Store manager who stood up to ‘world’s worst customer’ wins unfair dismissal complaint – .

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Store manager who stood up to ‘world’s worst customer’ wins unfair dismissal complaint – .


As any good trader knows, the customer is always right. But, an employment tribunal ruled that does not apply when “the world’s worst customer” screams and swears before demanding that staff come out to fight.

Garry Hardy, a 60-year-old store manager at Topps Tiles, served a ‘tall, loud and aggressive’ man demanding a discount after falsely claiming his order was at the end of November 2019.

The customer launched into a tirade of crass insults before asking for a refund because he became “more and more aggressive”.

Mr Hardy, who had agreed to make a refund, was asked to join the customer in the parking lot in what the Newcastle upon Tyne court heard was an attempt to “degrade the situation into a physical altercation”.

Mr Hardy, who had worked at the Sunderland branch since 2002, was then told that he and his staff were unable to throw an enthusiastic drink party at a brewery.

At the counter, the man conceded, “Apparently I’m the worst customer in the world.

Not wanting to disagree, Mr. Hardy and a colleague agreed that it was indeed a “nightmare”.

It sparked even more swearing and insults as the man insisted he was “shocked” to receive “worst customer service”.

Mr Hardy, who used to calm his nerves with sips from a cup of tea, ordered the man to leave. Her gesture towards the door while holding the mug saw some tea “accidentally” splashing the customer’s face.

The hearing was told the customer was gone, but told staff helping him load purchases into his van that “he intended to hit the plaintiff outside saying:” S ‘he wasn’t that old, I would have decorated him.

Following his complaint that Mr. Hardy subjected him to a “torrent” of curses and name-calling before throwing tea in his face, the manager was fired.

“Topps Tiles considers that the customer is always right”

The panel heard accounts of the incident from two co-workers consistent with the recollection of Mr Hardy, who had sued the company for unfair dismissal.

The court sided with Mr Hardy, concluding that Topps Tiles had ignored Mr Hardy’s need to stand up to a client to protect himself from unwarranted abuse.

The court heard that Mr Hardy suffered from depression, which meant he may have difficulty dealing with his anger in response to a trigger such as an angry customer.

They also felt that the client’s version of events was not sufficiently contested by business leaders.

Sharon Langridge, a labor judge, said: “No weight has been placed on the possibility that the client made a false or exaggerated preventive complaint, nor on his own confession of serious verbal abuse.

Overall, this appears to be a case where Topps Tiles felt the customer is always right, with little or no consideration for the need for a store manager to stand up to a customer in order to protect himself or herself. his colleagues against unwarranted attacks. abuse. “

Mr Hardy also won his case that his dismissal was discriminatory because of his depression, as Topps Tiles ignored it when investigating the incident or when deciding to fire him.

A new hearing will take place to decide on the amount of compensation to be paid.

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