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Sales manager wins tribunal case after being ‘gaslit’ by his boss

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In the case of Weinreb v Online Travel Training Group, a  global e-learning platform for travel agents with approximately 12 employees, was found to be guilty of victimisation after penalising a sales manager who made a grievance.

Mr Weinreb told a tribunal he was called a ‘princess’ in an all-capital-letter email by the firm’s finance chief Patricia Andrade. He also claimed that Ms Andrade implied he was a ‘closet homosexual’ during a row that ended in the workplace toilets. Weinreb and Andrade had a disagreement about his commission and Weinreb decided to record the conversation without asking permission but made Andrade aware of the recording. Despite apologising to her the next day, Andrade raised a formal grievance against him to managing director Julia Feuell.

Weinreb also raised a grievance alleging discrimination and challenged the employment review meeting. Feuell upheld Andrade’s grievance and decided that in future the pair should only communicate by email. Feuell then asked the chair of the advisory board, John Melchior, to investigate Weinreb’s grievance, and he concluded there had not been any discrimination against Weinreb.

Melchior invited Weinreb to a meeting on 4 June 2019 to discuss the outcome of the grievance and “find a way forward”. He also invited Feuell to the meeting and introduced her as “just listening”, which the tribunal said was “inappropriate”.

The tribunal heard that during the meeting, Feuell became frustrated and banged on the desk. She told Weinreb she was “upset and offended” by his allegations of discrimination.

In its judgment, the tribunal said that Feuell banging on the table at the grievance outcome and her refusal to give Weinreb any details before his employment review meeting amounted to victimisation.

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