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26th August, 2021

Aaron & Partners and Rebecca Jones successfully assist Sovini Property Services…

Aaron & Partners and Rebecca Jones successfully assist Sovini Property Services in defending employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.

Aaron & Partners and Rebecca Jones successfully assist Sovini Property Services in defending employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.

Aaron & Partners and Rebecca Jones of 23 Essex Street Chambers have successfully represented Sovini Property Services (“SPS”) in its defence of a claim for unfair dismissal.

The Claimant had alleged that SPS held a vendetta against him and that the reason for which he was dismissed was unduly harsh. The Claimant also alleged that he was unfairly targeted for health and safety audits.

SPS, which is part of the Sovini Group, had dismissed the Claimant with notice for cumulative misconduct over a short period of time. The Claimant had been subject to two disciplinary investigations and at the time he was dismissed he was subject to a live final written warning.

The Claimant had been warned when he received the final written warning that any further acts of misconduct could result in his dismissal. Despite the warning, the Claimant accepted that he had subsequently breached SPS’ health and safety policy by failing to use appropriate health and safety equipment.

Following a multi-day hearing, Employment Judge Doyle dismissed the claim, providing a comprehensive written judgment which concluded that the claim was “not well founded”.

Judge Doyle stated at paragraph 131 of his judgment “The reason or principal reason for the Claimant’s dismissal was his cumulative conduct over two disciplinary investigations. The reason was misconduct. It was a potentially fair reason. The Respondent acted reasonably in all the circumstances in treating it as a sufficient reason to dismiss the Claimant”.

The Tribunal did not accept the Claimant was being targeted for health and safety audits, that his line managers wanted to be rid of him or that he was the subject of a personal vendetta. It was found that SPS had acted in a procedurally fair manner and adhered to the ACAS Code.

Paul Hennity, Senior Associate at Aaron & Partners, who headed up the defence of the claim said: “The ruling in this case is a significant one for SPS as it reinforces confidence in their HR processes. It also shows that the company is willing to stand by those processes and allow them to be scrutinised by the Tribunal.

“The judgment shows that SPS were completely justified in their approach. Often tribunal cases settle before the final hearing, but this was a case where it was really important for the company to defend the serious allegations that had been made by the Claimant.”

Rebecca Jones from 23 Essex Street Chambers, said: “It’s always a pleasure working alongside the team at Aaron & Partners and in this instance, to secure a positive outcome for SPS.

“This case reiterates that employers can and should be confident in running a case to a final hearing if they have good procedures in place and they have followed them.”

Kerry Beirne, HR Director at the Sovini Group added: “We’re very pleased with the ruling in this case. As an employer we work hard to support our staff in every way we can. We believe in our processes. and we will defend them when they are questioned.”

“Our thanks go to Aaron & Partners and 23 Essex Street Chambers for their expertise and counsel throughout this case and their commitment to ensuring the right outcome was delivered by the judge.”

A copy of the full judgment is available on the Tribunal website.

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