Case studies

Case Studies

Unfair Dismissal

Mr D was dismissed from his position for alleged breach of procedures. We won his case at Tribunal after a 4–day hearing.

Jonathan West explains...

"I was consulted by our client Mr D who had been dismissed from his job as a manager for a local large government employer. He had worked there for over 25 years and was a respected and popular leader – maybe he was a bit 'old school' in not always following the letter of every policy/procedure, but he always got the job done well.

When I first met him he was at total 'rock–bottom'. One of my first tasks was to help 'pick him off the floor' and to give him the confidence to bring a case for Unfair Dismissal.

The case itself was very hard–fought – the employer made threats to pursue him for their legal costs if he lost, but I advised him to carry on with the case as I could see that the employer had behaved in a very unfair way in dismissing him for a relatively minor breach of their procedures – it was a classic case of them making a 'mountain out of molehill'. I suspect many lawyers would have given up, but based upon my years of experience of dealing with similar 'un–winnable' cases in the Reading Tribunal, I could see that with good presentation the case should be viewed well.

We eventually had the hearing at Reading Tribunal over 4 days – against us were the massed ranks of the employer with its Barrister and 2 Solicitors and HR professionals. They must have spent literally thousands of pounds in defending the claim!

After some strong cross–examination by me of their main witnesses, we were able to demonstrate that the employer's disciplinary process had been hopelessly unfair, and that the decision to dismiss the client for, at worst, a minor breach of procedures was considerably out of the bounds of all reasonableness.

The case was ultimately won handsomely by us, with substantial compensation agreed, and the client felt fully vindicated for having stood up for himself."

Gross misconduct disciplinary hearing

We represented a client who was suspended from work due to an allegation of making abusive comments on a social media site.

Jonathan West explains...

"We were consulted by a client who was employed by a Thames Valley IT company. He had been suspended from work due to an allegation of making very abusive comments about managers on social media, and was facing a disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct.

I could see from the start that the client, who had been advised up to now by his Trades Union, was definitely heading for the rocks!

He had up to now been effectively trying to 'defend the indefensible' – casting around trying to make out it was everyone's fault but his own, which was far from the case. I could sense that if he carried on with that approach he would be sacked for gross misconduct.

But he desperately needed to keep his job – he was the sole carer for an elderly relative, and he had no savings to fall back on.

I advised him to change strategy completely – I had dealt with this employer before, and recognised them as being fair–minded if he accepted responsibility for his actions.

I advised that he should now turn up to the disciplinary hearing and accept he had been wrong, and to make an unqualified apology to those that he had offended. He would also explain that he had been drunk when making the abusive remarks, partly as a result of the stress of some recent personal problems, that had happily now been resolved.

He followed my advice, and the employer gave him a chance to prove himself with a final warning, rather than dismissing him.

Job done, with another very happy and relieved client!"

Suspension from work due to fraudulent expenses allegation

When a fraudulent expenses claim led to a suspension, we helped our client to reach an amicable solution with her employer.

Jonathan West explains...

"I was consulted by a client who was suspended by her employer after allegations were made about her 'fiddling' her expenses.

She was adamant that she had not been dishonest, but it was clear after reviewing all her papers that she had not been as careful as she should have been with her paperwork supporting her expense claims.

She frankly didn't want to stay working there any longer, and also didn't want the stigma of a possible gross misconduct dismissal on her record for the future.

I suggested that before the disciplinary hearing took place we make an approach to the employer on a 'without prejudice' basis to explore the option her leaving her job by mutual agreement – with reasonable 'pay-off' – rather than have to go through the disciplinary process with all the uncertainties for both parties.

The employer agreed with this idea and after a month of negotiations a deal was agreed for her to leave by agreement, with a termination payment of several months pay to 'tide her over' until she could hopefully find another job, and it also agreed to pay all of her legal fees with us.

As it happened, she phoned me up a few weeks later and told me that she had been able to find another job much quicker than she had expected, so she was very happy with the outcome."

Unfair Dismissal after 7 years work

We acted for Mr S, who was dismissed by his employers for returning to the company premises after they had been closed and locked up for the evening.

Jonathan West explains...

"We were contacted by Mr S who had been dismissed from his job as a supervisor in a local leisure complex for alleged security breaches, in that he had returned with a colleague to the company premises after they had been locked up, in order to retrieve some house keys he had forgotten.

Unfortunately he had set the alarm off, and a manager had to come out to deal with the false alarm. The client was then suspended and after a disciplinary hearing he was sacked for gross misconduct.

I thought that Mr S, who had worked for the company for over 7 years without any serious problems, had a strong case and I took his case on a 'No win, no fee' arrangement, and initially had discussions through ACAS to see if we could reach an amicable settlement of the case. However the company's lawyers refused all attempts to settle the case, insisting that they were in the right.

The case proceeded to a contested hearing at Reading Employment Tribunal, and I managed to show at the hearing that the company had not produced full disclosure of their documents to us, which clearly annoyed the Tribunal Judge. In cross–examination I also forced their main CEO witness to admit that the employer's own disciplinary and security policies were totally contradictory.

We won the case convincingly in the end, and very welcome compensation was awarded to our client."

Settlement Agreement negotiated for a depressed IT Salesman

Acting on behalf of Mr W, we successfully arranged a formal Settlement Agreement with his employer.

Jonathan West explains...

"I was contacted by Mr W who had been given my details by a former client who I had helped a few years previously.

Mr W was a Salesman in a Berkshire–based IT company, and he had worked successfully for 8 years in that role, always meeting or exceeding his sales targets. However, over the last year he had been given a new line–manager, who had been giving my client more and more unrealistic sales targets, had constantly been 'on his case' and 'sniping' at him in meetings etc.

My client explained that his health was suffering – he had not been sleeping well, and had recently been to see his GP with depression. He couldn't however afford to take any sick leave as the company only paid for 2 weeks absence before he went onto SSP and he had a young family he needed to support financially.

Recently the manager had threatened him with a Performance Improvement Plan – 'PIP'. Mr W knew that no matter hard he tried he couldn't do the numbers his manager was asking for, especially as he was totally de–motivated and drained.

He said he was ready to hand in his notice and just get out, and try to find another job. I suggested however that the company may be receptive to us making a 'Without Prejudice' approach for a deal for him to leave under an agreed settlement. I explained that I thought that he had been treated very badly, and there was enough 'ammunition to fire' at the company to threaten a strong case for Constructive Unfair Dismissal – and that even if they were trying to get him out under the PIP, it would take at least 3 months to go through and they would still need to give him his contractual 8 weeks' notice at the end.

We therefore wrote to the company and after a couple of weeks of negotiations we ended up agreeing for my client to receive a package worth approx 8 months' pay plus an agreed reference, and this was then put into a formal Settlement Agreement.

Job done! And a happy client, who I spoke to a few weeks later when told me he had found another job and all his health issues had cleared up."

Unfair Dismissal and Age Discrimination

Mr R was dismissed from his job on the basis of ‘redundancy’. We took on his case on a ‘no win no fee’ basis and after 6 months agreed a substantial settlement with his old employer.

Jonathan West explains...

"I was contacted by our client Mr R who had been dismissed from his job as a salesman for a facilities company. He was quite old himself, and he worked part-time as he had caring responsibilities for his elderly parents.

It was clear from reading his papers that the redundancy selection matrix and process had been effectively ‘designed’ in order to select employees like our client who were older and also who worked part-time.

After starting the case,  and following several months of hard-fought work, the Employer offered a good settlement which the client was happy to take.

Not only did the client feel vindicated for having stood up for himself, he had enough money to pay for a new kitchen he had always wanted!

About us

Why choose Pearce West?

Jonathan West has 36 years experience helping resolve employment claims for people across the Thames Valley and South East England.

Settlement Agreements

We have vast experience in advising clients on Settlement Agreements with their employers. We offer clients a supportive and expert advisory service. Very often our advice leads to better financial terms being offered to clients by their employers.

  • Specialist in Employment Law.
  • We are fully bonded for professional liability insurance up to £2,000,000 by Travelers Insurance, a "Qualifying Insurer" under the SRA rules.
  • A member of the Employment Lawyers Association and the Law Society.
  • Fixed–fee initial consultation.
  • Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) under registration number 00205896.
No Win - No Fee

In many cases when you have a valid employment claim to the Employment Tribunal for Unfair Dismissal, Constructive "no win – no fee" basis.

In other words, we take the case on and if you win the case we charge you a fixed % of what you get from your former employer (either at Tribunal or through a settlement). If you lose your case we do not charge you a penny – so you can have the peace of mind of not having to lose any of your money on bringing a claim!

If we are not able to offer a "no win – no fee" arrangement we can bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal on a fee-paying basis, and we are always happy to work within agreed fee-budgets which goes to ensure that you keep control on legal costs as the case progresses.

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