Tate attendant wins unfair dismissal case

 

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The Independent Online

The Tate unfairly dismissed a gallery attendant because it did not properly investigate her allegations of bullying by managers, an employment tribunal ruled yesterday.

London Central Employment Tribunal's Judge Lewzey decided the Tate did not follow a fair procedure when examining accusations of mistreatment by Anne Taylor, 61, who was sacked from Tate Britain in London in December.

Ms Taylor was dismissed after a row with managers after she was caught away from her post chatting to a security guard last August. She was suspended while the matter was investigated and then sacked.

She accused the Tate of "bullying and harassment" in her evidence to the tribunal, saying she had been reprimanded in public, intimated by managers and "treated like a criminal". She claimed she had since suffered panic attacks, anxiety and depression, and was unemployable.

The Tate accused her of "acting inappropriately" while on duty and for speaking to managers in a "disrespectful and condescending manner". The tribunal ordered the Tate to pay Ms Taylor £2,173, a reduced amount because it said her behaviour contributed to her dismissal.

A recent Tate employee survey showed 13 per cent of staff had experienced bullying or harassment from other staff or the public. Director Sir Nicholas Serota said: "We regard it as completely unacceptable."

A Tate spokeswoman said: "The Tribunal firmly rejected Anne Taylor's allegations of age discrimination and confirmed that she committed gross misconduct in terms of breaching trust and confidence. The Tribunal therefore found that the decision to dismiss her was not wrongful. There was a finding against Tate related to procedure, which we accept and will review."