A high-performing mortgage adviser has been awarded £23,000 for wrongful dismissal after her employer sacked her for “always moaning”.
Helen McMahon was dismissed two days after complaining about how hard she worked and how she was working up to 48 hours a week at Heron Financial Limited in Rickmansworth.
An employment tribunal held in Cambridge heard that in May 2019, McMahon emailed her managers regarding unpaid commission, which she felt was not reflected in her latest payslips. She then had two weeks off work due to sickness and requested a meeting with her manager Robin Thomas on her return.
The tribunal was told the mortgage adviser discussed several issues at the meeting, including her working hours which she felt were too long, the salary and commission she received in her May 2019 payslip and her sick pay. McMahon said: “I said to Mr Thomas that I was working more than 48 hours a week, that it was stressing me out and that I wanted somehow to reduce my hours.” Two working days later, on 4 June 2019, McMahon was told by company founder Warren Harrocks that she was dismissed, without any explanation.
McMahon sued the company, bringing claims of unfair and wrongful dismissal on the basis she was not sacked for performance issues but because she had raised concerns about working 48 hours a week. Heron Financial told the tribunal McMahon was sacked due to performance concerns, despite them giving her a bottle of champagne as reward for her work that year. However, according to McMahon, she had been awarded the champagne because she had “one of the highest conversion rates in the company”.
Harrocks claimed he was unaware McMahon had raised the issue of working hours with Thomas. However, Judge Sarah King said “this was a small business and the directors discussed matters regularly between them”. She added: “I am satisfied [McMahon] was dismissed for assertion of a statutory right. That dismissal was unfair as no process was followed and there was no fair reason to dismiss her.’ The judge awarded McMahon £23,000 in compensation for unpaid sick pay, owed commission and wrongful dismissal.