Former racing groom wins employment tribunal

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  • A former employee of Kent-based racehorse trainer John Best has been awarded £15,700 in compensation after winning her case for unfair dismissal.

    Single mother Wendy Green, 44, started working for Mr Best in October 2007. She worked five and a half days a week — with one afternoon and Saturdays off to look after her six-year-old daughter Ellie, who was also cared for by her other daughter Abbie, 20.

    But in April 2008, the trainer told Ms Green she must work the entire weekend. When she protested she was dismissed with 10 days’ notice.

    Ms Green said: “There was no way I could work both days — I appealed as I felt it was unfair.”

    On 18 September, Ashford Employment Tribunal told Ms Green she had won her case against unfair dismissal, sexual discrimination and breaking flexible working regulations.

    And at the second hearing, on 12 December, she was awarded compensation
    of £15,700.

    Mr Best, whose most famous charge is Group One winner Kingsgate Native (winner of 2007 Nunthorpe Stakes and 2008 Golden Jubilee Stakes), told H&H: “During Wendy Green’s employment we were generous, flexible and understanding of her personal circumstances — all of which was acknowledged both by Wendy Green and the tribunal.

    “The tribunal decided we had not followed the strict procedures in the dismissal and found in her favour. We have to accept the decision as the tribunal is duty bound to follow the employment law.”

    He believes employment law should be reviewed to offer “a more even balance” to employers.

    “Clearly, we [my business] must tighten our procedures for the future and ensure we fully comply with current rules and regulations — even if this means a tough attitude to employees,” he added.

    A spokesman for the trade union covering employment of racing grooms, the National Association of Stable Staff, said: “Stable staff who may find themselves in similar situations are very welcome to contact us for advice.”

    Ms Green told H&H she was unaware of this.

    And a spokesman for the British Grooms Association (BGA) said: “Since the BGA launched we have received a number of enquiries from members who feel they have been unfairly treated at work.

    “As we are not a union, we do not get directly involved in individual cases. But we do offer a confidential listening ear, offer basic advice and point our members in the right direction for further help.”

    Ms Green added: “It’s such a relief now it’s over. It’s been a real upheaval for my family.
    But I’m happy with the compensation.”

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