GMB member and former employee of Number 1 Bar Limited in London Bridge, Marcelo Lagos, has won an important victory in the Employment Tribunal where he was awarded £36,581 in compensation.
In a unanimous judgment, the company, who failed to attend the Tribunal hearing, were held to have unfairly dismissed Mr Lagos, for whistleblowing.
Mr Lagos, who was employed as the company’s Head Chef, was informed that the kitchen where he worked was closing and he was dismissed in May 2015.
However, the Employment Tribunal, sitting in Croydon, found that the kitchen did not close and food continued to be served following Mr Lagos’ departure.
The Tribunal went on to hold that the real reason for dismissal was that Mr Lagos had blown the whistle by raising concerns following a burn to his hand that he had suffered whilst working. In particular, the Tribunal found that Mr Lagos had raised concerns about the company’s salamander grill and deep fat fryer.
The whistleblowing legislation requires there to be a disclosure in the ‘public interest.’ On this point, the Tribunal found that Mr Lagos’ disclosures were made ‘in the public interest because anyone who came into that kitchen was likely to be endangered by faulty equipment’.
The Tribunal went on to hold that Mr Lagos had suffered race discrimination, that the Company had failed to pay Mr Lagos the correct holiday pay and notice pay and that the Company had also failed to provide him with a statement of particulars of employment, which employers are obliged to provide to employees within 2 months of the start of their employment.
Mr Lagos said: “It was an arduous and exhausting job. but thanks to GMB everything went well, I am very grateful since from the first moment I counted on GMB support and advice, from the dismissal to the final hearing.”
Jim McDermott, Regional Organiser of GMB, Southern Region said, “This is a shocking case where the employer has failed on so many different levels to abide by well-established laws that regulate the workplace relationship.
“Health and Safety in the workplace is a fundamental right that GMB pursues on behalf of all workers and GMB will always seek to support members who are victimised for health and safety reasons.”