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Case Studies

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Manager pays the price for losing his cool and sacking sales executive

Published 11 July 2018

Being on the receiving end of your boss losing his temper is never nice.

Now imagine, that at the same time, he throws items at you, insults and swears at you and then dismisses you on the spot.

It will give you some idea of how Clive felt when it happened to him at the South East-based car showroom where he had worked for 12 years.

His boss hurled a mobile phone, stapler and plastic bottle of water at him along with a barrage of foul-mouthed abuse and insults after claiming Clive called him the C-word when the two had a heated disagreement over a sale. He told Clive there and then that he was fired and to get out.

Clive protested and argued he could not be sacked without first having a disciplinary hearing. The manager told him he had just had one, and that if he did not leave he would physically remove him from the premises.

Luckily all of the items thrown missed Clive, who denied making the comment, but he was left badly shaken by the incident. Clive and his manager were the only two people in the office at the time

Shocked Clive left and thought it best to give his manager time to calm down before trying to reason with him.

The following morning he phoned work, his manager refused to take the call and relayed the message that Clive was fired and he would see him in court if he was not happy about it.

Clive wrote to the company’s HR department to appeal against the decision to dismiss him. The company arranged an appeal hearing to be chaired by a regional director.

Clive then contacted the Castle Associates employee support centre for advice. The only information Clive could provide our representative with was a copy of the letter that confirmed the date, time and venue for his appeal hearing.

Crucially the letter also stated the date of Clive’s dismissal, which it claimed was after a disciplinary hearing he attended on the same day.

In preparation for the appeal our representative emailed the company and requested a list of information, which included: a copy of the letter inviting Clive to the disciplinary hearing and informing him of his statutory right to be accompanied by a companion; the evidence to support the decision, the notes of the disciplinary hearing and a copy of the outcome letter.

In response the company only provided two statements from members of staff. Both statements claimed Clive called the manager the C-word.

What our representative noted was significant in both statements was that the witnesses only saw the aftermath of the incident, did not witness what led to it and their accounts of the alleged insult made by Clive was based on what they had been told by the manager.

Clive had informed our representative that he had another job lined up and his preferred outcome to the appeal was to leave with a settlement agreement.

Our representative did not receive the information he requested from the company prior to the appeal hearing. However, he saw the hearing as an ideal opportunity to initiate a discussion about a settlement because the case against Clive was evidently so unfair it was likely to help in those negotiations, and to get Clive his ideal outcome.

To his credit the appeal hearing chair was very reasonable and recognised how badly the matter had been handled.

Our representative highlighted breaches of employment law, the ACAS Code of Practice and the company’s own policies.

The appeal hearing chair also acknowledged our representative’s assertion that Clive had good grounds for a formal grievance against his manager, but pursuing it would prolong the matter.

Clive was very reasonable in what he wanted in the financial part of the settlement agreement and the discussions were, unusually, pretty straightforward.

The dismissal was removed from Clive’s record and the agreement was signed days later – and a week before he was due to start his new job.

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