- By Paul Sullivan LLM MCIM
The Industrial Tribunals in Belfast recently considered a scenario not dissimilar to an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares with a liberal seasoning of The F-Word.
By was of background, the Claimant was employed as a chef at the Respondents’ restaurant between January 2017 and March 2018. He was paid cash in hand each week, with no written statement of terms and conditions of employment nor did he not receive pay slips from the Respondents.
An altercation occurred between the Claimant and one of the Respondents in a busy kitchen on Easter Monday last year. The outcome of this was that the Claimant left the premises never to return. There was some dispute as to whether he jumped or was pushed. In any event, he was able to secure alternative employment, albeit on reduced hours, within a matter of weeks.
The Industrial Tribunals construed from the conduct of the parties that the Claimant was unfairly dismissed and ordered the Respondent to pay him compensation of £6,655.20.
This is a case which, with the benefit of hindsight, could have been handled better if not avoided altogether.
Complying with statutory obligations, such as providing written statements of terms and conditions of employment, is always a good start. Beyond that, implementing effective workplace policies on respect and discipline might have served to resolve any conflict before it was allowed to escalate.
What steps has your business taken to safeguard against scenarios like this?
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