Dundee man awarded “record” £76,200 by employment tribunal

A Dundee man has been awarded what is thought to be one of the highest-ever unfair dismissal payouts by an employment tribunal in Scotland.

Site supervisor David Galloway will receive £76,200 from his former employers Kitsons Environmental Europe Ltd of Warrington after the tribunal ruled he was entitled to £7,800 above the prescribed limit of £68,400 due to his loss of earnings for the period.

Mr Galloway, who is currently claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, said he was “over the moon” with the award after spending two years without permanent work since being sacked for gross misconduct in March 2011.

He was one of three employees dismissed by the company after spot checks found they were claiming for eight hours’ work at weekends during periods when they weren’t actually on site at GlaxoSmithKline in Montrose.

All three claimed they were unfairly dismissed, on the grounds that there was an agreement in place whereby they were paid for a day’s work every weekend regardless of whether they worked eight hours or not.

One of them, chargehand insulator James Heggie, was awarded £16,048.96 by the tribunal panel.

A third, advanced scaffolder Brian Russell, also of Dundee, is understood to have received an undisclosed sum after Kitsons agreed a settlement with him.

Solicitor Ryan Russell from Muir Myles Laverty Law in Dundee said he believed the award may be the highest ever in Scotland.

“I am absolutely delighted for Mr Galloway. He has been through a very difficult time and his unfair dismissal changed his life after 40 years working in the same industry,” he said.

“To put this award in context, the average award for unfair dismissal claims in 2012 was £4,560 while less than 2% of successful claims exceed £50,000.”

The tribunal heard that Kitsons, which specialises in asbestos removal and thermal insulation installation, was required to carry out ad hoc non-maintenance work as and when instructed by main contractor Doosan Babcock at weekends.

In terms of their contracts the claimants were entitled to be paid for a full eight-hour working day at the weekends, irrespective of how many hours they actually worked.

However, following concerns raised, Kitsons launched an investigation which included checking pay slips, gate reports and timesheets.

Kitsons had alleged that Mr Galloway had been falsifying information on a timesheet for financial gain.

Operations manager Ralph Livingston had given evidence at the tribunal which the panel said was “simply not credible” and included a “bewildering sequence of events which impacted on credibility”.

The panel members were also mindful that only a week or so before the investigation Mr Galloway and Mr Heggie were advised by Mr Livingston that they were candidates for redundancy.

Mr Galloway said: “I’m just glad it’s all over. It’s been two years and apart from a couple of temporary jobs I’ve been out of work since then.”