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Sandpiper shopworker awarded £6,200 for unfair dismissal

Sandpiper shopworker awarded £6,200 for unfair dismissal

Thursday 17 June 2021

Sandpiper shopworker awarded £6,200 for unfair dismissal

Thursday 17 June 2021

Sandpiper has been ordered to compensate a shop supervisor more than £6,200 for unfairly dismissing her following a fall-out over her line manager's behaviour, withheld sick pay and annual leave.

Her compensation would have been double the amount had she not said that there were other reasons that she resigned from working in the Gorey shop last August.

Anna Grebosz claimed that she was entitled to resign and claim constructive dismissal due to bullying and harassment by her line manager in April and June last year, the failure by the Sandpiper HR team to respond to issues she raised with them, the company’s withholding of sick pay last July and being told on 7 August that she would need to submit her notice, after she asked to return from holiday at a later date.

Ms Grebosz, who resigned that day, said the actions of Sandpiper CI amounted to the implied term of trust and confidence between her and her employer.

After handing in her resignation, Ms Grebosz went on holiday, returning to work at Sandpiper’s Grouville store on 21 September after two weeks of isolation. On 5 October, she attended a disciplinary hearing at which she was dismissed for gross misconduct for unauthorised absence.

This was revoked and changed to a final written warning after Ms Grebosz appealed. She was also offered a role as supervisor at the firm’s Les Quennevais store, however, she declined this on the basis that she had found another job and the trust between her and Sandpiper had broken down.

Considering the instruction from a member of Sandpiper’s HR team that it “needed a return flight booking or a resignation” from Ms Grebosz, the Tribunal concluded that it was of “the view that a reasonable person in [Ms Grebosz’s] situation would consider that this conduct of [Sandpiper CI] demonstrates that it no longer wished the employment relationship between the parties to continue.”

“The Tribunal is satisfied that instructing the Claimant to resign in these circumstances would destroy or seriously damage the relationship of confidence and trust between employer and employee … so that the relationship is fundamentally damaged and not able to continue as before.”

It added: “The Tribunal considers that [Sandpiper CI] would have had reasonable cause to warn [Ms Grebosz] that she may face disciplinary action upon her return, which could result in her dismissal. 

“However, [the HR team member] went further than this and, in her own words, she told [Ms Grebosz] that [Sandpiper CI] would need her resignation. The Tribunal is of the view that there was no proper cause for this.”

The Tribunal concluded that it was satisfied that Ms Grebosz’s resignation was, at least in part, in response to this conversation on 7 August, therefore she was constructively dismissed and the dismissal was unfair.

However, it added: "Taking into account the fact that [Ms Grebosz] asserts there were other reasons for her resignation and considering whether or not those reasons would have been sufficient to constitute a constructive dismissal, the Tribunal is of the view that there is a 50% chance that, had [Ms Grebosz] indicated she would return to work at the end of her authorised absence, there would have been no constructive dismissal.

"Accordingly, the Tribunal considers it would be just and equitable to reduce the award by 50%."

Ms Grebosz was awarded £6,247.80 in compensation for unfair dismissal and £206 in damages in respect of holiday pay, making a total of £6,453.80.

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