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Mentally ill TX Maxx employee "unfairly dismissed", rules Tribunal

View profile for Sally Morris
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An Employment Tribunal has ruled in favour of a TX Maxx employee who was dismissed over a dispute involving a pair of trainers.

Ali Sadeghi worked for the retailer for around 13 years, becoming the Kensington store’s general manager in 2016.

The Tribunal heard how after he took up the role, it was alleged that he had behaved inappropriately towards some colleagues. He told his HR manager that he had been suffering a bout of depression which caused him to become short-tempered.

At the time, Mr Sadeghi was receiving therapy and taking medication for his condition.

A separate incident occurred in August 2016, where the general manager said he was abused, including being sworn at loudly, by a customer after he told them he could not refund a pair of trainers because they appeared to be worn outside.

The incident escalated after the customer pulled his phone out and begun recording the argument. As per store procedure, the customer was told by Mr Sadeghi to stop filming before grabbing the phone out of his hand.

The customer complained about the incident, and, after reviewing CCTV footage, Mr Sadeghi was called to a disciplinary hearing and subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct.

Mr Sadeghi sought a claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination at the Employment Tribunal.

The Tribunal ruled that TX Maxx proceeded to dismiss the general manager without first obtaining a professional medical opinion and considering his ongoing mental health issues.

TX Maxx said it had not known about Mr Sadeghi’s depression, but the Tribunal found that this was unlikely, given his meetings with the HR manager.

The Tribunal said: “We do not consider the Claimant’s misconduct amounted to gross misconduct such as to constitute a repudiatory breach of contract”

It added: “We repeat that the Respondent has not shown to our satisfaction that it did not know the Claimant had a disability.”