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New Look shop assistant wins unfair dismissal claim after being berated for wearing ‘horrid orange Nikes’

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In the case of Ms S Jackson v New Look Retailers Ltd Samantha Jackson told a tribunal she felt bullied by line manager Kirsty Sherburn, who knew she had a knee condition and needed to wear comfortable footwear.

Ms Jackson had been wearing Nike trainers to her job on the shop floor, but after publicly criticising her for another issue Mrs Sherburn then told her not to come in again wearing those ‘horrid orange things’ and told her the footwear she had on was inappropriate and she should be wearing ‘more fashionable’ brands like Converse or Vans.

Ms Jackson – who said she needed to wear more comfortable trainers to help deal with a knee condition – eventually resigned. An employment tribunal has ruled that failures by New Look amounted to a breach of trust and confidence, causing unfair dismissal.

Employment Judge Jonathan Brain said he found that Mrs Sherburn had ‘unreasonably upbraided’ Ms Jackson about her shoes and ‘did so in a fit of pique or temper’. She had told the junior employee off in public in the shop, rather than taking her aside to speak to her. It happened after Ms Jackson had spent a long time serving a customer towards the end of the day, which she says was due to a faulty till.

‘There were in fact problems with the operation of the till although Kirsty took no time to discover this – she simply berated me about this.’

Ms Jackson was awarded £12,138.40 in compensation for unfair dismissal.

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