Mr Kevin Robinson, 65, worked for Knowsley Council as a careers adviser until the TV interview occurred in 2011. Mr Robinson was interviewed and asked questions about the Council’s planned regeneration of Kirkby. In response, Mr Robinson called for more good-quality jobs to be created in the area and for a better-planned retail environment to be created. Members of the Council saw the TV interview and disciplinary action was subsequently taken against Mr Robinson, with the Council claiming that he had committed an act of “gross misconduct” in speaking to the press. This resulted in Mr Robinson being sacked from his position and subsequently issuing a claim for unfair dismissal to the Employment Tribunal.
The Employment Tribunal took place earlier this year, with the Tribunal hearing evidence from both Mr Robinson and Knowsley Council. The Employment Tribunal ruled in Mr Robinson’s favour in his claim, stating that his actions did not amount to gross misconduct and accepting Mr Robinson’s account that he had acted in a personal capacity and that he had not been speaking on behalf of the Council at the time.
After the judgment of the Tribunal – which the Council had stated it was “extremely disappointed” with – it stated that it would consider appealing against the ruling. However, it has subsequently emerged that the Council has decided not to press ahead with the intended appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Mr Robinson, speaking to the Liverpool Echo, stated: “Not everyone has the confidence to go to a tribunal and be cross-examined, and that is what employers want. They want staff to feel that they can’t challenge decisions like this. Hopefully I have been able to show people they can.”