Swindon AdvertiserNational Trust told to pay £30,000 to ex-employee (From Swindon Advertiser)

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National Trust told to pay £30,000 to ex-employee

The Swindon-based National Trust has been ordered to pay £30,000 for the unfair dismissal of one of its employees.

James Laver, the former head IT architect at the trust, took it to an employment tribunal after his post had been made redundant.

He claimed it was impossible for him to get the score necessary at an interview for another job within the organisation and the tribunal agreed with him.

In awarding him the £30,000 the tribunal said they found him a creditable and reliable witness with a willingness to accept that he was at fault on occasions.

Mr Laver, 54, started working for the National Trust in 2002 as an IT contractor where he installed computer systems.

In 2005 he was a full-time employee but was made redundant a year ago when there was a reorganisation within that department.

Mr Laver claimed his redundancy was unfair as there was a suitable vacancy to which he could and should have been appointed.

The trust claimed that the redundancy was fair and said that at an interview he didn’t score sufficient points to be offered the new post.

The tribunal heard that when Mr Laver started work at the trust he had three people working under him and was head of the team. Jock Ockwell was a colleague of Mr Laver who became his boss when he became the director of the department.

Mr Laver was not happy with the way the department was being handled and said wrong decisions were being taken, expenditure was being wasted and there were inadequate back-up procedures.

Mr Ockwell was instructed to reduce the head count in his department and there was a restructuring exercise, during which Mr Laver was not consulted.

A new role was created within the department for which the pay was lower than the amount Mr Laver was being paid.

He applied for the job but, after interview, failed to be given the post and was dismissed with pay in lieu of notice.

The tribunal ruled that, while the redundancy situation was rational, Mr Laver’s dismissal was unfair because of bad faith.

He should have been consulted about the proposed re-organisation and he certainly was a candidate for the new job, notwithstanding the fact that his need for more training had been identified.

The tribunal said he could have been offered a trial period in the new job.

Mr Laver’s claim of a public interest disclosure was dismissed by the tribunal.

Mr Laver is now working as a specialist underwater photographer accepting commissions and doing freelance work.

He is also hoping to do IT work.

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