Glasgow consultancy The Edge has been ordered to pay nearly 7000 in compensation to a former employee who an industrial tribunal found was unfairly dismissed.
Gavin Douglas joined the consultancy as a 20 000-a-year account executive in June 1993 and was sacked two and a half years later for gross misconduct, following a “drunken ramble” when he talked about setting up his own business, the consultancy claims.
Douglas denies he mentioned setting up on his own to a client and says the event was used as an excuse to fire him.
The industrial tribunal demanded that The Edge pay Douglas 6841, describing the consultancy’s discipline procedure as a “shambles”.
“The applicant’s dismissal cannot be described as fair when surrounded by procedures as deficient as these,” the tribunal said, citing the fact that Douglas was given no warning that a meeting he was going into was a disciplinary meeting, and that he was not given an opportunity to present his case at that meeting.
Douglas lists various acts of alleged victimisation by his employers during his period at The Edge. In December 1994, instead of a Christmas bonus, he was given a pair of underpants marked with pen to appear soiled, with a note from partners Bill Mather and John Reid which read “Thanks for all your efforts in 1994, Bill and John”.
The Edge is appealing against the tribunal decision. “We are less than happy with a situation which appears to damage the company’s right to protect its business,” says a consultancy spokesman. “He was setting up on his own against the company,” adds Mather.
But Douglas defends his decision to take the matter to a tribunal: “Executives in my position have been shat upon for a great length of time.
“I felt it was about time somebody stood up and made a point. People feel they can ride rough-shod all over anyone else, but employers have to be seen to be reasonable.”
Douglas’s award was cut by ten per cent because he allegedly said something out of turn during the so-called “drunken ramble”.