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Easy Come, Easy Go? The EAT didn’t think so.
Attempts by Easybus to appeal a damning employment tribunal judgment earlier this year have failed. The high-profile founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou was responsible for sacking Mr Rawsthorn, whom Paul Michell represented at the hearing. (See News for 22 May 2014). Employment judge Selwyn Bloch QC ruled that Sir Stelios:
“repeatedly evaded answering questions put to him in cross examination... was apt to make all kinds of allegations of dishonesty and falsity ... which on the face of it were manifestly unsupported... seemed to have no qualms about making entirely new allegations ... which, again, appeared to have no foundation... [and] expressed disdain for legal protections given to employees [and]... the ‘wishy washy advice of lawyers’.
In his 14 August EAT judgment, HHJ Richardson held that the Easybus appeal was “totally without merit” and upheld the finding that Sir Stelios’ conduct towards Mr Rawsthorn had been “fundamentally wrongful and unfair in almost every imaginable respect”.
In a statement issued to the Mirror Newspaper within days of the EAT decision, Sir Stelios sought to justify his actions, and expressed strong dissatisfaction with the outcome of the tribunal case:
“...The current ET system is flawed and it needs to change back to a 3 person tribunal. The ET rules are self-contradictory for owner/managers of small businesses trying to dismiss a direct report for good reason...
Unless the ET system is sorted out I will not invest in the UK. No more job creation...
Bloch’s findings are travesty of justice and I will appeal.”
It is not yet known if Easybus will seek to take the case to the Court of Appeal.