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Manager had to sign wife's notice letter

PUBLISHED: 05:48 27 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

A HAVERHILL manager had to sign a letter putting his wife out of a job

and was then ordered to escort her from the factory, an employment

tribunal has heard.

A HAVERHILL manager had to sign a letter putting his wife out of a job

and was then ordered to escort her from the factory, an employment

tribunal has heard.

Details of what Julie and Andrew Muir say surounded her departure from

Label Converters Ltd in September last year were recounted to the hearing in Bury St Edmunds today.

The tribunal panel upheld Mrs Muir's claim that she was unfairly

dismissed, citing a lack of consultation by the company, but threw out a second claim of sexual discrimination.

Mrs Muir, 31, had alleged that the printing company based in Falconer

Way, Haverhill had discriminated against her because she was married to the boss.

Attacking her treatment on the day she left the company, Mrs Muir said:

"I felt that this was grossly unjust and humiliating to have your own

husband instructed to escort me off the premises.

She added: "I was the only person treated in this manner" Mr Muir had

also been told to search her bag as she left, it was alleged.

Managers from Label Converters Ltd said that the loss of two major

contracts, including one from Sainsbury for £875,000 a year, had forced

them to make nine workers redundant.

Commercial Director Sean Don, who was drafted in by Label Converters

parent company to contain costs and strengthen the management team

strongly denied that Mrs Muir had been subjected to any discrimination

or unfair dismissal.

He said that the relationship between Julie and Andrew Muir had not entered into the decision to make her redundant and that Mr Muir, in

his role as general manager, had been involved in the whole process.

Mr Don said: "We felt we had done things properly. I have been through

this before. It's not a nice process but it has to be done".

But Mrs Muir, who lives at Cross Close, Haverhill said: "I firmly

believe that due to my relationship with general manager Andrew Muir I

was treated differently.

"My skill and career were not taken into account when the redundancies

were considered".

She said that her request to be allowed to take a lower-paid job occupied

by a worker who had been with the company for less than three months was unfairly rejected out of hand.

That was disputed by sales director Steven Sinclair who said that while

he was saddened by the departure of Mrs Muir who was a good worker, no alternative post for her existed.

Mr Muir, 39, said that his objections to Julie Muir, who he regarded as

a valuable member of the team, being made redundant had been outvoted by his management colleagues.

That left him as general manager having to write the letter telling his wife that she was losing her job.

He said: "It is my writing, it is my signature on there but I didn't agree with it".

Mr Muir, who at the time was in the process of leaving the company, said:

"I was absolutely disgusted with the way that Julie was treated as an employee and as human being".

"I believe that this was due to our relationship he told the three member tribunal panel.

Announcing the unanimous decision of the tribunal, chairman Christopher

Ash criticised Label Converters for the way they handled tne redundancy

situation.

Mr Ash said: "There was no attempt to seek the views of the workforce.

This is not a case where the situation was so urgent that redundancies

had to be made overnight".

He said that Label Converters had paid only "lip service" to the

consultation process and that the panel had estimated that if more time had been given, Mrs Muir would have had a 20 per cent chance of finding an alternative post with the same group of companies.

Mrs Muir, who had held a £27,000 a year post as Marketing Manager is to receive a £2,500 settlement following talks between the two sides at the conclusion of the hearing.


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