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Underperforming executive wins unfair dismissal claim after trying to claim £60k on expenses

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton
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In the case of Mr P Porchetti v Brush Electrical Machines Ltd, Paolo Porchetti, a highly paid senior executive was sacked after attempting to claim three years’ worth of expenses receipts which he had kept in a shoebox.

Porchetti was offered a lucrative settlement package by bosses at Brush Electrical Machines to leave the company after they became ‘immensely frustrated’ by his poor work. But the sales director, who was on a £110,000-a-year salary, stunned managers by submitting a huge expenses claim worth almost £60,000.

He further failed to return an iPad, attempted to return a company car that needed thousands of pounds’ of repairs, and also gave back a broken laptop. Bosses abandoned negotiations and fired him instead.

The tribunal heard Mr Porchetti was focused undertaking an MBA in Hong Kong – where his partner lived – and repeatedly flew out there for a week at a time despite there being little work there.

A dismissal letter to Mr Porchetti said ‘you have not been able to deliver any significant improvement’ on key areas of work and ‘we have seen a steep decline and have questioned several times your level of engagement’.

Employment Judge Victoria Butler ruled Brush was right to dismiss Mr Porchetti but said it was unfair because it was carried out quickly and lacked proper procedure. Mr Porchetti won his unfair dismissal claim but will not receive any compensation because he was judged to have contributed to his sacking.

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