Comments and a ‘slap’ result in a £24k award for unfair dismissal!

An employee who claimed that she was forced to resign after a company director said her great-grandson needed ‘a good slap’ has been awarded more than £24,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal.

The tribunal heard that the employee of nearly 20 years’ service was a foster carer for her great-grandson. The employee stated that she experienced emotional distress whilst caring for her great-grandson alongside juggling work.

The employer was supportive initially until she was required to collect her great grandson from school due to behavioural issues.  There were times where the caring duties impacted upon work and the employer was concerned that the employee’s productivity suffered as a result.

The Director’s comments included that the employee “should give X a good slap” or that “X was just a naughty child” plus “it never did any harm to my kids”.  Another instance occurred within a close time period when the employee arrived late for work and was told to “stop chatting and concentrate on your work”.

The tribunal found that the director had made assumptions about the situation and that there had been “aggressive” criticism of the employee and her family, as well as frustration with her care commitments which damaged the trust and confidence she had in her employer. This meant that her resignation amounted to unfair dismissal.

Should you be supporting employees in a similar situation, contact 121 HR Solutions on 0800 995 121 on how best to manage this constructively.

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