An estate agent who tried to claim constructive dismissal, by likening the parent company to North Korea’s dictatorship, lost his case after an employment tribunal judge found that he had given false evidence.
During a five-day hearing, an employment tribunal heard how Nick Elgey, had resigned from his role as the managing director of Cumberland Estate Agents in April 2016, after a career spanning almost 24 years.
Mr Elgey had attempted to claim constructive dismissal from his job by claiming that he had been so “hideously” treated that he had been left with no option but to resign.
However, tribunal judge Jessica Hill, dismissed Mr Elgey’s claims that two former senior colleagues had treated him aggressively and instead found that he had deliberately tried to mislead the tribunal with evidence he knew to be untrue.
Judge Hill stated: “Having considered the evidence, I have found that the respondent [The Cumberland] did not conduct itself in a manner likely to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of trust and confidence. I have found that the respondent conducted itself properly.”
The tribunal found that the majority of Mr Elgey’s complaints related to the normal day-to-day management of the business and whilst it was accepted that he had been distressed by his superiors’ decision to review his management performance and that he did not agree with their criticisms, this in itself was not a reason to find that he was unfairly dismissed.
Judge Hill further stated: “The evidence showed both managers tried to give him support, both in terms of line management and resources.
“The motivation for [Mr Elgey] bringing these proceedings was to damage the reputation of [a senior colleague and The Cumberland’s chief executive.] The tribunal views this conduct as a deliberate attempt to mislead it and provide evidence that he knew was untruthful.”
Lara Murray, an Associate Solicitor and employment law specialist, said: “Thankfully malicious claims to employment tribunals have reduced significantly in recent years, however employers need to be aware that wrongful claims are not only time consuming and costly to deal with but also have the potential to damage an organisation’s reputation.
“It is important, therefore, to ensure that managers have the confidence to handle difficult conversations and are aware of how to properly document such matters, in order to protect the business.
“If you are faced with the threat of constructive dismissal, it is important to seek specialist legal advice promptly. More importantly, it is sensible to consider upskilling your workforce by equipping managers with the tools they need to effectively tackle issues in the workplace.”
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