The Court of Appeal unanimously ruled yesterday (19 April) in favour of Blackburn Haulier and Farleys’ client Norman Kingston, who was unfairly sacked by his employer Kenyon Road Haulage after selling off scrap metal and splitting the proceeds with colleagues.

After 17 years of service as a Fleet Engineer at the company in Blackburn, Mr Kingston was dismissed following an investigation and disciplinary hearing into the scrap metal sales, under grounds that the company were unaware of the activity and it was classed as gross misconduct.

Mr Kingston maintained that selling the scrap metal was common practice throughout the company, and the wider industry. Since 1995, he had made around £700-800 per year from selling offcuts to a scrap merchant, which was shared between colleagues. Mr Kingston also said that Management were aware of this.

An investigation was launched into the matter in October 2011, following which the Management requested all monies from the sale of the scrap metal, on the basis that the money should be put back into the business.

Five months later in February 2012, Mr Kingston was suspended from work pending a disciplinary hearing, and was subsequently dismissed in March 2012 for gross misconduct.

It was decided at Manchester Employment Tribunal in June 2013 that Mr Kingston was unfairly dismissed, on the grounds that he did not hide what his was doing from his employers and that he genuinely believed there was a custom and practice within the industry and the company that scrap metal be dealt with in this way. Furthermore, the Judge held that the decision was unfair on the basis that it could not be classed as theft, as there was no element of dishonesty in what Mr Kingston had done.
Kenyon Road Haulage has since sought to overturn the verdict at Employment Appeal Tribunal, unsuccessfully, resulting in yesterday afternoon’s Court of Appeal hearing.

The Court of Appeal ruled unanimously in favour of Mr Kingston and has dismissed the company’s appeal, finding that there had been no error of law in Manchester Employment Tribunal’s decision that Mr Kingston had been unfairly dismissed by his ex-employers Kenyon Road Haulage and its Directors.

This is another success for the Employment team at North West law firm Farleys, who have represented Mr Kingston since his dismissal in 2012

Yesterday’s ruling was welcomed by Head of Employment Victoria Mitchell and Solicitor Sally Eastwood, who are are “overjoyed with the successful outcome and pleased to see justice has finally been achieved for Mr Kingston after a four year legal battle”.

Mr Kingston said: “I’m delighted with the outcome and it has been extremely satisfying to witness Kenyon Road Haulage finally being accountable for their actions. I have been extremely impressed with the professionalism provided by my legal team and cannot thank Paras Gorasia of Kings Chambers and Farleys Solicitors enough”.

Farleys Solicitors provide expert HR and Employment Law advice for businesses and individuals throughout the North West. For further information regarding unfair dismissals,Employment Tribunals, or Employment Tribunal representation contact Farleys’ HR & Employment law department on 0333 331 4080, alternatively please email us here