Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

hmctsThe Employment Tribunal has passed judgment in the case of a former senior executive at the Co-operative Group who brought Employment Tribunal claims for whistleblowing and unfair dismissal against her former employer.

Kath Harmeston claimed that she had been sacked from her role at the Co-operative Group after she alleged that she had uncovered corporate malpractice at the retailer. She subsequently brought claims for unfair dismissal and whistleblowing against the Co-operative Group, alleging that she had been dismissed because she had raised with the organisation concerns that 70 percent of its spending did not comply with its own procedures.

Ms Harmeston was hired by the Co-operative Group in 2014 as Chief Executive of the organisation after the former Chief Executive Euan Sutherland had left and the business was on the verge of collapse, having discovered a £1.5 billion black hole in its finances. Ms Harmeston was hired on a £300,000 per annum wage to cut costs at the business, having successfully undertaken a similar role with Royal Mail.

Upon commencing employment with the Co-op Ms Harmeston hired a consultancy group, Silver Lining Partners, to help produce plans to cut costs at the organisation, but it was later alleged by the Co-operative Group that she had not followed the proper procedures in hiring the firm. She was subsequently suspended on these allegations and amid concerns regarding her performance and clashes with other senior executives at the organisation. It was also discovered by the Co-operative Group that she had left her previous employer, Royal Mail Group, after concerns had been raised that Silver Lining Partners, whom she had also hired at Royal Mail, had been overcharging the postal group. Ms Harmeston was later dismissed by the Co-operative Group for performance-related reasons.

Last week the Employment Tribunal passed down judgment in the case, dismissing Ms Harmeston’s claims for unfair dismissal and dismissal due to protected disclosure, but upholding a claim that she had been subjected to a detriment because she had made a protected disclosure. The Tribunal ruled that the Co-operative Group “deliberately failed to pay Ms Harmeston’s legitimate claims for expenses within a reasonable period” and, by doing so, “subjected her to a detriment on the grounds that she made protected disclosures.” In dismissing the claim that Ms Harmeston had been fired for raising protected disclosures, the Tribunal held that the Co-operative Group were already aware of the concerns that Ms Harmeston had raised and that her dismissal had not been wholly or principally on the grounds of her protected disclosure.

A remedy hearing will be listed at a future date to determine what compensation Ms Harmeston is entitled to.

The Co-operative Group commented on the claim, stating: “We are glad that the tribunal has supported our view. We fought this action because it was be right thing to do and in the interests of our members. We would like to thank our members for their support”

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented on the claim: “Businesses must take care to fairly, promptly, and thoroughly deal with any whistleblowing complaints made by employees and to ensure that the outcome to any investigation is also fair, prompt, and thorough. It is unlawful to subject an employee to a detriment or dismiss them because they have blown the whistle.”

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.68 Average

69 Reviews

Anonymous

The guidance and assistance I recently received when using Redman's was fantastic. Caroline & Chris were both very informative and understanding walking me through each step. Thank you.

Posted 1 day ago

Nicola W

Fantastic service, very quick and efficient. Thank you

Posted 1 day ago

Anonymous

Excellent professional service.

Posted 1 day ago

Anonymous

As with All solicitors advice without consequence but understood and communicated my legal position

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Prompt, professional and excellent service.

Posted 1 week ago

Dominic C

Excellent service, prompt and helpful

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

I found Redman’s to be very efficient and got me the best deal available in the short time scale that was available.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Victor L

Very professional. Provided excellent advice on my Settlement agreement.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Professional from start to finish.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Oliver W

Excellent service provided by Redmans, will certainly consider using again.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Melanie H

Very professional and extremely personable service. Thank you very much.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

I found Chris to be very approachable and easy to speak with about complex matters. He took action quickly and his updates to me, as his client, were prompt. I would recommend Chris and the team at Redmans without hesitation.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Good advice

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Overall happy with the service provided by Chris and Rana.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Chris and Rana provide a great service, very informed, diligent and care about your result, would recommend Redmans

Posted 1 month ago

David W

A speedy efficient friendly service, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors for processing Settlement Agreements.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Both Rana and Chris were fantastic. From the first phone call I was confident my matter was in good hands. I was not disappointed. I would highly recommend Redmans. Thank you again for all of your support and advice.

Posted 1 month ago

Federico S

Great advices and communication. Through Redmana I obtained match more than what I thought. Highly recommended

Posted 1 month ago

Tom G

A good and efficient service with the required legal advice provided for a settlement agreement.

Posted 1 month ago

Francis T

The solicitor I used was Chris Hadrill, who I found extremely professional and I felt that he made me feel at ease, considering the subject matter he was assisting me with.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Chris provided excellent assistance with the negotiation of my settlement agreement. From start to finish, I was consitently updated and advised on the best course of action to take. I would highly recommend Chris and Redmans Solicitors.

Posted 1 month ago