A FORMER supermarket store manager has had her claims for wrongful dismissal and untaken rest periods dismissed by the Employment Tribunal after accusing her manager of ‘screaming and shouting’ at her over the phone.
Tania Newall, a former manager at Morrisons Val Plaisant, was described as a ‘victim of her own loyalty’ by the tribunal.
Mrs Newall, who worked for SandpiperCI for 21 years before her departure, handed in her notice on 16 June 2022 following a confrontation with her former manager, Antony Bray.
Mrs Newall claimed that Mr Bray was ‘screaming and shouting’ at her over the phone when she asked him to arrange cover for her as she needed to take leave for surgery.
She said: ‘I was speaking to Antony on the phone from my kitchen, and my husband was in the living room and could hear the screaming and shouting of Antony. That’s how loud it was.’
She claimed that she was ‘disrespected, verbally abused and screamed at for something that was not [her] fault’.
Mrs Newall added: ‘After 21 years of hard work, honesty and loyalty on that same day I emailed and gave my notice due to the way Antony treated me that day.’
However, the tribunal found that ‘her claim for constructive unfair dismissal is not supported by the weight of the evidence’.
The tribunal’s deputy chair, Advocate Cyril Whelan, noted in his written judgment that Mrs Newall declined the opportunity to raise a grievance against Mr Bray while employed with SandpiperCI, and only raised a grievance three months after she had left the company.
It was also noted that Mrs Newall was given a number of options to remain at the company. Andrew Holmes, SandpiperCI senior officer, testified that he wanted to find a role for Mrs Newall in which she would be happy. However, she told him that her main reason for leaving was that she did not want to work in retail any more and needed a better work-life balance for her and her family.
Third-party evidence was presented to the tribunal that Mr Bray did not ‘swear or raise his voice’ during the phone call in question, and ‘was no more than being firm because what was being asked for should already have been done by Mrs Newall’.
Advocate Whelan noted that: ‘On all of the evidence presented to us both in writing and at the hearing… We are unable to conclude that Mr Bray addressed Mrs Newall unreasonably or abusively during the telephone conversation of 16 June 2022.’
With regard to her claim of compensation for untaken rest periods, Advocate Whelan noted: ‘Mrs Newall has offered no particularisation and it is impossible for the tribunal to adjudicate a claim put forward in that way.’
He added: ‘It may be that Mrs Newall was a victim of her own loyalty. No doubt management of the Val Plaisant shop in the circumstances of the labour market as it then existed was greatly demanding and stretched her to a point at which she felt unable to balance the job and the needs of her family; no doubt she was in no frame of mind to receive a reminder of her management duties by Mr Bray on the occasion of which she makes the complaint, particularly with day surgery imminent.
‘We believe Mrs Newall to have been an honest and accomplished person, putting events as she truly saw them in a restrained and impressive way over the course of a long hearing.’
Stephen Forrester represented SandpiperCI during the tribunal.