Bristol logistics boss demands £2m compensation
A man is claiming a record-breaking £2 million for unfair dismissal after being “sacked” from courier giants DHL, an industrial tribunal heard yesterday.
Kevin Kay, 46, a business development manager for the logistics company and based in Avonmouth, Bristol, claims he was victimised after returning to work following nine months leave due to stress.
The father of two claims he was forced out of his job and fired over his unwillingness to relocate and spend the majority of the week away from his young family.
He also maintains he was denied a bonus and a pay increase – something he had received regularly during his 22 years at the company.
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A tribunal in Bristol heard Mr Kay’s role changed dramatically in the months he was off and his team was relocated to the West Midlands.
But this would have meant Mr Kay, from Cardiff, would have to commute and spend much of the week staying in hotels in the area while visiting clients.
Martin Doherty, a business development director and Mr Kay’s immediate boss, said: “We changed our business plan in 2009 to a plan which meant we had to spend a lot more time with the customer.
“This fundamentally changed Mr Kay’s daily activity, he would have had to spend more time face to face with a client and less time doing data analysis in an office.”
Mr Kay was granted sick leave in March 2010 after suffering stress and depression.
But he was told he could no longer work out of the port on his return to work in January 2011 and was required to move to a centralised location at Fradley Park, West Midlands.
Mr Doherty told the tribunal Mr Kay had argued that he could do the job from his home in Cardiff, commuting to and from the Midlands, and that he had categorically refused to stay overnight.
He said: “The amount of driving he would have done would have been worrying.
“It is a five-hour round trip to the West Midlands from Cardiff, which would have taken five hours out of an eight-hour working day.
“I got the impression that he thought the business needs were not what we were telling him they were – that he could do it all from home.
“I believed he knew he would have to stay away from home though, meeting clients face to face.”
Mr Kay undertook a phased return to work from January 2011 but by June 6 the company had made the decision to sack him.
He immediately appealed, but the dismissal was upheld.
Employment Judge Jim Tindal also heard that Mr Kay had not qualified for a bonus in April 2011 because he had spent a significant time away from work that year.
Mr Kay’s lawyer Stephen Jackson said: “We have asked for £1.2million, but grossed up with tax that comes to “2.4million.”
The tribunal is set to continue on September 10.