Obscene email 'forced man out of job'

AN OBSCENE email helped push a Colchester man into quitting a top job with the UK's biggest installer of solar heating, it has been claimed.Brennan Jacomb told an employment tribunal that with bonuses he had earned also unpaid, he decided he had no option other than to resign from Smart Energy UK Ltd in February.

AN OBSCENE email helped push a Colchester man into quitting a top job with the UK's biggest installer of solar heating, it has been claimed.

Brennan Jacomb told an employment tribunal that with bonuses he had earned also unpaid, he decided he had no option other than to resign from Smart Energy UK Ltd in February.

Mr Jacomb, of Maidenburgh Street, Colchester, said the email pictures came to his attention when he returned from honeymoon with his Venezuelan wife last December.

The images showed a transsexual undressing and were falsely claimed to show his new wife.


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Mr Jacomb said: “This caused severe offence to me and my wife which I felt was designed to undermine my position within the company.”

Mr Jacomb, who resigned in February from his £39,000 post as national marketing manager, claimed his departure amounted an unfair dismissal and a breach of contract.

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Smart Energy UK Ltd, based in Colchester, strongly denied the allegations when the tribunal opened yesterday .

The company, founded in 2000 by chief executive Allan Barry, has 110 employees and an annual turnover of more than £12million. It trades nationwide, selling and installing solar water heating equipment.

Mr Jacomb said that after the obscene pictures were posted by one of his line managers who was based in Exeter, the company had issued a memo to all staff and agents warning that there should be no repetition but no apology was made to him.

Smart Energy UK Ltd say that the offensive email originated from Jay Williams, a self-employed agent who handles work for the company but who forms no part of the management team.

The company allege that while in charge of a £1.5million annual marketing budget, Mr Jacomb had failed to organise mail campaigns on time and as a result the decision was taken to withhold his bonus for September.

It is claimed that unnecessary duplication of one mailshot by Mr Jacomb had cost the company £300,000.

But Mr Jacomb told the tribunal that he had never been made aware that his bonus, linked to achieving sales targets, was at risk if he failed to complete mail shots on time.

A formal grievance lodged in December concerning the unpaid bonus remained unresolved when he resigned, said Mr Jacomb, who told the tribunal that the situation resulted in him suffering anxiety attacks and sleeplessness.

Smart Energy UK Ltd alleges that the true reason for Mr Jacomb's resignation was his wish to move abroad and that the tribunal claim was part of an attempt to assist him in that aim.

The tribunal has been adjourned and will resume in November when representatives of the company will be giving evidence.

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