An ex-Tesco manager, who said she was “left in the dark” about changes to her role and subsequently suspended for not accepting those changes, has won her case for unfair dismissal.
Ms Escott was informed her role would be renamed “stock and admin manager” with only minor changes to her duties and responsibilities. Ms Escott then asked for further information, especially regarding the changes and whether they could be considered “minor”.
It eventually transpired that the role change would mean the inclusion of 93% of an old compliance role and increased managerial responsibilities, which Ms Escott did not consider minor. Despite several meetings, Ms Escott’s questions remained unanswered and she was eventually hospitalised due to anxiety-related symptoms aggravated by the proposed change.
On her return to work, and with her questions still unanswered, Ms Escott was given four options:
1) accept the new role;
2) look for another job internally;
3) step down; or
Ms Escott refused the role and was subsequently suspended for non-compliance with a reasonable management request. She raised another grievance whilst suspended regarding the poor manner in which the company dealt with her suspension. Eventually Ms Escott felt she had no choice but to resign from her position.
The tribunal found that suspending Ms Escott and not answering her questions destroyed her trust and confidence in the working relationship. Her claim for constructive unfair dismissal was upheld.
If you are making any changes to roles within your company or organisation and would like specialist legal advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.