Unfairly dismissed sub won't get job back

A former Aberdeen Evening Express sub-editor who won her case for reinstatement at an employment tribunal will not get her job back or receive an extra cash award.

The initial tribunal in July 2003 ruled that Eugenie Verney had been unfairly dismissed and should be reinstated.

But the reconvened tribunal decided, after hearing further evidence, that it was “impracticable” to order that she be given her job back and rescinded the previous ruling.

The tribunal ruled that Verney should receive £16,415 in compensation for unfair dismissal, but decided against an additional cash award.

Verney, who lost her job almost two years ago, claimed she was unfairly dismissed because she was the chair of the Grampian branch of the NUJ and the paper’s only part-time sub.

Evening Express editor Donald Martin told the tribunal that it was impracticable to give Verney her job back as there had been a breakdown in relations; that she had little or no trust in those managing the business; and that her demeanour and attitude had a bad effect on those around her.

Martin claimed Verney had persisted in a belief that the real reason for her dismissal was related to her NUJ position or activities rather than the “genuine” redundancy exercise.

Verney told the tribunal that, until she had got a job with Aberdeen City Council in January, she had wanted to be reinstated at the paper.

None of her former colleagues, with whom she had kept in touch, had expressed concerns about her return and, indeed, had indicated they were looking forward to her coming back because they were short-staffed.

She agreed she had made certain “sharp comments” about management, but denied saying she did not trust them.

The tribunal found that Verney’s “own evidence did little to remove from our minds the notion that she harboured both an abiding belief that she had been dismissed because of the trade union connection, which necessarily connotes distrust, and an attitude which was critical generally of management”.

Former Evening Express sub Bruce Wyer said he’d had no difficulties working with Verney, nor did he know of any subs who’d had problems.

He likened relations between Verney and the paper’s management to ” boxers in a ring”.

The tribunal said Wyer’s evidence provided a perception and dimension which they had not had previously.

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