Mortgage Advisor Wins Payout After Being Dismissed For “Always Groaning”

Helen McMahon told supervisors she was stressed and was fired two business days later

A mortgage advisor won more than £ 20,000 after being fired for “always moaning”.

Helen McMahon told her supervisors that she was “stressed” from working more than 48 hours a week – and was then fired two working days later.

Bosses claimed this was due to poor performance, but she was rewarded for her good work with a bottle of champagne that same year.

A labor court judge ruled that she was wrongly dismissed for being a “complainer” and awarded her £ 23,000 in compensation, unpaid sick pay and commission due.

The Cambridge Tribunal heard that Ms. McMahon had been with Heron Financial Limited as a new home and mortgage protection advisor for two years from June 2017.

Her £ 27,000 a year role included visiting housing sites to meet clients looking at show homes on new developments in the Chilterns.

Helen McMahon received £ 23,000 in compensation, unpaid sick pay, and commission owed
Helen McMahon received £ 23,000 in compensation, unpaid sick pay, and commission owed

The panel heard that Ms. McMahon – who was also entitled to commission payments – could work 12 hours a day on some days without a lunch break.

In May 2019, she emailed her bosses regarding the commission she supposedly should have received, which she believed was not reflected in her latest payroll.

After that she had to be unable to work for two weeks due to illness.

When she returned to the Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire office on May 30, 2019, she had a meeting with her boss, Robin Thomas, at her request.

She raised several matters including her working hours which she believed were long, the salary and commission she received on her May 2019 payroll, and her sick pay, the court heard.

Ms. McMahon said she believed it was her legal right not to work more than 48 hours a week and asked that this be corrected as the stress was making her uncomfortable.

Two working days later, on June 4, Ms. McMahon was asked to go to the office and was met by company founder Warren Harrocks, who told her she would be fired without explanation.

Ms. McMahon then sued and brought charges of unjustified and unlawful dismissal on the grounds that she had been dismissed not because of performance problems, but because she had raised concerns about her working hours.

Mr. Harrocks informed the tribunal that he was unaware that Ms. McMahon had raised the matter with Mr. Thomas.

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But Judge Sarah King said, “This was a small business and the directors discussed matters regularly”.

A text from Mr. Thomas to one of his colleagues about his dealings with Ms. McMahon read: “Nothing formal was made of the memory, but if it was a short conversation I cannot be 100% sure as she was always moaning.

‘In every way, if she wasn’t happy, I directed her in your direction or in Matt’s direction.’

Judge King said, “If anything, this supports the fact that Mr. Thomas approached the directors on these matters.

‘Mr. Harrocks’ own proof was that … [Mrs McMahon] was very greedy and unhappy about her payment.

‘This, in combination with Mr Thomas’ comments, gives the impression [Mrs McMahon] was seen as someone who complained a lot.

‘Given my findings, it is clear that during the meeting on May 30, 2019 [Mrs McMahon] asserted a number of legal rights. Mr. Thomas felt that she was “moaning” as she was “always moaning”.

‘I realize that [Heron Financial] taken into account [Mrs McMahon] was a “moan” – someone who complained.

‘[Heron Financial] won’t admit it’s turned down [Mrs McMahon] for inadmissible reasons, but … in the absence of other credible reasons … she was released because she “groaned”.

“I believe Mr. Harrocks was aware of these things and that was the reason or main reason for” [Mrs McMahon’s] Dismissal.

‘I am happy [Mrs McMahon] was rejected for asserting a legal claim. This release was unfair as no procedure was followed and there was no valid reason for the release [her]. ‘

Ms. McMahon was awarded £ 19,552.33 for unfair dismissal and £ 2,736.38 for wrongful wage deduction.

She also received £ 586.81 for unpaid commissions and sick pay and £ 252.41 for wrongful dismissal.

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