Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

MoJA former canal worker who was sacked after he claimed that he had been drinking on standby for flood alert has won his Employment Tribunal claim against his former employer.

Mr David Smith, 34, won his claim for unfair dismissal at the Employment Tribunal after he was sacked in June 2013 for posting comments on Facebook that suggested he had been drinking alcohol whilst on shift at Scottish Canals on a ‘flood alert’.

Mr Smith, who commenced employment with Scottish Canals in 2013, was sacked from his job in June 2013 after his bosses discovered that he had claimed on social media site ‘Facebook’ in 2011 that he had allegedly been drinking whilst on shift and that he had described his supervisors to friends as “wankers” and “pricks”. After being dismissed Mr Smith made an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.

The claim came to the Employment Tribunal earlier this year. The Employment Tribunal heard evidence that Mr Smith had posted what he believed were private comments on Facebook in 2011, including the following statements:

  • That he had stated that he was on “standby” for “flood alert”, before commenting: “Drinking vodka and apple juice, first time I’ve tried it, not too shabby”
  • That he had posted: “Why are gaffers such pricks? Is there a book teaching them to be total wankers? Need a new job.”

The Tribunal also heard that Mr Smith was summarily dismissed by Scottish Canals for gross misconduct after his bosses at Scottish Canals discovered the posts in 2013.

Mr Smith told the Glasgow Employment Tribunal that he believed that he had set his settings on Facebook as “private” and that his page wasn’t therefore accessible to the public. He gave evidence that he would not have posted the comments if he had known they would be in the public domain and that they were untrue and were simply “banter” with his friends.

Employment Judge Wiseman, chairing the Employment Tribunal, ruled in Mr Smith’s favour in his claim for unfair dismissal, stating that Scottish Canals had failed to consider”the nature of Facebook”, namely that “it is a social media site used for chat and frequently involves people making claims which are either exaggerated or simply not in fact true”. Employment Judge Wiseman also commented that the person who had dismissed Mr Smith had failed to take into account that the comments had been made two years previously and that the events in question had not come to pass.

A remedy hearing will be heard at a later date to determine what compensation Mr Smith will be awarded.

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented on the case: “Employers must ensure that they make fair decisions to dismiss and that they carry out a fair procedure in dismissing employees – a failure to undertake these actions may mean that the employer subsequently has to pay potentially large sums of compensation if an Employment Tribunal finds a former employee was unfairly dismissed.

Scottish Canals commented that they were considering appealing the case.

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 first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    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

    4.78 Average

    214 Reviews

    Rebecca A

    I had a wonderful solicitor called Caroline who was so helpful and gave me all the information I need and explained everything in detail so I was crystal clear. Would highly recommend if you are in need of a solicitor!

    Posted 1 day ago

    Gareth J

    Very efficient, helpful and pragmatic support from Caroline. Happy to work with my requirements / suggestions but also made some very good points which helped to achieve a higher settlement amount. Would highly recommend Caroline and Chris.

    Posted 2 days ago

    Ellen S

    Excellent, professional, timely. Friendly when I needed it most. Would recommend to anyone.

    Posted 2 days ago

    Ellen S

    Excellent, professional, timely. Friendly when I needed it most. Would recommend to anyone.

    Posted 2 days ago

    Cristina G

    Very professional and reliable. Timely answers, clear and to the point. Always looking for the best for their customers.

    Posted 3 days ago

    Rob T

    Very professional and on target - highly recommended.

    Posted 6 days ago

    Anonymous

    Very efficient service and knowledgeable solicitors.

    Posted 6 days ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent response time from first contact. Quick and easy completion of documents required. Fast response to any queries I made.

    Posted 6 days ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans Solicitors did a great job and were very professional at all times. Would definitely recommend.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Gary P

    All good advice, prompt and efficient

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent advice and customer service.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Aneet G

    I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Fern M

    Very efficient and friendly

    Posted 3 months ago

    Neville S

    A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Daniel T

    Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

    Posted 3 months ago

    Paul T

    Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Marina E

    Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Rosa B

    Fabulous service all round.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Alkhas K

    Excellent service.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Mathias G

    Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

    Posted 4 months ago