21 July 2010 #Employment
A Firefighter has received £80,000 in compensation after he was dismissed following complaints he raised that reclining chairs installed in his fire station were causing him severe back pain. The chairs were brought in to replace beds in Greater Manchester`s fire stations in 2006.
He won his damages after an Employment Tribunal found he was unfairly dismissed by his employer in 2008 after 25 years of service. He was sacked for gross misconduct after emailing his colleagues asking whether the chairs also caused them back pain. His employer argued that he had breached the implied term of trust and confidence in his employment contract by soliciting support against the fire service and that his email breached their email usage policy. The tribunal however found that Mr Bennett`s email was of political and public interest in that Firefighters should be alert whilst on duty so they are fit to put out fires and ensure public safety. The tribunal also found his right to freedom of expression under the Human Rights Act had been breached.
The fire service said it was "disappointed" by the ruling.