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Former Whitchurch Silk Mill boss wins tribunal fight but is criticised
THE former manager of Whitchurch Silk Mill was unfairly dismissed – but a tribunal judge criticised him for “gross misconduct”.
Stephen Bryer, who last year was sacked from his job as general manager and company secretary after a decade of working for the mill, in Winchester Street, was at the Southampton Employment Tribunal on Wednesday.
He claimed that the Whitchurch Silk Mill Trust had unfairly dismissed him on the grounds of gross misconduct.
At the end of the one-day hearing, tribunal judge Derek Reed upheld Mr Bryer’s complaint, saying that the trust did not set out clearly its allegations in its letter of dismissal.
But he added: “Mr Bryer has quite clearly and unequivocally destroyed the trust which should have existed between himself and the business. He indeed conducted gross misconduct.”
The judge awarded no compensation to Mr Bryer for being unfairly dismissed and no reinstatement to his former job.
Earlier in the hearing, Jessica Smeaton, who represented the trust, told Mr Bryer: “Your actions were such that you showed you had a total disregard for the new board, you accept that you did not trust them, and would not take requests from them.”
In response Mr Bryer said: “I went along with what they were doing and I pursued my work as I was due to.
“However, at the same time, they were dismantling my job. I felt threatened.”
As reported in The Gazette, the mill stopped producing silk in December 2011 after nearly 200 years, and it was following this that the board of trustees was reshuffled with new members joining and others resigning from their positions.
Mr Bryer alleged that he was unfairly dismissed by the trust when they claimed that he had committed gross misconduct, by removing and failing to retrieve the register of members, which must stay in the address registered on Companies House; incorrectly calling an extraordinary general meeting without being asked to by the board of directors; and falsely notifying Companies House of the termination of all of the directors.
Mr Bryer, who represented himself, claimed that he was unsure of the new board’s validity, which was elected in July 2012, after various members of the old board of trustees resigned.
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