A man who was dismissed for sharing a competitor firm’s food offer on social media has won an employment tribunal against his former employer, the CIPD has reported.
The Manchester Employment Tribunal heard how Michael Hayward had worked for butchers Noel Chadwick for seven and a half years before he was dismissed for recommending a discount from an online meat retailer.
Mr Hayward was dismissed for gross misconduct and breach of contract by the directors of Noel Chadwick for “advertising” what they believed to be a competitor.
The butchers also alleged that Mr Hayward had breached their social media policy.
However, the butcher said he was not issued a written or verbal formal warning, and alleged that the firm had already decided to dismiss him before they brought him into a disciplinary meeting in April 2016.
Judge Keith Robinson, presiding over the case, called Noel Chadwick “fanciful” for suggesting it experienced any financial or reputational loss because of the Facebook post.
“Hayward’s misdemeanour, if one can call it that, was minor,” the Judge said.
“This is not an advertisement; this [matter] was a wholly mishandled dismissal root and branch. The claimant was dismissed summarily in a process that was reprehensible.”
Mr Hayward was awarded £4,891 in lost wages and compensation, and £1,200 to reimburse his Tribunal fees.
After the hearing, Noel Chadwick said: “We would like to take this opportunity to urge other small-to-medium businesses to ensure that their HR team is doing their job properly and, if they do not have an HR team, to enlist the services of a professional HR consultancy for the protection of both employer and employee.”