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Wigan Employee Wins Employment Tribunal after being sacked over Facebook ‘meat deal’ private post to Girl Friend

Chadwick’s Family Emporium

Chadwick’s (The Chadwick Family’s Emporium of Fine Foods), in Standish are in trouble again after sacking an employee  Michael Hayward, of over seven years employment  after he shared a private Facebook post a to his then girlfriend  Helen Bennett. The post to Helen  recommended a firm called Fresh Meat Packs North West Ltd  who supply discount meats of  similar quality but at a much cheaper price.

After Michael Hayward was fired for sharing another butcher’s ‘meat deal’ on Facebook he then took his former employer Noel Chadwick of Standish Wigan to an employment tribunal at a personal cost of £1,200 and won.

Michael and Helen

Michael  had worked for Noel Chadwick, described to Liverpool Employment Tribunal as a small  and well-respected butchers in Standish Wigan, for seven and a half years before he was dismissed for recommending a discount from online retailer Fresh Meat Packs North West to his then-girlfriend on Facebook.

Hayward was subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct and breach of contract by father and son directors John and Paul Chadwick for ‘advertising’ what they believed to be a competitor and breaching the company’s social media policy. The company, which employs 42 people, is run by managing director Paul Chadwick, whose father, John, is chairman. Paul’s mum and two sisters also work in the business. The tribunal heard the pair, whose business did not have a formal HR function, had already decided to dismiss Hayward before they brought him into a disciplinary meeting in April 2016.

The 37-year-old said he was not issued a written or verbal formal warning, despite requesting one, nor was he given the opportunity to have someone with him at the meeting or given an explanation regarding his actions. As no appeal was arranged within a few weeks of his sacking, Hayward eventually lost confidence in Noel Chadwick and did not follow up the matter.

The Liverpool tribunal also heard that Hayward had been ‘pulled up’ on his use of social media before he posted the offer, but there was no warning given to him that suggested such behaviour could lead to his dismissal.

Liverpool Employment Tribunal

Allowing Hayward’s unfair dismissal claim, Judge Keith Robinson called Noel Chadwick “fanciful” for suggesting it experienced any financial or reputational loss because of the Facebook post.

“Hayward’s misdemeanour, if one can call it that, was minor,” the judge continued. “This is not an advertisement; this [matter] was a wholly mishandled dismissal root and branch. The claimant was dismissed summarily in a process that was reprehensible.”

The judge awarded Hayward a £6,091 payout – £4,891 in lost wages and compensation, and £1,200 to reimburse his tribunal fees.

Victoria Davies, managing associate in Addleshaw Goddard’s employment group, told People Management the case reflected the importance of creating and following a full and fair disciplinary process before dismissing an employee for any reason.

“It is well established that employers can take action to protect their business where employees overstep the mark outside of work on social media,” she said. “However, this is a salutary reminder that employers must make sure disciplinary allegations are properly drafted to fairly reflect any wrongdoing, there is a sufficient connection with their work and there are reasonable grounds to support summarily dismissing an employee for gross misconduct.”

Paul Chadwick

Paul Chadwick said Noel Chadwick accepted that it had not followed the correct dismissal procedure in this case, and “graciously accepted the judge’s decision and the compensation awarded to the claimant”.

Chadwick added: “We would like to take this opportunity to urge other small-to-medium businesses to ensure that their HR team is doing their job properly and, if they do not have an HR team, to enlist the services of a professional HR consultancy for the protection of both employer and employee.”

Full Case Report of Employment Tribunal can be found here

Case a reminder to employers to make sure disciplinary procedures are followed correctly, lawyer says.

Mr Hayward, who is now understood to work at Starbucks and has since married Miss Bennett.

Michael and Helen’s Wedding

 



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Comments (37)

  • Helen

    Hi, I’m Helen Hayward and I represented my now husband all through this procedure and tribunal and as a HR professional myself, have been able to learn a lot and apply that learning to my own company. There was no process followed and it truly does highlight that proper procedure and common sense have a huge roll to play and that HR has a significant role in risk management in any company, no matter the size. We all learn about tribunals through our CIPD training but it is very different from the other side.

  • Martin Tremaine

    The outcome appears to illustrate the importance of access to justice regarding employment related matters. Following the decision by the Supreme Court recently of course fees will no longer inhibit justice going forward. Thankfully, the claimant who brought this case before they were banned was able to pay and seems set to be reimbursed.

  • mindar

    I think I’ll be giving this place a miss on my next visit. Poor lad got sacked for posting about Fresh Meat Packs North West to girlfriend on social media.

  • Stardelta

    ts no big deal.

    Most employment contracts these day state that if you go slagging off employers or releasing confidential or sensitive info on social media that you will face disciplinary action or dismissal.

    He may have done serious damage to his employers interests or reputation. Put yourself in Chadwicks position.

    No sympathy…..He should have been more responsible and get his mouth shut. If he had he would still have his job.

  • lectriclegs

    But Chadwick lost the case, did he not?

  • gaffer

    Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the case there is no excuse for an employer not facilitating an appeal by an employee against a disciplinary action.It is a fundamental principle of employment protection legislation.
    Although, having read the summary of the tribunal’s findings, I’m sure the lad would still probably have won his case had he been granted an appeal by his employer.

  • Stardelta

    The outcome is irrelevant.

    The lad did what he had agreed and was legally bound not to.

    If I thought his actions had damaged or compromised the interests of my business I would have done the same thing….. on the spot……seeya

  • tuddy

    The tribunal judge stated that the lad “was not in breach of any social media policy” so he didn’t do what he had agreed and was legally bound not to. And if you or any other employer had done the same thing, they’d have found themselves on the wrong end of a £6,000 fine, and a shed full of bad publicity for their business. Well done to the lad for having the bottle to take on a bullying employer who thought that they were above the law. Let’s hope that this case encourages other employees to do the same.

  • dave©

    The chap was lucky to have £1200 in savings to finance the Industrial Tribunal costs, I took a case to a tribunal back in the 80s, and won it, it was free then. I hear that the the tribunal fees have now been scrapped, good!

  • grimshaw

    Well said dave.

    I also understand that millions will need to be paid in compensation to the ones who had to fund finance their own costs before this was scrapped .
    The justice minister who introduced this was i believe chris grayling who was warned at the time how unfair it was but still went ahead

  • wigvet

    The Claimant was

    i) Not issued a written or verbal formal warning, despite requesting one,
    ii) Not given the opportunity to have someone with him at his meeting
    iii) Not given an explanation regarding his actions.
    iv) No appeal was arranged within a few weeks of his sacking

    Chadwicks appear to know the law to stop people parking on their property but have little or no grasp of HR law!!

    The judge adding the claimant was dismissed summarily in a process that was ‘reprehensible’

  • i-spy

    Fresh Meat Packs NW are definitely worth a look if its meat and chicken you eat

  • mindar

    Some really good deals on their website at the moment. Good if you want to stock your freezer. They even do ready cooked turkeys for Christmas.

  • nanajacqui

    Well he’s done me a favour as I’d never heard of them & I’ve just ordered my first delivery for Saturday 19th…I’ll let you know if it’s good

  • Stardelta

    Employee takes the pi**

    Employer acts accordingly

    Employer is the villain

    Looks like he didn’t follow the correct procedures though. But If he had and the outcome went in his favour….would he still be the villain?

    I think most in here would still say yes

  • gaffer

    The tribunal hearing the Chadwick case will have considered the spirit in which the disciplinary action was taken. Employers who ignore the fact, because it is not a legal requirement, that disciplinary procedures must have a spirit of good intent between the two parties are likely to be on the losing side at tribunal hearings.
    In one case I was responsible for the tribunal chairman accepted that the disciplinary procedure was correctly and fairly carried out in the spirit of the legislation. However, given that the employee, in his view, had limited opportunities for other employment I should have made extra efforts to find him alternative employment. He then went on to award compensation of £7k.

  • PeterP

    Not much privacy on Facebook/Other media when a personal message from man to girlfriend is open for his employees to use against him

  • MPhaywood

    John chadwick? ….the man who thinks he owns standish!

  • winder

    Went in to their shop about 3 yrs back for a look, didn’t buy anything, the prices were, well err, Pricey

    It seems as if the Family Chadwick have something against The Last Orders pub, they covered the pub sign up with their own board!

  • WiganDrummer

    The place looks like a sh*t hole from the photo, can’t imagine what the hygiene is like looking at he dilapidation of building. Bet he’s glad he doesn’t work there any more.

  • GOLDEN BEAR

    I still blame Labour Gov for not amending the law when they had the chance. Time was when one was sacked and the person took an employer to an unfair dismissal tribunal, if the appellant won his case he/she would be offered their job back ,then the swine party got in with Thatcher and one of the first laws they changed was ,even if a person won their case for unfair dismissal the law was that the company were not forced to offer them their job back , This is something iv’ NEVER forgiven LABOUR for because it happened to myself and 3 of my colleagues .
    As for this case if ( WIGVET) is correct the bloke was onto a winner but what i have just been saying is it shows to what depths these rotten tory employer’s will try .

  • Stardelta

    Tory employers?

    How do you know Chadwick supports the Tories?

  • spiderwoman

    People should be very careful when posting things on social media. No doubt the employer would not have been happy to see one of his employees posting about another firm’s fresh meat products when they are trying to sell their own fresh meat. It’s common sense really.

  • i-spy

    I’m all in favour of healthy competition.

  • gaffer

    GB

    Had Barbara Castle’s proposed legislation ‘In Place of Strife’,supported by the PM Harold Wilson, not been scuppered by Jim Callaghan the winter of discontent would not have taken place. In that event it would probably have ensured a Labour victory at the 1979 election. The subsequent legislation introduced by the Thatcher government was more of less the same as that envisaged by ‘In Place of Strife.’
    Your facts re being offered their job back are not correct.
    Employment protection legislation has always allowed employment tribunals to order reinstatement. The employer, however, could legally refuse. A refusal usually carried a doubling of the unfair dismissal compensation.

  • upthetims

    Seem to remember Grunwicks where a so called Labour Home secretary set his SS (OOPS) I mean the SPG free to cause mayhem on the picket line.A foretaste of what was to happen in the miners strike.Akin to Hitler blooding his military in Spain

  • Stardelta

    The miners were not exactly angels now were they UTT?

    I seem to remember 2 of them going down for life for dropping a lump of concrete off a motorway bridge onto a taxi, killing the driver.

  • tonker

    The Story – as referred to by transformer ^^^^

  • broady

    UTT,
    Haven’t ‘t seen his comments for a few months but in answer to your question sadly he is but he is for real.

  • Tommy Two Strokes

    Those Chadwicks sound like really nasty people

  • lectriclegs

    Posted by: pisolivadi (1811) [View pisolivadi's page] [1,000+] Report abuse

    I suppose I ought to start this tale with a bit of empathy for the Chadwicks, because I can understand how annoying it would be to supply a car park for your customers which gets (ab)used by drivers who’ve no intention of using the shop.
    But what about haranguing customers who’ve just spent 33 quid on ribeye and chops…..?
    … A few summers back now, three friends set off on a glorious, blazing June morning for a spot of fishing in the Dales. They’d packed a few stubbies and a bottle of red to wash down a selection of fine cheeses, crackers and dips.They were for the passengers, but the driver had only a bottle of jusoda and little else.
    Just passed Boar’s Head , he says ”I’ve got one them throw away barbies in t’boot but we met not catch owt.

    I’ll stop at Chadwicks and get some meyt. Great idea, beltin. They threw a tenner apiece in; two of them went in the shop and the other said, I ‘ll just nip up street for some sun cream . We’ll be brunt deeyeth if I don’t.

    There was guy on picket duty refusing the sun cream buyer exit to the street.
    ” S’okay pal, we’re spending 30 quid in your shop, I’m just off for some sun cream”
    YA CAN’T! he said
    Why’s that? don’t they sell it in Standish? he asked, and, just thinking the picket wasn’t a full shilling, strolled passed him and out the car park.
    Suncream proved indeed hard to buy , so he bought a daily mirror instead and hurried back so as not to hold up the trip. His pals were still in Chadwicks shop, but now the picket had been joined by two others.
    WHERE’S THE SUNCREAM THEN?! You’ve not got any!
    Sorry? Oh they didn’t have any.
    Ya NOT allowed to leave the car park!!
    But me friends are still in your shop spending thirty quid.
    THATS not the point!!!
    The guy got in the car whilst the tree of them continued to shout abuse at him.
    ”Lets get gooin’ quick he said when his friends returned, ” they’re bloody crazy”’.

    They pulled away,gingerly, but knowing it was now three against three and from inside the motor, he rather cheekily gave the fingers to them out the back window.

    They never got a bite in the Dales and Chadwicks steaks were lovely , but three days later , the proprietor WROTE to the driver demanding an apology from the guy without suncream.
    Well, I can tell you, that proprieter will be waiting a while yet.

    Replied: 9th May 2011 at 16:10
    Last edited by pisolivadi: 9th May 2011 at 16:22:19

    From here

  • upthetims

    frittening broady!!!

  • Stardelta

    I don’t think they are nasty at all.

    They just choose to robustly defend their business interests and are not swayed by insignificant public opinion that obviously matters not a jot to them.I see it as something to be admired in this day and age.

    Everytimne I visit the place is bombed out, they must be doing something right.

  • mindar

    Let us know about your meat order from Fresh Meat Packs North West Njackie. I’m looking to stock my freezer in the coming months. Delivery as well cant be bad.

  • nyce horse

    “People should be very careful when posting things on social media.”
    Especially when it is peoples names, posted on here without their permission.

  • nanajacqui

    Mindar I’ll tell you next Saturday after my delivery

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