Worker fired by Redbridge Council over debt loses claim for unfair dismissal

A former Redbridge Council employee sacked after bailiffs turned up at his work demanding he pay two overdue fines has lost an unfair dismissal claim.

Grounds maintenance manager Michael Dyson, 44, was sacked in November last year after bailiffs arrived at Ley Street depot in Ilford, demanding £960 for two parking tickets.

At an employment tribunal yesterday, Mr Dyson said he received the fines in Newham because he was rushing his pregnant ex-girlfriend to hospital.

He further claimed Redbridge Council were “unreasonable” to dismiss him and “using him as an example”.

Days before the bailiff visit, his bosses had given him a final written warning over a Facebook post about the Black Lives Matter protests in June, in which he wrote that he was “sick of this s***”.

At the hearing, Michael admitted he “neglected” for a year to pay the two £65 parking tickets from May and June 2019 because he was at a “low point”.

He told the tribunal: “I was going through such a depressive mode, I know it’s no excuse but there were things I didn’t know how to handle in my personal life, under the circumstances I should have dealt with it another way.”

A senior manager had to pay the bailiffs £700, although Michael insists he later paid this money back.

Regarding the Facebook post, an internal investigation concluded it was “naive” but without “malicious intent”.

However, the report concluded that it did bring the council into disrepute after a complaint was made to the chief executive.

Dismissing Mr Dyson’s claim, Judge Peter Britton said: “Redbridge is a traffic enforcement body… therefore it brings it into considerable dispute if it’s the subject of this kind of enforcement action, it could be seen to the outside world to be tolerating non-payment.”

He added that the Facebook post was also “clearly potentially serious”, despite noting he had had an “impeccable record” until that point.

Mr Dyson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he worked for the council through contractors for 19 years before being let go.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter