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Woman wins unfair dismissal claim after being sacked from father’s firm after he messaged saying ‘I don’t have a job for you, in fact I hope I never see u again’

In the case of Ms SK v Mr JK t/a Speedwell Cars the Respondent, JK, is a sole trader trading under the name Speedwell cars (SC). The Claimant (SK) is his daughter. SC is a classic car refurbishment and sales business.

In the case of Ms SK v Mr JK t/a Speedwell Cars the Respondent, JK, is a sole trader trading under the name Speedwell cars (SC). The Claimant (SK) is his daughter. SC is a classic car refurbishment and sales business.

In December 2018 JK was involved in a car accident and suffered significant physical injuries as well as being diagnosed with PTSD and prescribed anti-depressants. JK’s ability to run the Respondent’s business was severely affected and his wife took on more of these responsibilities.

Between February and April 2019, the Claimant, who was separated from her partner, and her children moved in with her parents after her house was sold. Thereafter the Claimant moved back to the Reading area where two of her children attend school.

Over the summer of 2019 the Claimant began to do work for the Respondent as a general administrative and sales assistant to help her mother. Around the end of the school holidays in September 2019 the Claimant’s work became more formalised.

In October 2020 the Claimant’s mother had a stroke.

At some point, JK brought a personal injury claim in respect of his car accident, for the purposes of which in February 2022 the Claimant produced a witness statement describing changes in JK’s personality. These are described as extreme and immediate. The Claimant describes JK as being much more aggressive and calling her an idiot or stupid. She describes Mr Kittelsen blaming her for his mistakes and being unpleasant to other staff.

On or around 2 August 2022 there was an incident involving the Claimant’s parents in which the Claimant’s mother was knocked to the ground. The Claimant took her to the police station. JK was arrested by the police and was bailed on condition that he not speak to his wife. The Claimant did not then attend work for several days.

On 7 August 2022 JK messaged the Claimant to say: “Getting back to the question of work, I understand from mum that u were getting your old job back & starting in September. I don’t have a job for you, in fact I hope I never see u again. You have caused a split in the family to which it may never recover. You are a thoroughly nasty, despicable, person, to whom I feel ashamed to call my daughter.”

Judge Perry said: “I find that the words on 7 August 2022 did amount to a dismissal. Notwithstanding the contextual factors mentioned above, which muddy the waters, I think the words ‘I do not have a job for you, in fact I hope I never see u [sic] again’ are sufficiently clear and would be understood by the reasonable bystander to have constituted words of immediate dismissal.”

It was also ruled that Samantha’s accrued unpaid holiday pay was well founded and succeeded. The tribunal ordered a remedy hearing be held to determine how much she is owed.

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