‘Box ticking exercise’ makes dismissal unfair

‘Box ticking exercise’ makes dismissal unfair

Prospect member Trevor Edwards has won his claim of unfair dismissal against BT

Trevor was a programme manager, who had enjoyed a long and successful career. He had worked for British Telecommunications for almost 40 years, before being dismissed on grounds of performance in 2014 

Following a spinal operation in 2012, Trevor returned to work to find that a reorganisation meant that he had been placed in a different unit. He was then placed on a performance 'coaching plan' and subsequently marked down, despite being new to the role, which was contrary to BT’s procedures

Trevor was supported through the performance process by his Prospect representative, Sue Harding. They appealed against the warnings, but the appeals were rejected and he was given notice that his employment would be terminated. 

BT said it had considered alternative roles and yet no attempt was made to place Trevor into a comparable or even lower graded role. 

He was told he could continue to look for employment up until his termination date, during which time he applied for more than 50 jobs, but he was unsuccessful because of the under-performance markings.

Prospect negotiator, Johanna Baxter, and legal officer, Jane Copley advised Trevor and a claim was presented to the employment tribunal.

The case was heard over three days in June in the Birmingham tribunal. Trevor was represented by David Renton, a barrister specialising in employment law. 

The tribunal found the dismissal was unfair. The judge held that BT had been unreasonable in not being more proactive in finding alternative employment for Trevor.

The judge found that BT had "seemingly carried out a box ticking exercise with no regard to the practical realities of what they were doing". 

Jane Copley said: "I am pleased that the judge accepted our arguments in this case and that BT’s capricious approach to Trevor’s employment was rejected. It is appalling that such a large company would not do more to find a suitable job for a long standing manager with such a good record."