Tribunal criticises John Lewis for payroll errors

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Mircea Donciu took John Lewis Plc to the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal claiming he was unfairly dismissed and that he was owed thousands of pounds in respect to incorrectly paid sick pay.

Although the tribunal found John Lewis had a ‘potentially fair reason’ for Mr Donciu’s dismissal due to ‘capability concerns’ it awarded the former employee £3,014.34 in respect of ‘contractual claims’.

The panel, made up of deputy chairman Advocate Claire Davies and members Emma Harper and Clive Harper, also criticised the employer for its failure to rectify the payroll errors sooner.

The judgment says: ‘We did express dismay at the conclusion of the hearing that such a large employer, which prides itself on its standards as an employer, would make such significant payroll errors over such a long period without taking the time to correct those mistakes when queries were raised.’

The judgment adds that not all employees would have been as ‘determined’ as Mr Donciu had been to rectify the errors and
added that the panel
hopes ‘steps are taken’ to ensure ‘in so far as possible, this does not happen again’.

‘We think it would be appropriate for Mr Donciu to receive a full apology from the employer for the payroll errors and we were surprised that no financial recompense for the errors, even in the way of interest on the unpaid amounts, had been offered to him as at the date of the hearing,’ the judgment adds.

Mr Donciu, who was employed by John Lewis in 2013, was a night-shift manager at the time of his dismissal.

The tribunal heard in 2016 he became unwell and took ‘significant periods’ of sick leave. Between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017 he only attended work for 45 days.

John Lewis dismissed Mr Donciu on the grounds of his capability on 6 July last year. Mr Donciu did not appeal.

Mr Donciu claimed that he had been targeted for dismissal because a manager had ‘formed a personal dislike of him and other members of his family’.

However, the judgment stated that the tribunal found ‘no credible evidence’ which supported his allegation.

The judgment says the dismissal was the final outcome as Mr Donciu had chosen not to engage with a capability process which was undertaken due to his ‘significant absences from work due to sickness’.

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