Bar worker sacked following ‘abusive’ social media posts sues employer

Pub owners have had to fork out £1,700 after a former employee – sacked for “abusive” posts on social media about the business – sued the firm.

Ms B Storrie was dismissed following the posts concerning Black Pearl Pub Co Ltd and its bar The Montford near Hampden Park, Glasgow. She had concerns about money being taken from her wages.

The woman was fired weeks after telling her employer HMRC had no record of her employment, despite tax deductions being taken from her salary.

She wasn’t given a contract outlining her hours of work or shift pattern, reports Glasgow Live. She also wasn’t given any sick pay or holiday entitlement, the lawsuit heard.

Despite pressing bosses for payslips, she wasn’t given access to any until nearly a year into her employment, in early 2022, when she eventually realised there was an issue. Ms Storrie found that she had been continually subjected to deductions for National Insurance and tax despite the fact she wasn’t working enough hours or earning enough money to meet the tax threshold.

After phoning HMRC to find out about possibly getting a tax rebate, she was told that there was no record of her being employed by Black Pearl Pub Co Ltd.

In February 2022, she asked the owner of the bar to contact HMRC to give them details of her deductions and a record of her employment. When nothing was done by mid-March, she spoke to her bosses again and raised concerns about the deductions. She was then dismissed by the owner who told her they had “decided not to keep her” and ordered her to go home.

After the bar worker raised an unfair dismissal and unauthorised deduction of wages claims, the company accused her of giving them an incorrect National Insurance number and address which she denied, instead saying she gave them the correct number on three occasions.

They also said Ms Storrie’s “conduct on social media” resulted in their decision to sack her. Bosses accused her of being “insulting and abusive” about her employer in Facebook posts that included “foul language” and “wrong information about her employer”.

The staff member argued that she had used Facebook to raise the issue of how to resolve tax matters but didn’t reveal the identity of her employer. Copies of her posts were given to the tribunal.

The tribunal was told that Ms Storrie was never given a P45 but one submitted by her employer showed an incorrect leaving date.

Employment Judge Young concluded that the earnings according to the P60 and wage slip put her gross earnings “well below” the personal allowance for the tax year and that no tax was payable. It was also found that the National Insurance number appearing on the wage slips, P60 and P45 submitted were consistent and never varied – despite claims that Ms Storrie had provided them with incorrect details.

Since being sacked from The Montford, Ms Storrie has had two other jobs in which she had no difficulty with tax or issuing a P45.

Black Pearl Pub Co Ltd was ordered to pay £86.64 for unfair dismissal, £1075.80 in unauthorised deduction from wages, £272.14 for holidays accrued but not taken before she was sacked, and £346.58 for failing to provide a written statement on initial employment particulars.

Black Pearl Pub Co Ltd was not present or represented at the tribunal.

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