Pendle Citizen’s Advice Bureau worker wins dismissal fight

First published in News

A WELFARE rights worker, who was employed by Pendle Citizen’s Advice Bureau for 16 years, has won an unfair dismissal fight.

Kenneth Briscall, 62, feared he had been singled out for the sack when the CAB lost a contract with the Legal Services Commission to provide welfare advice work in 2010.

He had argued that the positions of all staff, including welfare rights, money advice workers, supervisors and management, should be considered as part of a redundancy pool.

But he was informed that October by then-manager Clare Strachan he was being dismissed at the end of the year.

While this process was ongoing, debt worker Helvi Carruthers handed in her notice, the hearing was told.

However the £20,000 post was not discussed with Mr Briscall, as suitable alternative employment.

The tribunal heard that Mr Briscall, of Hopkinson Terrace, Trawden, did not actually finish in December 2010 but continued until the end of the following March.

He refused to sign a fixed-term contract in the meantime and carried on working for four days a week, before he was finally sacked.

Ruling on the case, Employment Judge Clare Grundy, who sat with two lay members, said Mr Briscall’s unfair dismissal case relating to December 31, 2010, failed, as he received a redundancy payment. But a tandem claim, relating to his dismissal on March 31, succeeded, as there was no break in service.

Criticising their decision not to outline selection criteria and offer a suitable alternative job, Judge Grundy said: “There were significant gaps in the respondent’s (CAB) procedures.”

The decision follows a similar case in 2010 when a former CAB manager, Paul Harding, from Barrowford, also won an unfair dismissal claim again because the same bureau had not followed proper procedures.

Mr Briscall was also concerned that solicitor Majed Iqbal, who he had previously raised concerns about, sat on his dismissal appeal, alongside trustee Peter Pike.

“It is plain to the tribunal that a right-thinking outsider could think that Mr Iqbal would not be favourably disposed to the claimant and therefore should not have taken part in his appeal,” added Judge Grundy.

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