Two former employees of Vinci Park Solutions Ltd, which operates the car parks at Ninewells Hospital, have been awarded compensation after being unfairly dismissed by the company.
William Keenan, of Carnoustie, was awarded £8,590.52 while Alistair Gray, of Errol, will receive £3,370.28.
The tribunal chairman M.A. Macleod, who sat alone in Dundee in November, upheld both claims — despite denials by the Watford firm that the men were unfairly dismissed.
However, their compensation amounts had been reduced by 60% and 70% respectively because of their “contributory behaviour”, the chairman ruled.
Mr Keenan, 53, was a supervisor and 36-year-old Mr Gray was a parking attendant when both were dismissed in December 2013.
The sackings arose after the regional commercial manager had visited the site following health and safety issues raised by Mr Keenan himself, arriving unexpectedly at 9pm on December 12 2013 to find that both Mr Keenan and Mr Gray, who were due to finish their shifts at 10pm, had already gone home.
Mr Keenan had allowed Mr Gray away because of a family emergency, the tribunal heard, while the nightshift attendant had arrived early for his shift, allowing Mr Keenan to go home.
Both claimed it was “custom and practice” for staff who arrived early for nightshift to allow the backshift staff away.
Mr Keenan told the tribunal other staff signed him out at 10pm, while Mr Gray was found to have falsified the records himself by signing himself out at 10pm, when in fact he left much earlier.
The company argued the men were paid until 10pm and their actions amounted to gross misconduct.
Solicitors Ryan Russell and Steven Forsyth of Dundee law firm Muir Myles Laverty argued the company had acted unfairly, flouting employee law procedures in dismissing the workers.
In his decision, the chairman found there was no dispute that both men were dismissed on the grounds that they had left their shift early and said that was potentially competent grounds for gross dismissal.
However, he ruled that Mr Keenan’s actions did not breach any of the company’s policy or procedures as it could not prove the existence of such points in any policy documents.
In addition, the company’s procedures in relation to both disciplinary and appeal processes was “fundamentally flawed”, with confusion over dates and evidence produced by the firm that Mr Keenan had not seen and therefore could not challenge.
But the chairman ruled that, even if the process was fair, there was a 25% chance the company would still have dismissed Mr Keenan and therefore the compensatory award was reduced by a quarter. He reduced the award by a further 60% to take account of Mr Keenan’s contributory conduct.
In Mr Gray’s case, again the procedures carried out by the firm were unfair and “confusing” and it was accepted he had had the permission of Mr Keenan to leave early on one occasion due to a family emergency.
However, it was found he had left early on other occasions without permission.
The chairman ruled he could not rely on “custom and practice” as he had signed himself out as having left at 10pm.
His compensation was cut by a quarter as the chairman felt there was a 25% chance he would still have been sacked by the firm, had its procedures been fair, and a further 70% due to his contributory conduct.