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 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

    265 Reviews

    Alison M

    Very happy with the advice I received

    Posted 1 day ago

    Margaret A

    I found everything about the company to be extremely professional and efficient. During my initial contact with Chris, he listened well and was reassuring, so I felt confident that my case would be well handled. Caroline was excellent at explaining all the legal points and answering my questions, as well as being very supportive and understanding throughout the process. I would definitely recommend this company.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Sanja K

    Very efficient and professional service.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Anonymous

    I found the advice I was given by Redmans Solicitors to be clear and useful and found the solicitor on my case to be both knowledgeable and approachable.

    Posted 6 days ago

    Karen T

    Great service. Thank you.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service from Chris & Mel Chin. The best outcome was achieved from the redundancy process. They were extremely thorough, listened carefully and acted swiftly on my behalf. I highly recommend Redmans Solicitors

    Posted 1 week ago

    Shanine M

    Excellent service, thank you so much!

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    I found Caroline and Chris very Helpful and provided excellent service. Caroline especially provided great legal advice and made me feel at ease with the whole process. I would highly recommend them. Thank you!

    Posted 1 week ago

    Gayle B

    Excellent company very professional would definitely recommend

    Posted 1 week ago

    Alex K

    Redmans provided an excellent service, timely and effective. Will definitely recommend.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Great job done on my employment law

    Posted 1 week ago

    Dominica S

    Caroline & Chris were very prompt and efficient.Very happy with the service and will definitely recommend Redmans Solicitor to everyone !

    Posted 1 week ago

    Sandra K

    If you are looking for a group of solicitors who are Professional, Caring and on point, then look no futher than Redmans. I was literally hand held through out my case. Can not find fault with this company, very happy with the result and the service i received. Would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    I found dealing with Redmans a pleasure. I got to speak to someone quickly, the advice was profferred promplty and the service was not 'pushy'. In addition, the administration was excellent. What more could you ask for?

    Posted 1 week ago

    ALISDAIR L

    Redmans did a brilliant job regarding my redundancy agreement. I miss read an extra charge which wasnt the case so doing a new review to clarify. I would recommend Redmans for any employment law issues you may have.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Christos G

    Great legal advice and quick correspondence. Very supportive and helpful through the entire process. Thank you Redmans!

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Chris Hadrill advised me on a redundancy settlement agreement. He was very responsive, easy to deal with and gave me good advice at a stressful time.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Zara M

    Rana at Redmans gave me support and confidence I needed to ensure a wrong, was put right. I couldn’t recommend enough.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Stuart T

    Chris provided an excellent service, he was efficient and friendly and I had no doubt when recommending him to my colleagues

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service, prompt responses. Chris Hadrill provided excellent and efficient service.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Jane M

    Wonderful solicitors who really listen to you and who are there to offer expert legal advice but they also have a personal touch and you really feel supported both from a legal aspect but also from a personal aspect. They really listen .

    Posted 2 weeks ago