Case law updates

Grievance process at fault in successful constructive dismissal claim.

A former Weetabix employee has won a constructive dismissal case against the company after resigning twice over his manager’s “profane management style”. The employment tribunal found that Gary Mobbs, former health, safety and environment manager had been forced to leave his job due to aggressive management and an unfair grievance investigation and appeal process

This combination was found to have breached the implied terms of trust and confidence in Mobbs’ employment contract.

After 25 years of untroubled service Mobbs tendered his resignation in 2018 because of his new manager’s bullying and harassing style of management. Having been persuaded to stay after a promise from the manager of a change in behaviour, when that did not happen Mobbs raised a formal grievance against in November 2019, but the next month the manager was promoted. 

Interviews under the grievance process did not get underway for over a month and concluded that the manager was not at fault.  The Tribunal took the view that the investigation lacked balance, noting in particular that the outcome letter did not align to the evidence gathered/

Weetabix’s approach to Mobbs’ appeal of the decision was also poor, the tribunal found.  The manager was not interviewed during the appeal process and little reference was made at any stage in the grievance process to Weetabix’s own dignity at work policy. Moreover no record was taken during appeal meetings, which were only summarised later in emails. These emails were found to be inaccurate by the Tribunal.. 

In response to the Tribunal criticism a Weetabix spokesperson said: “We are proud of our reputation as a fair and inclusive employer. We expect the highest standards of conduct from all Weetabix employees, so undertook a full investigation when this matter came to light. Whilst we respect the tribunal judgement, we are confident in our grievance handling processes and the steps taken, so consider this matter closed.”