In September 2017 five workers were dismissed from the Grosvenor Cafe in Glasgow’s Ashton Lane. It was alleged that the staff members were misusing the staff discount scheme by using this to buy food. The amount of money saved by staff through using discounts ranged from £1.89 to £30. The sackings were made by the G1 Group, the largest hospitality firm in Scotland. They own over 50 venues in total with dozens in Glasgow alone, including the Grosvenor Cinema and Cafe and The Lane.
After the dismissals, G1 issued a statement “It is not the case that action has been taken because staff have used a legitimate discount scheme to purchase food, as has been incorrectly alleged. A detailed investigation has been carried out and has established that these employees had added further discounts which in some cases negated the entire bill. G1 Group hold a robust trail of evidence and statements to support this chain of events.”
“As per the company’s Discipline and Grievance Procedure, such allegations are potentially considered gross misconduct as they can amount to a fundamental breach of trust undermining the employment relationship. G1 would take the opportunity to state that although levels and frequency of misuse varied from person to person we are acting not on the monetary value of our loss, but on the breach of trust which has occurred.”
In August 2018, the 5 staff members won their claim for unfair and wrongful dismissal . In a written judgement of the case the full panel Tribunal Court held that the G1 Group had “breached the contracts of three claimants by failing to give notice or payment in lieu” and had “unfairly dismissed the other two” in terms of Section 98 of the Employment Relations Act 1988”.
The judgement is in addition to the earlier concession by lawyers representing the Company that their clients had acted in breach of its employees’ statutory rights when they refused staff the right to be represented by their chosen trade union representative.
Judge Shona Maclean held that the hospitality giant had “not carried out a reasonable and proper procedure and the decision to dismiss…. fell out with the band of reasonable responses which a reasonable employer might have adopted.”
Only three years before this judgement the Group was fined £45,000 for failing to pay 2,895 staff the minimum wage.
Bryan Simpson from Unite said “This is very much a David & Goliath story for the hospitality industry- one that should give confidence to hospitality workers across the country that they do not need to put-up with exploitation.”
If you have any employment issues please contact our Employment Law Team on 0141 552 3422.