Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Millionaire Loses Sacking Battle

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Millionaire Loses Sacking Battle

Article excerpt

Byline: By Fiona Graham

A housekeeper who fled her employer's castle in of tears celebrated victory against the multi-millionaire tycoon yesterday.

Linda Heaton, 47, was wrongfully and unfairly dismissed by Dr Edward Haughey, an employment tribunal decided.

Mrs Heaton had told the hearing she fled Corby Castle, near Carlisle, in floods of tears during the fraught preparations for a six course hunting banquet.

Dr Haughey said she had resigned on the spot, shunning attempts by his wife, Mary, to console her.

But Mrs Heaton, who was reeling from the news that her elderly mother had contracted cancer, said she had simply gone home for the evening feeling over-wrought and upset.

The Carlisle tribunal accepted her version of events and awarded her pounds 7,339 compensation in accepting claims that she had been wrongfully dismissed but rejecting allegations that Dr Haughey had been a bully.

Mrs Heaton said: "The past nine months have been very traumatic, I am just relieved it is all over. I just want to get on with my life."

Tribunal chairman Michael Malone said the dismissal was based on an erroneous belief that she had resigned.

He said: "The respondent acted unreasonably. The dismissal was unfair and wrongful. She did not walk out in temper. She went home because she was sick. We think this is clearly a case where there was special circumstances which should have prevented Dr Haughey from taking Mrs Heaton's words at face value.

"He knew she had been working long hours, he did not know what exactly was wrong with her mother but knew she was ill. He should have seen she was in a fragile state of health that day as others, like the chef had done."

He said: "It was suggested Dr Haughey was intimidating and a bully but we reject the whole of that evidence."

Dr Haughey did not attend the fourth day of the tribunal to hear the decision. …

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