Shocked at Unfair Dismissal Claim – One of the last things any employer wants is to be hauled in front of the courts for a claim of unfair dismissal. No matter how well companies run their businesses, there may come a time when they are taken to an employment tribunal, which can be an unsettling and alarming experience.
Anita’s Beauty Centre in Milton Keynes had to dismiss a member of staff who was so angry at being given her marching orders she decided to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal. She came up with a reason that took the beauty salon’s owners completely by surprise. Raj Deokar, Director of Anita’s Beauty Centre takes up the story.“We wanted to get rid of this employee so we did, but she claimed it was unfair and made a false case saying she was pregnant at the time.”
Raj was sure the salon had a solid defence, but nonetheless there was a stumbling block.
“This former employee went to a pre-tribunal and so we hired a solicitor and used the services of an HR consultant. However, the advice we were given didn’t work. I think this consultant just tried to brush it off.”
Unhappy with how he was being served, Raj reached out to Carolyne Wahlen. She was on a list of recommended suppliers of HR services at an entrepreneurial network he is a member of.
“What helped from Carolyne was that she had a very strong view that the employee’s case wouldn’t survive and I think that built up our confidence. Then we started looking at the evidence that we could gather. We needed to prove that she was making a false claim. Only hard evidence would help.”
And in fact the evidence supporting Anita’s Beauty Centre was compelling. The sacked employee was bringing her case more than a year after being shown the door, and yet there was no baby.
“After 13 months there is either a baby or a pregnancy is terminated, but neither happened in her case. We studied the CCTV footage from our salon which showed that for months and months she was not changing her shape. So her solicitor backed off saying he couldn’t fight for her because she was making a false claim.
“The good advice from Carolyne in conjunction with the solicitor and the proof we had on CCTV meant that the case was dismissed before going to the tribunal. I got the confidence that our case was strong and that is when Carolyne won our trust.”
Impressed by the quality of Carolyne’s advice and her confident and positive attitude during this debacle, Raj decided to sign up to Gap HR’s most comprehensive package of services, the HR Navigator. Of the many benefits Raj believes it has brought the beauty centre, he is particularly struck by Gap’s work on their staff contracts.
“I believe the staff employment contracts they prepare are watertight. They review existing contracts, find out what is missing and then prepare them so nobody can question them. This gives us the feeling that if we follow everything, nothing will go wrong.
“Now if anything were to happen I wouldn’t take any action without consulting Gap HR. If I need to make a tough decision like removing somebody then I feel that I would always get good advice.”
Director – Anita’s Beauty Centre