At Howells Solicitors, we see more than our fair share of employment tribunal cases, from the perspective of both employer and employee. Every case is different and sometimes the industry comes up with something slightly out of the ordinary.
Here are some of the most peculiar employment cases of the last few years:
Man sacked for eating a muffin
A café assistant unknowingly broke his restaurants’ new staff canteen policies by eating a muffin. After not being advised that muffins were in fact classed as a ‘cake’ in the new rules, the employee was sacked in absentia after being unable to attend disciplinary hearings. However, a tribunal ruled in his favour, finding that the company communicated poorly and were too hasty in sacking him.
Woman loses employment case over chronic flatulence
A woman who was teased by colleagues over her chronic wind problems claimed disability and racial discrimination against her employer, Leeds Metropolitan University. She said that colleagues would make loud sniffing noises and ‘bowel jokes’ about her. However, a tribunal rejected her claim, saying that her dismissal was because of her poor sickness record and concerns about her performance at work rather than her IBS-related bowel problems.
Teacher claims his anti-Semitic views are a “protected philosophical belief”
A teacher who was sacked after making sexist, racist and anti-Semitic comments claimed to an employment tribunal that he did so because of a “philosophical belief”. He said that his employer discriminated against him because of his views, which should have been protected under the Equality Act. Deeming that his views were “not worthy of respect… and not incompatible with human dignity”, a tribunal rejected his claim.
Serial urinators caught by covert CCTV
Five employees who were caught on secret CCTV cameras relieving themselves on company property were found to have been fairly dismissed. The tribunal dismissed claims that urinating outside had become a part of the company culture and ruled that the company was right to make the most of covert CCTV systems to catch the perpetrators.
Employee ‘assaults’ boss with a plate of toast
After claiming to have been teased by his line manager, a Royal Mail worker threw a cup of hot coffee over his line manager before rubbing a plate of toast over his head. After being sacked for gross misconduct, the employee claimed unfair dismissal and although the tribunal found the original dismissal was flawed, his actions did warrant sacking.
Whatever the circumstances of your unfair dismissal claim, the expert employment law solicitors at Howells can help. Talk to us today about how to get the most from this difficult situation. Visit the website for more information.
Editor’s note: See also our employment lawyer UK directory here.