April 20, 2016

Leeds United worker ‘sacked’ for over using annual leave

An employment tribunal panel was told that Lucy Ward, a former Education and Welfare Officer for Leeds United Football Club was sacked because the head coach that the Chairman planned to get rid of, ‘came as a pair’.

Lucy Ward is in a relationship with Neil Redfearn, the Leeds United ex Head Coach and is claiming unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination at the employment tribunal.

Leeds United deny any wrongdoing.


At meeting last year between Leeds United CEO Adam Pearson and some investment contacts it was discussed that Neil Redfearn was ‘on his way out’. There were concerns that there were rumours on social media channels that Lucy Wards future at the club was also in doubt where it was apparently confirmed that the Leeds United Chairman, saw that they ‘came as a pair’ and that if one left, the other would go to.

Lucy Ward claimed to have permission to take extended to leave to take up commentary commitments with the BBC for Women’s World Cup in 2015 and when she returned, the locks to her office had been changed whilst she was away.

She was then told by Adam Pearson that was “suspended and there is a letter in the post”.

She went on to say, “I went into the disciplinary hearing expecting a fair and open process. I was bewildered as I was a committed, loyal member of staff and couldn’t believe I was being treated like that”.

Ms Ward was an employee of Leeds United for 17 years.


Leeds United insist that Ms Ward was dismissed for exceeding her annual leave entitlement. Ms Ward claims she had prior approval for the additional leave however Leeds United claim she never received ‘formal approval’.

The tribunal continues this week.


What do we think?

It would be interesting to see what the Employee handbook says about exceeding annual leave entitlement and the disciplinary process that goes alongside that. It’s always critical that you can cover these types of situations as you never know when they will arise.

If there is debate about whether she had ‘formal permission’ to take annual leave, what HR software are they using to be able to track holiday. It’s a fairly inexpensive way of ensuring that you’ve got a complete history of annual leave, dates, authorisers etc

HR Heroes