Photographer unfairly sacked for refusing to use illegal pictures

Former Jewish News photographer David Katz has won an unfair dismissal case after making complaints about the illegal use of pictures downloaded from the internet.

A tribunal ruled that Katz was unfairly dismissed by publisher Totally Jewish for highlighting the company's practice of illegal publication of images downloaded from the Reuters website and refusing to carry out the practice if given picture editor responsibilities.

Katz is to be paid a basic award of £1,680 and a compensatory award of £24,782, amounting to £26,462.

The Jewish News, a former Press Gazette Regional Press Awards free newspaper of the year, had claimed it made him redundant, along with five other members of staff, to help save costs. However, the tribunal heard he was not informed his job was at risk when the other members of staff originally were.

Managing director Dan Assor claimed Katz was made redundant because a hybrid role with picture editing responsibilities they discussed was not financially viable.

The judgment said: "The principal reason for the claimant's dismissal was that he had made a protected disclosure within the meaning of section 43B and 43C of the Employment Rights Act 1996."

Katz said: "It's a fantastic award, but it basically just covers the debts they've got me into, taking it this far.

"I feel completely vindicated and it's been worth the hardest year of my life even though they tried to break me emotionally and financially to stop me doing this. It shouldn't have got to this stage and it's purely due to… [chief executive] Steve Burns and Dan Assor.

"I don't hold a grudge against the company as a whole. I am just relieved it's all over and I can now get on with my life and my career."

Katz told the tribunal he believed another reason he was made redundant was for acting as an employee representative for his colleague Danny Caro, but the tribunal ruled this was not a reason for his dismissal.

Katz also claimed at the tribunal that the company failed to offer him the statutory 30-day consultation period.

He added that Burns told him: "If you ever repeat this in a court of law, I will call you a fucking liar, but yes we are making you redundant."

Burns countered that this was not the case and he knew "how important it was not to pre-empt any such decision".

The company has until 2 August to appeal against the judgment.

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