Tribunal rules dismissal was not unfair

PUBLISHED: 05:35 16 March 2006 | UPDATED: 14:36 12 May 2010

A COMPANY has been cleared of unfairly sacking a man for refusing to work on a contract which had saved the business from collapse. Plant operator Ken Felstead claimed that bosses at Hiremee had acted unreasonably when they dismissed him last June. He t

A COMPANY has been cleared of unfairly sacking a man for refusing to work on a contract which had saved the business from collapse. Plant operator Ken Felstead claimed that bosses at Hiremee had acted unreasonably when they dismissed him last June. He took his case to an employment tribunal in January and after considering evidence, the three-member panel has now thrown out Mr Felstead's claim of unfair dismissal. Tribunal chairman Brian Mitchell said: "We have no doubt whatsoever that he was dismissed for his failure to adhere to a reasonable management instruction." The panel was satisfied that Mr Felstead's contract of employment contained an obligation to work at a site anywhere in the UK. Magus Mildwater, managing director of Hiremee, had told the tribunal that Mr Felstead had offered no explanation of why he did not want to be away from home overnight. Earlier, Mr Felstead had been issued with a written warning for taking a day off without permission after the company refused to grant it as holiday at short notice. The driver was warned about his refusal to work on a major construction project at Folkestone and dismissed when he failed to turn up on site. Mr Mildwater said that Hiremee, of York Way, Royston, had been facing serious financial difficulties and incurred a £274,000 loss in a year before landing the contract. He said: "This was the answer to many of our problems. I considered it to have saved the company". Mr Mildwater told the tribunal at Bury St Edmunds: "Without this contract I had no doubt the company would have gone into receivership". To carry out the £600,000 contract, Hiremee needed Mr Felstead, who was one of their best and most experienced operatives, working at Folkestone, but he refused to comply, said Mr Mildwater. Mr Mildwater said he could not understand Mr Felstead's reluctance work at Folkestone when he had in the past worked on contracts in Bath and Manchester. Mr Felstead told the tribunal that he had acted under the belief that he had a verbal agreement with Mr Mildwater not to be required to carry out jobs which involved an overnight stay away from home.

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