonably or abusively during the telephone conversation of 16 of June 2022." 


Pictured: Mrs Newall's claims were dismissed by the Employment Tribunal.

With regard to her claim of compensation for untaken rest periods, Advocate Whelan noted: "Mrs Newall has offered no particularisation and it is impossible for the Tribunal to adjudicate a claim put forward in that way."

He added: "It may be that Mrs Newall was a victim of her own loyalty. No doubt management of the Val Plaisant shop in the circumstances of the labour market as it then existed was greatly demanding and stretched her to a point at which she felt unable to balance the job and the needs of her family; no doubt she was in no frame of mind to receive a reminder of her management duties by Mr Bray on the occasion of which she makes complaint, particularly with day surgery imminent.

"We believe Mrs Newall to have been an honest and accomplished person, putting events as she truly saw them in a restrained and impressive way over the course of a long hearing."

Mr Stephen Forrester represented Sandpiper CI during the Tribunal.

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