A parish clerk has won her Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal after she was fired by the council in 2011.
Mrs Craske, 54, was summarily dismissed (dismissed without notice) in mid-2011 after she was found guilty of gross misconduct by her employer, Briston Parish Council. She was accused of a variety of allegations by the council, including using headed council paper for her own use, not keeping a rational filing system, failing to undertake administrative tasks properly, and of personal antagonisms with council members. The council alleged that this had caused a fundamental breakdown of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence between the parties (which entitled them to end the contract of employment) and therefore found that she was guilty of gross misconduct. Mrs Craske disputed the allegations put to her and consulted an employment law solicitor. She subsequently made an unfair dismissal claim to the Employment Tribunal.
The case went before the Bury St Edmunds Employment Tribunal earlier this year. The Tribunal found that Mrs Craske’s dismissal had been procedurally unfair but not substantively unfair. Mrs Craske – who had previously indicated that she would be willing to settle the claim for £26,000 if the council was prepared not to defend its position – was awarded just over £4,400 in compensation but this figure was reduced by 40% for Mrs Craske’s contribution the situation that led to her being dismissed. She therefore received just over £2,500 after this deduction had been made. She also succeeded in her claim for wrongful dismissal.
Mrs Craske commented after the Employment Tribunal’s decision that she would like her job back and that “the money is not important. It was about winning and clearing my name. There were rumours around the village that I’d been involved in some form of embezzlement, which was clearly not the case”. She also said – despite the result – that the matter “was far from over” after Council chairman Mr Tony Seme stated that the Council considered the matter “over” and that it had to move on and focus its energies on working for the good of the village. He also stated that reinstatement was “not a viable option” and that Mrs Craske had been making “personal attacks” on him.
Unfair dismissal is a fairly well-known phenomenon which most employees are – in some form – acquainted with. Wrongful dismissal, however, tends not to be. We’ll therefore take a quick look here at what wrongful dismissal is and when employees may have a good claim for wrongful dismissal. Wrongful dismissal occurs if your dismissal is a breach of your contract of employment – this normally occurs if your employer fails to pay you for your proper notice period or if your employer fails to follow a contractual disciplinary procedure. If you are unsure as to whether you have a claim for wrongful dismissal you should consult an employment solicitor as soon as possible to ensure that you do not miss the limitation date for any claim.