A business manager has been awarded £42,000 after winning an unfair dismissal claim against his former boss who asked him how he liked his new company car moments before firing him.
George Dolby, 73, had met owner and managing director Stuart Sayer, of Stuart Plant Ltd, for a simple work ‘catch-up’ at a hotel, an employment tribunal heard.
The pair walked through the car park of Holiday Inn West in Peterborough when Mr Dolby, who had been working at the company for eight years, was asked how he liked his company car.
He told Sayer that he liked it ‘very much’, but was told afterwards that he would need to return the vehicle immediately as he was being made redundant after a 48-year career in the power industry.
The grandfather had to sell his £360,000 four bedroom family home that he had lived in for 35 years as a result and now earns minimum wage working for a fruit and vegetable wholesaler.
After claiming he was unfairly dismissed, the tribunal found in Dolby’s favour and he was awarded an entire years-worth of his previous £42,000 salary.
George Dolby, then 71, was dismissed in a ‘brutal manner’ after meeting his former boss Stuart Sayer for a ‘catch up’ in a Peterborough hotel car park
The hearing had been told Mr Dolby began working for Stuart Plant Limited, a company which sells generators, pumps and lighting towers, in January 2010 where he was was in charge of key account managers.
On Friday November 2, 2018, at about 3pm, Mr Dolby was called by Mr Sayer who asked him to meet an hour later at the Holiday Inn West in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, for a ‘catch-up’.
They met in the reception area of the hotel and spent an hour talking about general business issues, including the resignation of one of the key account managers, the tribunal heard.
Stuart Sayer (pictured) asked Mr Dolby whether he liked his new company car, before telling him he had to return it as he was being made redundant
Earlier that year, Mr Dolby had been given a new company car and Mr Sayer asked his employee whether he liked it.
Details on the company car’s make and price have not been disclosed to the public.
Mr Dolby said he liked the car ‘very much’ and then ‘out of the blue’, his boss told him he was being fired, the panel heard.
He then drove home ‘very upset’ and later received a letter stating his position was being made redundant, he would receive £8,000 severance pay and the car would be collected a week later.
The pair walked through Holiday Inn West, Peterborough car park (above) when Mr Dolby, who had been working at the company for eight years, was asked how he liked his company car
Mr Dolby sent two letters to his boss – one requesting his £15,000 bonus which he had received two years running and the other challenging the legality of the decision but both were ignored, the panel heard.
The hearing was also told that due to losing his job, Mr Dolby was ‘forced’ to sell his family home and downsize to a two-bedroom property in Spalding.
Mr Dolby sent a number of job applications to prospective employers in the power industry, but believed at his age he was rejected because he was not in a position to secure a role capable of forging a new career.
He briefly worked at supermarket giant M&S before joining World Wide Fruit where, now aged 73, he works permanently as a fruit packer and sorter earning £8.72 an hour.
Mr Sayer told the tribunal he had tried to offer Mr Dolby the vacant key account manager position, but Mr Dolby denied this and it was not accepted by employment judge Sarah Moore.
Addressing the tribunal, held remotely in Norwich, Judge Moore said: ‘What transpired in the car park was merely a brief conversation in which Mr Sayer told Mr Dolby without warning that he was being made redundant.
‘It was not a meeting, and the consultation was not truncated, it was non-existent. The dismissal was plainly unfair.
‘Indeed, it is hard to conceive of a more brutal manner in which an employee’s employment might be terminated.’
Mr Dolby will be paid £42,000 as compensation.