A bank manager who thrived in selling Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) has been awarded £7,500 for wrongful dismissal after she struggled to settle into a new banking culture.
Lynne Adams, a former senior personal banking manager with the TSB, had difficulty meeting targets after the product she excelled in selling was scrapped and sales-related bonuses were removed.
Ms Adams, of Edinburgh, was subsequently accused of being rude and threatening towards customers and of failing to complete loan applications correctly. This meant that people who would not normally have passed affordability tests, did so, and were given loans.
She was dismissed by the TSB in February last year.
Ms Adams took her former employer to a tribunal for unfair dismissal. This was, however, rejected by Employment Judge Susan Walker, who instead upheld a claim for wrongful dismissal as a result of the bank failing to allow her a notice period.
Judge Walker said the decision to dismiss Ms Adams – who had 12 years’ service with the bank – was “harsh” but not unfair.
She added: “Despite my finding in relation to unfair dismissal, I do not consider that the claimant’s conduct was gross misconduct.
“The claimant was therefore entitled to notice both at common law and under TSB’s own disciplinary policy.”
The tribunal heard that the bank awarded bonuses for performance based on points for selling different products.
PPI sales attracted a high number of sales points but when this product was discontinued, Ms Adams struggled to reach her target and became anxious and stressed. Complaints were made.
She received further training but went off sick with stress for 10 weeks in July 2014. When she returned, further complaints were made against her.
Judge Walker added: “I accept that the claimant found the change in culture difficult and the impact on her was particularly acute. She had been a very high performer under the previous hard sell regime and had been valued and rewarded for her efforts both financially and with recognition and praise.
“However, I accept that the respondent had a genuine desire to change the culture and it was not unreasonable for an organisation that was striving to create a different culture and to be seen as focused on customer service to take a firm line with those who it believed would not work within that culture.”