An Edinburgh employment tribunal has awarded a delivery driver who was sacked for taking a photograph of a woman and joking that he would upload it to the internet £4,000 for unfair dismissal.
Robert Wiseman & Son dismissed Paul Burrows last November after he photographed Gemma Roy.
The tribunal heard that Mr Burrows took a picture of Ms Roy without her knowledge while making a delivery at Somerfield in Bonnyrigg on November 10 last year. He then showed her the photo and claimed he was going to upload it to his employer’s website.
Mr Burrows took the picture with a mobile scanning device used to record confirmation of deliveries. He claims he took the picture accidentally and when he realised he simply made a joke about posting it online.
After the incident was reported, however, Robert Wiseman decided to suspend Mr Burrows, effective November 11. The company then asked him to meet with one of its manager the following week to discuss the matter.
Following disciplinary meetings held on November 25 and 27, Graeme McPhee, Support Manager for Robert Wiseman & Son, ultimately decided to dismiss Mr Burrows for gross misconduct.
Mr Burrows then appealed the decision.
At an appeal hearing held in January, Operations Manager Mario Iannetta backed Mr McPhee and ruled out taking Mr Burrows since he had already been given a “second chance” following a disciplinary hearing for an unrelated incident that occurred in August 2009.
Mr Burrows sought help from the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) and was advised the dismissal was unfair because there had been no training to the effect that images of people were not to be taken.
Employment judge Alan Strain agreed and awarded Mr Burrows £3,869.50 compensation. He said: “The tribunal were not satisfied that the respondents would have dismissed but for the final written warning. The tribunal were of the view that no reasonable employer would have dismissed in these circumstances.”
- Tribunal win over secret workplace photo (STV)
- Unfair dismissal law (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Unfair dismissal law news (The Solicitor)
- Unfair dismissal Q&A (Community)
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