Mortgage advisor wins £23,000 payout after she was sacked for ‘always moaning’

A high performing mortgage advisor has won a £23,000 payout after her bosses sacked her for ‘always moaning’.

Helen McMahon complained about how hard she worked and how long her hours were, an employment tribunal heard.

She told her bosses she was ‘stressed’ because she was working more than 48 hours a week, leading them to sack her two working days later.

The mortgage and insurance brokers claimed she was fired for poor performance, despite them earlier rewarding her work with a bottle of champagne.

A judge ruled she was unfairly dismissed for being a ‘moaner’ and has awarded her £23,000 in compensation, unpaid sick pay and owed commission.

Helen McMahon (pictured) complained about how hard she worked and how long her hours were, an employment tribunal heard

Helen McMahon (pictured) complained about how hard she worked and how long her hours were, an employment tribunal heard

Helen McMahon (pictured) complained about how hard she worked and how long her hours were, an employment tribunal heard

The tribunal, held in Cambridge, heard Mrs McMahon worked for Heron Financial Limited for two years from June 2017 as a ‘New Build and Mortgage Protection Advisor’.

Her £27,000 a year role role included going to housing sites to meet clients viewing show homes on new developments across the Chilterns.

The panel heard Mrs McMahon – who was also entitled to commission payments – could work 12 hours a day without a lunch break on some days.

In May 2019 she emailed bosses regarding unpaid commission, which she felt was not reflected in her latest pay slips.

She then had two weeks off work due to sickness. When she returned to work on May 30 2019 she went into the office in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, where she had a meeting with her boss Robin Thomas at her request.

The tribunal heard she raised several matters including her working hours which she felt were long, the salary and commission she received in her May 2019 payslip and her sick pay.

Mrs McMahon told the tribunal: ‘I said to Mr Thomas that I was working more than 48 hours a week, that it was stressing me out and that I wanted somehow to reduce my hours.’

She added this stress ‘made her ill’ and she believed it was her statutory right not to work more than 48 hours a week.

Two working days later, on June 4, Mrs McMahon was asked to go into the office and was met by company founder Warren Harrocks who told her she was being let go, without any explanation.

Mrs McMahon then sued, bringing claims of unfair and wrongful dismissal on the basis she was not sacked for performance issues but because she had raised concerns about working 48 hours a week. 

Heron Financial told the tribunal Mrs McMahon was sacked due to performance concerns, despite them giving her a bottle of champagne as reward for her work that year.

Mrs McMahon claimed it was recognition she had ‘one of the highest conversion rates in the company’.

The tribunal, held in Cambridge, heard Mrs McMahon worked for Heron Financial Limited (pictured, its offices in Rickmansworth) for two years from June 2017 as a 'New Build and Mortgage Protection Advisor'

The tribunal, held in Cambridge, heard Mrs McMahon worked for Heron Financial Limited (pictured, its offices in Rickmansworth) for two years from June 2017 as a 'New Build and Mortgage Protection Advisor'

The tribunal, held in Cambridge, heard Mrs McMahon worked for Heron Financial Limited (pictured, its offices in Rickmansworth) for two years from June 2017 as a ‘New Build and Mortgage Protection Advisor’

Mr Harrocks told the tribunal he was unaware Mrs McMahon had raised the issue of working hours with Mr Thomas.

But Judge Sarah King said ‘this was a small business and the directors discussed matters regularly between them’.

A text from Mr Thomas to one of his colleagues about his dealings with Mrs McMahon read: ‘From memory nothing formal was made but if it was a quick chat I cannot be 100% certain as she was always moaning.

‘In all aspects if she wasn’t happy I did point her in yourself or Matt’s direction.’

Judge King said: ‘If anything this supports the fact that Mr Thomas would have referred to the directors on these issues.

‘Mr Harrocks’ own evidence was that… [Mrs McMahon] was very money driven and unhappy about her pay.

‘This combined with Mr Thomas’ comments gives the impression [Mrs McMahon] was seen as someone who complained a lot.

‘In light of my findings it is the clear that during the meeting on 30th May 2019 [Mrs McMahon] asserted a number of statutory rights. Mr Thomas felt she was ‘moaning’ as she was ‘always moaning’.

‘It is clear to me that [Heron Financial] considered [Mrs McMahon] was a ‘moaner’ – someone who complained.

‘[Heron Financial] is not going to admit it dismissed [Mrs McMahon] for inadmissible reasons but… in the absence of any other credible reason… her dismissal was because she was ‘moaning’.

‘I believe Mr Harrocks was aware of these matters and this was the reason or principal reason for [Mrs McMahon’s] dismissal.

‘I am satisfied [Mrs McMahon] was dismissed for assertion of a statutory right. That dismissal was unfair as no process was followed and there was no fair reason to dismiss [her].’

Mrs McMahon was awarded £19,552.33 for unfair dismissal and £2,736.38 for unlawful deduction from wages.

She was also awarded £586.81 for unpaid commission and sick pay and £252.41 for wrongful dismissal. 

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