Southwold: Worker loses tribunal against pier company

A WORKER who claimed she was owed more than �1,000 because her contract with Southwold Pier was breached has lost her case at an employment tribunal.

Helen Baird, of Nicholas Drive, Reydon, Southwold, worked at the pier from March 19, 2009 to March 31, 2012, as a supervisor in the Beach Caf�.

The tribunal heard that Mrs Baird had resigned “suddenly” on March 31, but returned to Southwold Pier on April 5, to see if she could return to work.

Mrs Baird spoke with the owner of Southwold Pier, Stephen Bournes, at an admin office and was then told to speak to Peter Websdale, manager of the caf�.

Mrs Baird claimed she had picked up a uniform and had a dongle, which allowed her to record her shifts at the pier, re-activated on her way to meet Mr Websdale.

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“Everyone in the office said ‘welcome back, it’s great that you’re back’ including Mr Bournes,” Mrs Baird said.

But Mr Bournes said: “There was no offer of employment on April 5.

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“Mrs Baird came into the office – she was uninvited – it was inappropriate to go into discussions about employment as there were other people in the room. [Mrs Baird] requested to work in retail – we said no and I said to talk to Peter.”

Mrs Baird then spoke to Mr Websdale about returning to work and received a text message from him on April 5 which said: “I’m over the moon that you’re coming back to the pier. I cannot wait to get you started, love you lots.”

Mrs Baird claimed she had returned to the pier to collect her shift times on April 7, as she understood she was due to start work the following day.

But the tribunal heard that instead Mrs Baird had an exit interview on the day with Mr Websdale, following her resignation the previous month.

Mrs Baird claimed �380 for the alleged breach of contract and �708 in damages after she claimed she was unable to take 118 hours in unpaid breaks from December 7, 2009 to March 31, 2012.

At the tribunal in Bury St Edmunds, Judge Pritchard-Witts said Mrs Baird could not be compensated for working through her breaks, as they were unpaid.

The judge also said there were no possible damages over the alleged breach in contract because there was no signed letter of employment.

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