A security officer based at BBC New Broadcasting House has won an unfair dismissal claim against his employer, Interserve

Monday 21 October 2019

David Renton of Garden Court Chambers represented Bectu member Oluwagbemi Ogundolie, a security officer based at BBC New Broadcasting House.

The case was heard at the London Central Employment Tribunal this month and the employment judge found that Mr Ogundolie's dismissal by his employer, Interserve, was unfair.

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A security officer based at BBC New Broadcasting House has won his unfair dismissal claim against his employer, Interserve.

Bectu member Oluwagbemi Ogundolie, had worked for Interserve for 12 years when he was dismissed for failing to report an incident. Mr Ogundolie was covering for a colleague at the front desk, when an unauthorised individual was escorted out of the building by a member of staff.

Mr Ogundolie assumed that the incident would be reported by one of his colleagues for whom this was their main role and so did not report it himself.  It transpired that it had been reported but management had not raised this higher up the management chain.

During the investigation process, Mr Ogundolie apologised and explained that he would handle things differently should such a situation arise again. Despite this, Interserve took the decision to dismiss him for gross misconduct.

The case was referred to Prospect Legal by Bectu full-time officer, Tony Norton. Frances Cusack from Prospect Legal took up the case.

The case was heard at the London Central Employment Tribunal this month.  

The employment judge found that the dismissal was unfair.  He said that the nature of the allegation was minor and that there was no requirement for every Security Officer to report the breach.

The judge found that Mr Ogundolie believed that a colleague would report this and his only failure was to check that this had been done.  Further, if he had done so it would have been confirmed that this incident had been reported.

Therefore, the employment judge felt that Mr Ogundolie's actions did not constitute gross misconduct.

Frances Cusack, from Prospect Legal, said:

“There is a high threshold for claimants when bringing cases of unfair dismissal.  This case acts as a good reminder to employers to properly consider the severity and impact of an employee’s actions before taking the decision to dismiss.

“We believed that the decision to dismiss Oluwagbemi [Mr Ogundolie] was harsh, particularly given his 12 years good service and are delighted that the tribunal agreed.”

Mr Ogundolie, the claimant, said:

“I am extremely happy that the tribunal found that the decision to dismiss me was unfair.  I would not have been able to challenge this without the support of my trade union.”

David Renton is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Employment and Discrimination Law Team.

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