Leading bookmaker loses employment tribunal

William Hill, the leading bookmakers, has lost an Employment Tribunal against one of its previous betting shop managers, who refused to accept a new position in the company that had a salary 20% lower than she was currently earning.

During the significant business restructure, Miss Dinham, the store manager at William Hill’s Battersea branch refused to accept the new position and refused to agree to her proposed new terms and contract of employment. Miss Dinham was earning £25,549.84 in her role as betting shop manager however the new role she was offered was only paying £20,721. At £4,828.84, the reduction in salary is significant and not something that Miss Dinham was prepared to accept.

Miss Dinham had worked at William Hill since May 1998 (over 18 years) and was dismissed in January 2017.

At the completion of the tribunal at the back end last year, the tribunal judge allowed Miss Dinham’s claim for unfair dismissal, agreeing that William Hill’s offer was to do the same job/work just for less money, in effect, breaching employment law.

The tribunal judge stated that William Hill were “dismissive”, and displayed “unreasonable inflexibility… evidenced by its approach to her grievance”.

In addition to Miss Dinham, 8 other betting shop managers rejected the new roles/contracts. The employees were offered £4,828.84 as a one off payment to off-set the reduction in salary however this would not have been offered thereafter.

The new contract not only reduced the salary for the employees but it also eliminated their entitlement to time and a half pay for working on Sundays and double pay for working bank holidays.

During the consultation process, William Hill enquired as to whether Miss Dinham would like to apply for a higher paid role however she felt that with her child commitments and the additional pressure of the job, this wouldn’t be a role that she could accept.

After this meeting. William Hill wrote to Miss Dinham to tell her that her employment was terminated and that she would be offered alternative employment elsewhere in the company.

Miss Dinham immediately raised a grievance stating that she was not given the right to appeal, which according to employment law, they should have offered. William Hill responded to this letter by informing Miss Dinham that she was outside of the timescales to allow her grievance and informed her that she was dismissed for “another substantive reason”.

Whilst the employment judge acknowledged that William Hill had dealt with the initial process and consultation in a reasonable manner, their rejection of Miss Dinham’s grievance for ‘being out of time’ effectively prevented her right to raise a grievance with the company. The judge was also in agreement that Ms Dinham’s length of service should have been taken into account.

A remedy hearing is due to be arranged shortly.

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