Driver's constructive dismissal claim rejected

A KIDDERMINSTER vehicle recovery firm has successfully defended a legal claim of constructive unfair dismissal by a former employee.

Birmingham Employment Tribunal judge Stan Britton also declared that Auto Support, of Matthew Lane, Hoo Farm Industrial Estate, Kidderminster did not make unauthorised deductions from the wages of driver Ian Greaves as alleged by him at a previous tribunal hearing.

The judge further decided that the firm did not refuse Mr Greaves taking take rest breaks as he had also previously alleged.

Mr Greaves, now living in Tewkesbury, complained at the earlier hearing that he was too busy to take his appropriate rest periods and that apart from having deductions taken from his wages for 90-minute breaks he did not have, he had not received a “quality bonus” he claimed he was entitled to.

He resigned in protest, prompting his claim for constructive unfair dismissal.

Nick Dawson, a director of the respondents, had denied the allegations and had said in his statement that his business was compelled by law to allow drivers to take their appropriate breaks.

Mr Dawson had opposed Mr Greaves’ claim for constructive unfair dismissal and denied making unauthorised deductions from Mr Greaves’ wages.

He also said he had given Mr Greaves £60 in advance of his wages to “help him out.”

Mr Britton had decided at the previous hearing to make a decision at a later date. Now he has rejected all of Mr Greaves’ claims.

“I have heard no evidence that the claimant was subjected to poor working conditions,” said Mr Britton. “I have found, as fact, the claimant was in a position to take statutory rest breaks and probably did so. In any event, I have not accepted that the respondent actually refused to permit Mr Greaves to take rest breaks. The fact that the claimant may, on occasion, have elected not to a rest break any given day is not a refusal of permission to take a break and is, therefore, immaterial.”

Mr Britton said he had also rejected Mr Greaves’ claim for constructive unfair dismissal and had decided that the respondent had not made unauthorised deductions from the claimant’s wages.

“The contractual position was that the claimant was entitled to a basic wage and would potentially be awarded an enchancement to that basic wage if certain eligibility criteria were satisfied,” continued Mr Britton.” On occasions when that criteria was not satisfied the enhancement was not, therefore, properly payable to the claimant..”

Mr Britton said he was not satisfied that the claimant was constructively dismissed because he did not find that the respondent was guilty of a fundamental breach of contract, both in relation to the payment of quality performance bonus - or any other wages - the exercise of rest breaks or the claimant’s general working conditions.

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