Woman gets fired for being ‘annoying’ – is it legal?

Is it fair? (Picture: Getty)

Imagine it: you’re competent at your job, but people don’t like you very much – and those are the grounds on which you’re fired.

It doesn’t seem fair, but according to employment law experts, this is perfectly legal.

Jude Fiddler, a HR expert in this field, recently posed the situation on TikTok, asking whether viewers thought this was acceptable reasoning to fire someone.

She said that: ‘What happened was three complaints had come in over the last 18 months about one specific female employee.’

The complaints included that she was ‘eating loudly’, ‘talking incessantly’, and that she was tampering with the heating at work.

In the grand scheme of things, these don’t seem like huge issues – especially as the person in question had been an employee for five years.

Jude added that two of the employees who had complained ‘alluded to the fact that they would leave if she was still going to be there because she made their working life experience intolerable’.

Management decided to then sack the ‘annoying’ woman rather than risk the other unhappy members of staff leaving, she says.

The woman was apparently given five weeks pay and that was it – and naturally that has caused a dispute.

It seems particularly mean, when an employment tribunal recently ruled that swearing at your colleagues is no big deal.

Jude then explains why this is legal – even if it seems harsh – in her next video.

‘The answer is an SOSR dismissal,’ she says, which stands for ‘some other substantial reason’, which is a ‘catch all provision that you’re allowed to make a safe dismissal if all every other thing has been exhausted’.

In order for this to count as fair dismissal, an employer needs evidence and proof the situation can’t be fixed, and that everything else has been given a chance.

Lots of commenters weren’t happy with this, arguing this let’s bullies and toxic workplaces win.

One person asked: ‘Would you need to establish whether those employees threatening to walk out didn’t constitute a toxic clique?’

Jude replied: ‘Yes you’d have to consider as part if investigation. would be unreasonable if you ignored it.’

However, others weren’t convinced, as other comments included ‘jeez I wouldn’t want to work for that company!’ and ‘you can’t have group bullying’.

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