Former deckhand wins compensation after boss threatens to stab him

by Redmans Solicitors on March 18, 2014

  • SumoMe

A former deckhand has won compensation in the Employment Tribunal after a director of the firm that employed him threatened to stab him to death and throw him over the side of the boat, according to the Grimsby Telegraph.

Mr Dean Wilbourne-Kay started work with Access Offshore Marine Limited in June 2012 as a deck hand a a cook and worked principally aboard a tugboat. During his 11 months of employment with the firm he underwent the following conduct:

  • That he was ignored when he raised the fact that he was working with an intoxicated crew member
  • That he hadn’t been provided with suitable personal protective equipment and was ignored when he raised this issue with a director
  • That he had been told to “f*** off” when he raised with a director the issue that he hadn’t received sea survival training
  • That one of the directors of the firm threatened to knock him out when Mr Wilbourne-Kay stated that he wasn’t qualified to do a particular job
  • That one of the directors of the firm threatened to stab him when he reported the firm to the Maritime Coastguard Agency

As a result of the conduct, Mr Wilbourne-Kay also stated that he developed clinical depression and had been prescribed anti-depressants to treat this.

Mr Wilbourne-Kay stated that he was subsequently dismissed from his position on 31 May 2013 for the purported reason that he wasn’t capable of performing the job of deckhand and cook. He contended that he had appealed the decision to dismiss him but that the firm had not responded to his appeal. Mr Wilbourne-Kay subsequently made an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal and detriment due to protected disclosure and the claim came to a hearing earlier this year.

The case came before the Lincoln Employment Tribunal earlier this year, with Employment Judge John Blackwell chairing the Employment Tribunal. No representatives for Access Offshore Marine Limited attended the Employment Tribunal hearing and only Mr Wilbourne-Kay gave evidence. The Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of Mr Wilbourne-Kay in his claims, holding that he had been unfairly dismissed and that he had been subjected to various detriments because he had made protected disclosures. Employment Judge Blackwell also stated that the former employee could have made a claim for victimization but that Mr Wilbourne-Kay had not raised this. Mr Wilbourne-Kay was awarded £16,452.79 for loss of earnings, loss of statutory rights, and failure to receive written particulars of employment.

Mr Wilbourne-Kay appears not to have commented on the outcome of the case but Access Offshore Marine Limited gave the following statement: “Access Offshore Marine Ltd totally refutes the serious allegations made by Dean Wilbourne-Kay. The company was not at the industrial tribunal to dismiss them because it was following agreed legal advice.”

Chris Hadrill, an employment law solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Although the Respondent states that it did not attend the Employment Tribunal as it was following legal advice, it is strongly advised that any party to litigation prepare for and attend their Employment Tribunal hearing as a failure to do so may lead to a compensation being awarded against them and even – potentially – an award of costs.”

Redmans Solicitors are employment solicitors and unfair dismissal solicitors based in Richmond, London

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