Driver unfairly let go from job
A lorry driver who was unfairly dismissed from his job has won thousands of pounds after an employment tribunal ruling.
Dale Underwood (50) of Yaxley was let go by Wincanton Group Limited in Huntingdon shortly after a police investigation into him for blackmail was dropped.
Mr Underwood was not paid for two months while on bail and, once the police had ended their inquiries, he requested backdated payments to recover the salary he had lost.
But Wincanton refused his request then fired him for a breach of trust. He was also told that he if he had requested payment at the start of his bail in April, he would have been dismissed.
In the tribunal ruling, Employment Judge Postle declared that Mr Underwood had incorrectly not received his salary while suspended and said it appeared “slightly suspicious” that he was the only person put in the frame for blackmail.
In April 2014, Mr Underwood was accused of sending an anonymous letter that he had possession of several unflattering videos showing the sanitary conditions of trailers to transport food to the Co-op.
The price to purchase the recordings was £50,000 with the threat that they would go on YouTube and the press informed of their existence.
Mr Underwood was arrested on April 7 and suspended without pay by his employers.
Speaking after the tribunal in Bury St Edmunds had ruled in his favour, he said he had needed the help of foodbanks to get him through his time on bail.
Mr Underwood, who thanked his solicitors at Cambridge Legal Practice, added: “I was up for a crime I did not do.
“That’s the worst thing. It was a living nightmare.
“They pushed me to a point where if it was not for my wife, I’m not sure what I would have done. I still have flashbacks and I do not trust people any more.”
A Wincanton spokesperson said: “We acknowledge and respect the court’s decision on this matter, but will not be commenting further at this time.”