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Jenny McKenzie
Jenny McKenzie,
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5425
Experience:  10 Years of experience in Employment Law and HR
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I was wondering if you could give me advise on the following

Customer Question

I was wondering if you could give me advise on the following reguarding my recent dismissal.
For the passed 5+ years I have worked as a car parking attendant on a Tesco car park ( working for a contracted car park company ).
Recently I was dismissed from my job due to an accusation & what the management reguard as an act of GROSS MISCONDUCT.
The story is as follows.
The allegations involve myself using the Tesco price promise vouchers ( vouchers that are given to you if your shopping would be cheaper in a rival store they give you a coupon with the difference to use next time you shop).
At the beginning of June 2013 whilst I was on duty that day I went into the store to purchase some goods. I had with me 6 of these vouchers that I have saved up. these vouchers were obtained from my & my wifes shopping + a few given to me in good faith from relatives & my colleague ( as we swopped various coupons between each other ).
The checkout operator questioned me as to not knowing how many coupons could be used at one time,& was imformed by a supervisor that there was not any limit. I made my purchase.
Later that day one of the staff imformed me that one of the Tesco department managers had questioned them asking if they had seen me removing these coupons from shopping trollies left outside the store.
(Both of us on the car park helped out by gathering up trollies & also removing rubbish from them & putting the rubbish in the litter bins.)
The member of staff told the manager that he had not seen me removing any coupns.
The next day another member of staff asked me if my colleague was working that day as the same manager wanted to speak to him.
I told them he wasn't.
I telephoned my colleague & informed him that this manager wanted to speak to him as to what about I did not know.
On my colleagues next day on duty this manager spoke to him & all they wanted was the area supervisor's tel. no. ( they could have asked me for that previously.)
On my next day on duty this manager approached me and told me she had been trying to contact the supervisor without success,I told them I would try & let the supervisor know that they wanted to speak to them.
I contacted the supervisor & told them that this manager wanted to speak to them.
When our supervisor did managee to speak to this manager the manager informed them that they had reason to believe that I had been removing these coupons from trollies and using them in the store.
I told my supervisor the story as to why I had these coupons as previously stated.
My supervisor then informed me that if I got coupons in future to try and aviod using them in the store and to use them at another store in the area. ( this was also told to me by other members of Tesco staff ).
I did not use any further coupons from then on.
I had used various coupons prior to this incident including @price promise coupons '.
About the 2nd week of July I had a tele. call To inform me that I had been suspended due to an allegation by the store manager & that a disciplinary hearing had been arranged to explain what the allegation was about. this hearing was done over the phone.
The allegation was that I had been found to be using coupons that were not mine in the store and that this was an act of gross misconduct and the store manager wanted me removed from the car park.
I once again told my side of the story but the manager stood by their decision.
The manager had just returned after a few weeks holiday 7 was not on holiday at the beginning of June when the incident took place.
At no time was I asked about the vouchers by the store management or told that we could not use vouchers given by other poeple.
I was told by the parking company that as there was no vacancies to transfer me to in the area that they would have to terminate my employment and they did, so now I am unemployed and at 59yrs of age not likley to get further employment.
I wrote a few letters to the store manager to explain the situation ,these letters seemed to have been passed onto tesco head office and they have said in a reply that the decision is to be upheld & i am not to contact the store management in future reguarding this case.
What are my options in this case, could I possibly sue the management involved in the allegations (without any proof being provided ).
I have people that will testify as to giving me these coupons in good faith. My colleague is at present still working at the site,and everyone I have spoken to have all said it is ridiculous & I should never have lost my job. Can you advise thanks K. STEWART
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Jenny McKenzie replied 1 year ago.

Jenny McKenzie :

Hello and welcome to Just Answer, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I am happy to help you with your query today.

Jenny McKenzie :

When was your employment terminated?

Customer:

On 23-07-2013

Jenny McKenzie :

Have you appealed against the dismissal?

Customer:

Yes but the decision was upheld by tesco, so the car parking company had to abide by Tesco's decision

Jenny McKenzie :

Ok so the position is that the car parking company has said it had no alternative due to the Tesco's decision that you could not be on site anymore?

Jenny McKenzie :

Does the car park company run any other carparks local to you? Were you paid notice on your dismissal?

Customer:

Yes Tesco did not want me on the site.

Customer:

The car parking company at present does not have any local sites.

Jenny McKenzie :

Ok thanks were you paid notice?

Customer:

I put in a claim for unfair dismissal because the car parking companry did not want to pay any notice period and through acas reached a sum i was in agreement with although i do not believe it was the full amount that I was entitled to.

Jenny McKenzie :

have you signed a formal settlement through ACAS?

Customer:

Yes

Jenny McKenzie :

Ok, the legal position is as follows, if you were employed by Tesco then it would potentially have been unfair for you to dismissed for gross misconduct for this reason. There are 5 fair reasons for dismissal under UK law which are conduct, capability, redundancy, some other substantial reason and for breach of a statutory enactment (this is where it would be illegal to employ someone).

Jenny McKenzie :

The car park company that employs you could not continue to employ you if the client (TESCO) said that they no longer wanted you on site. They therefore had 'Some other substantial reason' to dismiss you as they could potentially have lost the contract altogether if they did not terminate your contract. If they had got another site they could have moved you to (which they said that they did not then it would not have been fair for you to be dismissed).

Jenny McKenzie :

As the dismissal should have been for 'some other substantial reason' not gross misconduct you had a valid claim for notice pay and unfair dismissal (on a procedural basis). Unfortunately if you have already signed a settlement through ACAS the Employment Tribunal will not be prepared to reopen your case again.

Jenny McKenzie :

I am sorry that this is not the answer you wanted but UK employment law does not always act to favour the employee.

Jenny McKenzie :

If you have any further questions please ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.

Customer:

SO I cannot go any further with this then as reguards sueing for false allegations etc.

Jenny McKenzie :

It would be a very hard claim to prove against Tesco and would cost you tens of thousands of pounds to bring. The risk is that you would not succeed as the Employment Tribunal is the correct recourse not the civll court and you would lose your costs plus Tesco's costs. I would not advise you to try to bring such a claim.

Customer:

Thanks for your answer

Jenny McKenzie,
Satisfied Customers: 5425
Experience: 10 Years of experience in Employment Law and HR
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Jenny McKenzie
Jenny McKenzie
Solicitor
5425 Satisfied Customers
10 Years of experience in Employment Law and HR