Leeds-based Romanian joiner wins appeal against Citu sacking

Close up of roof timbers in a partially constructed house
Image caption,Ionel Ion worked for two years as a joiner for Leeds-based construction company Citu

A Romanian joiner who claimed he was dismissed from a building firm because of his nationality has won his appeal for a new employment tribunal.

Ionel Ion also claimed he was sacked for disclosing unsafe working practices at Leeds-based housebuilder Citu.

An employment tribunal rejected his claims after a seven-day hearing in May 2021.

But appeal judges said a new tribunal was needed as there had been “legal errors” and “serious irregularities”.

‘No foreigner leading Brits’

Mr Ion, who lives in Leeds, worked for Citu for two years before being made redundant in 2020.

The firm initially claimed he had been made redundant to save money, but managers told the tribunal it was because he was “disruptive”.

He claimed he was sacked because he was Romanian and because he raised concerns about loud music being played on the building site which he said meant fire alarms could not be heard.

The employment tribunal, which sat in Leeds and was presided over by Judge Philip Lancaster, found it proven that one of Mr Ion’s managers told him: “We could not have a foreigner leading a team of Brits.”

But Judge Lancaster concluded that was not why he was made redundant and the tribunal panel was “perfectly satisfied” he was chosen for redundancy because of Mr Ion’s “perceived lack of compliance with the stated company values”, namely teamwork and “not doing down your colleagues”.

‘Tribunal failed’

Following an appeal held in London in November, His Honour Judge John Shanks said Mr Ion was a “conscientious worker” who was dismissed “ostensibly for redundancy” although the previous tribunal accepted it was because of his “employer’s perception that he was disruptive based on his failure to comply with company values which focussed on teamwork”.

The judge said the tribunal failed to respond appropriately to Mr Ion’s claims of “race discrimination” and that the onus was on Citu to show his nationality was not the reason for his dismissal.

Judge Shanks also said the tribunal “failed to make clear findings of fact” in relation to Mr Ion’s “alleged protected disclosures”.

He also said there were “serious material procedural irregularities” during the hearing with the “quality of the Romanian English interpretation not good enough” which the tribunal “failed to address properly until the fourth day”.

The judge was also critical of Judge https://belajarlahlagi.com Lancaster for intervening to “prevent questioning” of Citu’s witnesses on issues of “culture and values” which were “relevant in the case”.

A date is yet to be set for the new tribunal.

Citu declined to comment.

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