A former Virgin Media employee has lost her legal battle in the Employment Tribunal after she was dismissed last year for gross misconduct.

Ms Tracy Cordiner, of Erdington, was dismissed from her job at Virgin Media’s centre of operations in Birmingham city centre after she allegedly insulted and harassed a number of other employees at the work Christmas party in 2012. Ms Cordiner apparently consumed alcohol at the party and a number of her colleagues submitted complaints after this that she had called one female employee a “black bitch”, had called another female employee a “whore” and had sexually harassed another male employee.

An investigation was carried out by Virgin Media into the allegations against Ms Cordiner and this was progressed to a disciplinary hearing after managers decided that she had a case to answer. Ms Cordiner was then dismissed for gross misconduct as a result of her conduct at the Christmas party. She subsequently submitted a claim for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal at the Employment Tribunal and the case came to the Birmingham Employment Tribunal earlier this month.

Ms Cordiner, giving evidence at the Tribunal, claimed that at least one of the managers who carried out the disciplinary process was biased against her and that she had been dismissed because of this. She also denied the allegations against her but admitted that she had been drinking at the party. Virgin Media’s barrister, Mr William Hamilton, stated that Ms Cordiner’s colleagues had said that they would accept an apology but that Ms Cordiner had failed to apologise to them. He also stated that Virgin Media took allegations of racism extremely seriously and that this was one of the reasons why Ms Cordiner was dismissed.

The Employment Tribunal, chaired by Employment Judge Hindmarch, rejected Ms Cordiner’s claims for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal, holding that Virgin Media’s investigation into the matter had been conducted correctly.

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The Direct 2 Lawyers Employment Team post daily on interesting employment law cases, Employment Tribunal judgments and Employment Appeal Tribunal judgments. All of the Employment Team posts are written by qualified specialist employment lawyers

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