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Employee heard manager say her dismissal was ‘work in progress’

A pharmacy dispenser has won her claim of constructive dismissal after her employers spoke openly about her case before it had been concluded.

The case involved Mel Warringon who had worked for Lloyd's Pharmacy since May 2004. In September 2016, the company introduced a new management team to oversee Mrs Warringon's department.

They immediately raised concerns about her conduct and professionalism in the workplace.

A line manager confronted Mrs Warringon, saying her behaviour "might come across as a bit aggressive and abrupt" before telling her: "You need to reflect a little bit on your own behaviour."

In the following months Mrs Warringon took sick leave for some pre-planned surgery. A meeting was held between her and her line manager in a coffee shop to discuss her absence.

During the meeting the manager asked her how she was coping with her children, a question Mrs Warrington found inappropriate. She was told to raise her concerns during her return-to-work meeting, but that never took place.

She also received no support from her superiors about a complaint another colleague had made against her. She resigned a week after returning to work and began serving her four weeks' notice.

In the following weeks, Mrs Warringon overheard a line manager mention that getting rid of her was a "work in progress". 

At a company awards event, she also had a senior manager say: "What's Mel doing here?"

Mrs Warringon took legal action, claiming constructive dismissal. The tribunal ruled in her favour.

The judge said there would have been a 50% chance that she may have been dismissed fairly if the issues had been dealt with properly, but the unprofessional comments, and lack of a formal return-to-work meeting or support regarding the colleague complaint amounted to constructive dismissal. 

For further advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or for employment law advice more generally, please contact JPP Law on 020 3468 3064 or email info@jpplaw.co.uk

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