Groundsmen Sacked

To round off our newsletter we have another tale of the bizarre. This month’s tabloid fodder is slightly less controversial than previous entries – a fairly run of the mill unfair dismissal claim – however, what sets it apart from other cases is the public nature of the dispute and the method in which the Claimants are funding their case.

The Claimants were groundsmen for the SMC, the company who manages the stadium for Hull’s football and rugby clubs. Hull City FC’s manager then complained about the quality of the pitch and the club commissioned an expert to examine the pitch quality.

The report found the pitch to be unsatisfactory and one of the Claimants was also allegedly caught carrying out kit man work for the rugby team whilst he was supposed to be working for SMC.

Both were dismissed and initiated Tribunal claims. To fund their legal costs (which at the time included Tribunal fees) the Claimants set up a donations page which very publicly chronicled their case. They have since provided updates on the case which have been published by media outlets. The Respondent then filed a defence and published it in the local newspaper, a move that is very uncommon in litigation!

Not only is this behaviour most unusual -most parties want to keep the proceedings confidential – it could also prejudice the case if either side spoke to the press during evidence and result in it being thrown out and costs awarded against the party, previous case law has proven this!