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M v A petrochemical company

New member Paul Strelitz, instructed by Euan Smith, partner at Pinsent Masons, successfully represented a petrochemical company in a multi-day Employment Tribunal claim, which tested their very strict approach to safety regime.

An employee who had been with the household name petrochemicals giant for over 24 years was dismissed after he failed to respond properly to two successive alarms despite there being no adverse effects or consequences.

Within the Employment Tribunal the Claimant sought to challenge the validity of his training, belatedly referred to medical condition, and also criticised the harshness of such a sanction in the circumstances.

After evidence heard over three days Employment Judge Maidment, sitting at the Hull Employment Tribunal, provided a 20 page reserved decision dismissing the Claim for unfair dismissal and referring in particular to the importance which the Claimant's employer placed upon safety at work.

This was seen as a fantastic result by the Respondent who had placed such great store on the standards of safety expected on site. In addition safety-critical employment locations generally can draw comfort when they decide to dismiss employees for a single incident which breached health and safety requirements, even after extremely long periods of satisfactory/good employment by the employee concerned.