Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Terraneo v Whitbread Group plc ET/3401249/15 the Employment Tribunal held that an employee had been unfairly dismissed and discriminated against because of her age by, among other things, her employer’s failure to carry out an investigation into her grievance.

Ms Terraneo commenced employment with Whitbread Group plc (“Whitbread”) in August 1996. Her job title was “breakfast supervisor”. Unlike managers or team leaders, Ms Terraneo was not required to wear an apron.

From 2011 onwards Ms Terraneo received a number of warnings for various acts of alleged misconduct, including smoking in front of the restaurant and breaching health and safety rules. She was given a written warning. She also received warnings for her performance levels, a failure to carry out reasonable management instructions, and rude behaviour towards guests, employees or suppliers.

At the end of 2014 Ms Terraneo was twice caught smoking in prohibited areas. She was summoned to a disciplinary hearing on 8 January 2015 and summarily dismissed for gross misconduct. Ms Terraneo appealed this decision and was successful, with the sanction reduced to a final written warning. Ms Terraneo was sent a letter on 11 February 2015 confirming this.

A “return to work” meeting was held on 23 February 2015 at which Ms Terraneo lodged claims for bullying, vexatious allegations made against her, and age discrimination in relation to being unsupported at work and bullied because of her age.

On 4 March 2015 Ms Terraneo returned to work. Upon her return to work Ms Terraneo found that she was now required to wear an apron, that her hours of work had been reduced from 42 hours per week to 28.5 hours per week, and that her shift had been altered to start an hour later, although no-one had told her this. Ms Terraneo refused to wear the apron because it was dirty and that she had never been required to wear one peviously.

At the end of the shift on 4 March 2015 Ms Terraneo was called to a meeting with her line manager, Ms Bongiovani. Mr Silvera was also in attendance at this meeting. In this meeting Ms Terraneo was given a letter suspending her pending an investigation. There was apparently a heated altercation at this meeting and Ms Terraneo was told by Mr Silvera that “there is no room for you in this establishment, get out, get out”.

On 5 March 2015 Ms Terraneo resigned from her employment with immediate effect, with the following being stated as reason: underhand and vexatious disciplinary treatment; what had occurred on 4 March 2015; being demoted; and a general lost of trust and confidence in management. She also asserted that these reasons constituted age discrimination.

On 6 March 2015 Ms Kinsman was appointed to handle Ms Terraneo’s complaint dated 23 February 2015. This investigation was not completed properly and there was no investigation into any of the allegations of discrimination or bullying. Mr Kinsman’s decision was to reject Ms Terraneo’s complaint and she appealed. However, no appeal process was ever commenced by Whitbread.

Ms Terraneo brought claims in the Employment Tribunal for constructive dismissal, wrongful dismissal, direct age discrimination, harassment, and victimisation.

The Employment Tribunal upheld part of Ms Terraneo’s claim for age discrimination, finding that there was evidence of a culture of age discrimination at Whitbread and that there was no explanation for the failure to undertake a proper investigation into Ms Terraneo’s grievance. The Tribunal also found that the events of 4 March 2015 were engineered to force Ms Terraneo out of her job because of her age and found that the events of that day therefore constituted harassment on the grounds of age. The Employment Tribunal rejected, however, Ms Terraneo’s claims that she was disciplined for smoking because of her age, holding that Whitbread’s management applied a uniform policy on this issue. It also rejected Ms Terraneo’s claim of victimisation, finding that although she had made a protected disclosure (her written grievance handed in on 23 February 2015) Ms Terraneo could not point to any facts to show that she had been subjected to any detriment because of her complaint.

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “It is important for businesses to properly and fairly investigate complaints made by employees and this is particularly the case where the employee is making a complaint of discrimination – a failure to investigate such allegations or to produce a reasonable and fair outcome may feed into further allegations of discrimination.”

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

4.76 Average

124 Reviews

Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 3 months ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service. It was a pleasure to work with Chris H, who is brilliant at what he does and very efficient. Their Senior Associate Rana T. is also very knowledgeable and resolves any queries speedily and efficiently. My issue could unfortunately not be resolved, but that was due to my employer and not the firm. Redmans however did all they could. I would definitely recommend them.

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Very pleasant and quick to deal with. Mnay thanks.

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Easy to get hold of. Quick.

Posted 5 months ago

Owen J

Very helpful, efficient service.

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

I am very lucky that I worked with Mr. Chris Hadrill and he managed my case very progressively with an analytical approach and trustfully. Of course with a very positive result. I strongly recommend Mr. Hadrill to any one seeking for a successful result from a highly qualified solicitor.

Posted 5 months ago

Kulbir S

Amazing, quick friendly service from Chris from the start and Caroline. They made me feel at ease during a difficult time, they understood and advised accordingly and I am really happy with the outcome of my case. Will always advise anyone who needs legal advice to contact Redmans, I’m so glad that I did and can confidently say I don’t think any other firm could have handled my case any better. Well done guys, wish you all the best and please keep doing what your doing, simply the best!

Posted 5 months ago

Mark A

Excellent service - rapid and “to the point” advice given to ensure meeting the target time frame

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Chris Hadrill kept me sane during the negotiations with my employer. He was courteous professional and he cared about doing the best he could for me. I will use Redmans again if ever I need an employment solicitor. Excellent service.

Posted 5 months ago

Muhammad Z

Awesome services. Professionals at their best .

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Thanks for the advice and for negotiating a good outcome. Good to have the support at a very stressful time

Posted 5 months ago

Chloe F

My solicitor at Redmans was very helpful and efficient. Really pleased with the smooth service.

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Chris was absolutely excellent. Clear and concise, offering sound advice.

Posted 5 months ago

Tim O

Experienced and competent advisors

Posted 5 months ago

Rachel A

Quick and expert assistance. I would highly recommend Chris for any of your legal needs.

Posted 5 months ago

Joe S

I was very happy with the service provided by Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. I felt very comfortable discussing all matters with Chris and am very grateful for all the help and guidance I was given throughout the whole process. I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to friends and family!

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

I had a very good experience working with Chris Hadrill during a difficult and emotional time. This held true from the moment I spoke to him on the phone, to the end of the process. Overall, he was attentive, professional and highly supportive. He provided sound advice and clarity. It was the reviews that led me to Redmans! I was very happy to know they were all true. I highly recommend working with Redmans Solicitors. Thank-you to the entire team!

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Good service

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent professional service. Highly recommend.

Posted 6 months ago

Rob O

Very prompt response and I could not fault the service. My solicitor listened carefully to the details of my case and I felt very confident in the advice I was offered. All emails and work done on my behalf with my former employer was of the highest standard and Redmans helped take a lot of the stress out of the situation for me.

Posted 6 months ago