Is a pie in the face worth 4 in the van?

30 Jan 2013

In the case of Santos v Disotto Foods Limited, Mr Santos was dismissed for failure to follow instructions from management and subsequently claimed unfair dismissal.

Mr Santos worked as a Warehouse Manager.  He had been suffering from stress and he worked long hours.  He was at the end of a long shift when he was instructed to load four banoffee pies on to a vehicle.  He failed to do this, claiming to have been unsure which vehicle they should be loaded on to.  He decided to wait until the following morning before carrying out the instructions, in order to clarify which was the correct vehicle. 

The Tribunal upheld the unfair dismissal claim, saying that no reasonable employer would have made the decision to dismiss on so slight a matter. This was also taking into account previous disciplinary issues which, in themselves, had not justified dismissal.  Mr Santos was in a position of responsibility and he had chosen the best way to carry out the instruction.

Mr Santos was awarded over £59,000.

Our view:

A reminder for all employers to ensure they are acting fairly and their decisions are reasonable at all times