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Brighton FC security guard loses unfair dismissal claim after refusing to take players’ dirty kit to the laundry

In the case of N S v Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club Limited NS, a security supervisor at the Premier League club’s training ground, believed it was a “kit man task” to collect containers of clothes from the coach and move them around 20 metres to the in-house laundry.

In the case of N S v Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club Limited NS, a security supervisor at the Premier League club’s training ground, believed it was a “kit man task” to collect containers of clothes from the coach and move them around 20 metres to the in-house laundry.

“This clearly did not form part of my duties as I understood them, nor did I think that it was reasonable for the security team to step in and help with this”, he told a tribunal.

However, a judge disagreed, ruling that the club was entitled to ask security to step in to complete the task.

Mr Smyth, who worked for the football club for more than a decade, initially said he was “happy to help out” with the kit job on a temporary basis in 2019 when the club was short-staffed. But the role was made permanent in early 2020.

The tribunal heard Mr Smith said in March 2020 that a gym injury would prevent him from performing the task, and he claimed his boss had “laughed off” his issues.

Mr Smyth then accused the club of breaching Covid-19 protocols by asking security to handle the kit after it had been in contact with the first team players, who were in a “bubble” at the time.

He also complained of substandard cleaning after a colleague caught Covid, and said he was wrongly accused of misusing CCTV when he reported footage of a non-security staff member in the security office.

But a tribunal, sitting in Southampton, dismissed all of Mr Smyth’s complaints, as well as ruling that he had resigned rather than being sacked after securing a new security job, therefore he could not claim unfair dismissal.

Employment Judge Lowe concluded the club was entitled to ask Mr Smyth and his security colleagues to unload the kit into the laundry, according to his contract.

The judge said the club had “comprehensive and thorough” Covid policies in place, and had provided a “safe place to work”.

Mr Smyth’s claims for health and safety detriment, constructive unfair dismissal and automatic unfair dismissal were dismissed following a hearing at Southampton Employment Tribunal.

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