Hotel ‘left like scene from Shameless’ when manager got drunk on job

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Donna Griffiths had been running the Barrington Arms, a hotel in the Vale of White Horse in the Cotswolds for three years before getting the boot. An employment tribunal has seen Ms Griffiths answer to claims she flung “vulgar”, “hideous” and “disgraceful” abuse at pub punters and employees.

Ms Griffiths’ antics laid a pub-goer to leave a scathing review on Tripadvisor comparing the pub to the TV Shameless “but with less class”.

The regular wrote: “NOT a pleasant place to visit at all… How it makes money I cannot fathom.

“Friday night is like an episode of shameless, but with less class!”

Someone else added: “Whilst staying in the lovely village of Shrivenham, we witnessed a rather disgusting display of anger and aggression from the ‘landlady’ of the Barrington Arms, we were on our way into the pub when we saw her screaming obscenities at another woman with language that can only be described as disgraceful.”

Ms Griffiths successfully sued the owners of Barrington Arms for unfair dismissal owing to a technicality.

However, the judge ruled Ms Griffith is not to win a compensation payout as her “unacceptable and blameworthy” behavior had contributed to her sacking.

Ms Griffiths took over the running of Barrington Arms in the Vale of White Horse in the Cotswolds in 2017 with her stint ending in an alleged drunken assault involving a police offer at the hotel in August.

At the time she had been left in charge of the hotel as the owner, Peter Saunders, was shielding at home with his wife during the Covid lockdown.

Mr Saunders was isolating because at the age of 82 he was classed as “vulnerable”, the tribunal heard.

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On August 4 2002 the hearing heard that Ms Griffiths quit work in the afternoon and went to another pub to “have a few drinks and relax” with her mate, the pub’s chef.

She returned later after being contacted by Barrington Arms telling her some customers were proving “difficult”.

On arrival back, a row broke out which saw one of the punters “grab” Ms Griffths’ arm after which she “pushed him away.”

Police arrived and arrest Ms Griffiths and her friend on suspicion of assault. 


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Mr Saunders would later arrive at his hotel where he served Ms Griffths a written warning over drinking on the job.

He wrote: “I am still bewildered as to why you chose to abandon the hotel on a work day at a time of unprecedented crisis to go on a drinking spree at another pub.

“It indicates to me that your drinking is totally out of control. I have also had reports of your aggressive behaviour to some of our customers when you are under the influence of alcohol.

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