A Dundee man who lost his job after two colleagues slipped and fell on a floor he left covered in cleaning fluid has lost his claim of unfair dismissal.
Mark Cooney was working at CJ Lang and Sons in Longtown Road as a warehouse operative, responsible for cleaning up spillages and boxes discarded by other workers.
In October he identified a foul smell coming from the male toilet close to the chilled area of the warehouse.
He went to the toilets and found a bottle of cleaning fluid which he poured into the two urinals and onto the floor of the toilet.
He then scrubbed the floor and opened a window to help the area dry.
A short time later CCTV footage showed the arm of the claimant pouring liquid from the bottle through the door of the toilet into the corridor that led to it.
A few minutes later, one of his colleagues, Charles Stewart, entered the corridor and slipped on the wet tiles, injuring his back.
He reported the incident to supervisor Ricky Mauchline and was later signed off work for two weeks because of his injury.
When Mr Mauchline went to put a “wet floor” sign in the corridor, he also slipped and fell on the wet tiles although he did not sustain an injury.
Mr Mauchline began an investigation into the incident in which the claimant denied having poured liquid onto the floor of the corridor.
He was suspended on full pay and a disciplinary hearing, where he was accused of gross misconduct, took place on November 2.
During the hearing Mr Cooney claimed the arm seen on CCTV was not his and that he was being “victimised” by another worker.
He was dismissed by letter three days letter and a subsequent appeal upheld the firm’s decision.
During his claim for unfair dismissal, Mr Cooney’s solicitor claimed the respondents had failed to carry out a full and fair investigation, had not acted reasonably and their decision to dismiss was “procedurally and substantively unfair.”
However, tribunal judge Alexander Kemp ruled against the claimant, saying he did not consider his evidence reliable and did not consider the dismissal unfair.
During the investigation he said he had opened the window in the toilet to help the floor dry but giving evidence to the tribunal he said the window had only been opened to let the smell escape, which the judge noted was “inconsistent with his own original statement.”
He also said the idea the arm seen pouring liquid onto to the floor of the corridor belonged to someone else “lacked credibility”.
He said Mr Cooney should have found signs warning other employees about the floor and that he “created the danger” that led to two men falling.
“I do appreciate that his motives in taking the action initially were good ones, in that he was seeking to mask a foul smell, but the manner in which he did that was to create risk for others, that led to injury,” he concluded.