A former Virgin Media employee has lost her claims for unfair dismissal and race discrimination in the Employment Tribunal after she was sacked this year for allegedly insulting and harassing her coworkers at a Christmas party.
Ms Tracy Cordiner worked for Virgin Media Limited at their Birmingham city centre base until she was dismissed for her job early this year as a result of allegations made regarding her conduct at the work Christmas party. Included in the allegations made against Ms Cordiner were the claims that she had called one colleague a “black bitch”, had called another woman a “whore” and that she had sexually harassed a male colleague. After the allegations were submitted to Virgin Media an investigation was undertaken and Ms Cordiner was dismissed for gross misconduct. However, she subsequently submitted an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal and race discrimination and the case came to the employment tribunal earlier this month.
Giving evidence at the tribunal, Ms Cordiner denied the allegations but admitted that she had been drunk at the Christmas party. She claimed that the allegations against her were unfounded and part or the whole of the reason why she had been dismissed was that one of the line managers conducting the investigation and disciplinary process had been biased against her. The advocate for the Respondent, Mr William Hamilton, stated that the colleagues who had made the allegations against her told Virgin Media that they would be willing to accept an apology from Ms Cordiner but that no apology had been forthcoming.
The Employment Tribunal, however, rejected Ms Cordiner’s claims for race discrimination and unfair dismissal, finding that they were not well-founded as Virgin Media had a strong view about race discrimination in the workplace and that a fair investigation and disciplinary process had been conducted. Ms Cordiner’s claim for compensation was therefore rejected.
Chris Hadrill, an employment law solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers only have to undertake a reasonable investigation and disciplinary process, as well as have a genuine and honest belief in the allegations against a dismissed employee, to render a dismissal fair – dismissed employees may want to think about taking legal advice if they’re considering bringing a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal”
Please note that Redmans Solicitors are not in any way associated with this case