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Footwear fight dismissal found unfair by tribunal

6 December, 2017

Ali Sadeghi worked for TK Maxx for 13 years and became the store manager in 2009 and general manager in 2013.

In March 2016, Sadeghi was promoted to general manager of TK Maxx’s High Street Kensington store.

Shortly after Sadeghi started working at the Kensington store, it was alleged that he behaved inappropriately towards some colleagues.

During investigations into this, Sadeghi advised he suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts.

In mitigation, he advised that this affected his sleep, mood and resulted in some anger issues.

Sadeghi did advise he was undergoing treatment for his condition.

In August 2016, Sadeghi claimed he was verbally abused by a customer in the store when he wouldn’t refund a pair of trainers.

The unhappy customer tried to record the incident but Sadeghi pulled the phone away from the customer over the shop counter to prevent filming.

The customer refused to let go of his phone and a store cleaner became involved.

Between the two of them, they retrieved the customer’s phone and the police were called to remove the customer from the premises.

The customer complained to TK Maxx claiming that Sadeghi had tried to rob him off his phone, that he was punched by the cleaner and that, after the cleaner punched him, Sadeghi and a security guard had joined in.

After receiving the complaint and reviewing the CCTV footage of the incident, Sadeghi was dismissed for gross misconduct.

Sadeghi claimed unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

The tribunal concluded that TK Maxx had gone ahead with its disciplinary procedure without first obtaining a proper medical opinion as to whether Sadeghi’s mental health issues had been ongoing.

The correct approach would have been to obtain medical opinion on whether his condition and treatment could have mitigated the conduct and any subsequent disciplinary sanction.

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