A MAN who was let go from Morrisons after two decades of work for the company was unfairly dismissed but was not discriminated against on the grounds of disability, an employment tribunal has found.

Chris Jackson had been embroiled in a lengthy dispute following his dismissal from the Kendal store in November 2018.

The tribunal heard that Mr Jackson’s eyesight had deteriorated over the time of his employment.

Evidence from Nathan Battle, former people manager at Morrisons in Kendal, suggested Mr Jackson, who worked in the café as a pot washer, would wipe his hands over the plates to make sure they were clean, as he was unable to do a visual check.

The claimant did not dispute that this was what was happening.

However, Mr Jackson said that, when he was moved to the café from another part of the store in 2012, a people manager at the time suggested to him the method of wiping the plates with his hands. Morrisons disputed this happened.

Mr Battle said that, nationally, Morrisons introduced ‘nine key skills’ for café workers in 2016. The core concept was that any customer assistant working in the café could be moved to undertake any of the required tasks during busy periods.

On September 19, 2018, Mr Jackson was called into a meeting by Mr Battle. Mr Jackson described this as a ‘bolt out of the blue’.

Mr Battle’s evidence was that he completed an evaluation document for Mr Jackson and concluded that he could not undertake eight of the company's nine ‘key skills’ - and that he could only undertake 70 per cent of the ‘dishwasher’ skills.

However, the tribunal found that Mr Jackson was not employed as a ‘generic customer assistant’, as Morrisons had asserted. The tribunal cited among its reasons a 2012 document referring to Mr Jackson's role as ‘café - pot wash’ and the length of time he had fulfilled the role.

The tribunal found that the principal reason for the claimant’s dismissal was redundancy.

“The respondent determined that it no longer wished to employ someone to undertake that unique role [of pot washer],” say the documents.

The tribunal accepted the claimant’s capability had played a part in the reason to dismiss, but said it was not the principal reason.

It did find that Mr Jackson’s dismissal was unfair. Meetings held with him were not ‘genuine, full and fair’ redundancy consultations, and there was a failure to involve the claimant in meetings during his appeal proceedings.

However, the tribunal said Mr Jackson would have been dismissed even if proper procedure had been followed - so any compensatory award should be ‘reduced by 100 per cent’.

The tribunal found that Mr Jackson was not discriminated against in the ways alleged. It said he was dismissed by reason of redundancy and had the right to be paid a redundancy payment.