Logistics Operative Succeeds in Post-Termination Victimisation Complaint
Victimisation of workers does not necessarily come to an end with the termination of their employment. The point was made by the case of a logistics operative who was labelled a troublemaker by a member of his former employer’s senior management team (Weedon v Nestle UK Ltd).
Whilst working for his former employer, the operative, who suffered from anxiety and depression, lodged a grievance and issued an Employment Tribunal (ET) complaint of disability discrimination. Both those steps were agreed to be protected acts. Following settlement negotiations, his employment was terminated on agreed terms. He withdrew the ET claim after receiving a sum of money.
He later found employment as an agency worker at a logistics plant. His former employer was that plant’s principal customer. After his placement at the plant was terminated, he launched ET proceedings against his former employer asserting that the loss of his job was a direct consequence of his protected acts a year earlier.
Upholding his post-termination victimisation complaint, the ET found that one of his former employer’s senior managers had instructed the plant to terminate his agency contract. At the relevant time, the manager was fully aware of the operative’s history and had described him as a troublemaker to one of the plant’s personnel.
The ET found that the manager had issued the instruction because of the operative’s protected acts. The operative was well-regarded at the plant and any reasonable worker would consider the summary termination of his placement there as a detriment. If not agreed, the amount of his compensation would be determined at a further hearing.