How we use Cookies

AN ARGOS employee, from Solihull, who resigned following a campaign of bullying, has won her case for unfair dismissal.

Wendy MacDonald worked at the Chelmsley Wood branch of the high street giant for three years before leaving in 2011, claiming she was being ‘bullied and harassed’ by her manager, Katrina Riley.

Wendy MacDonald worked at the Chelmsley Wood branch of the high street giant for three years before leaving in 2011, claiming she was being ‘bullied and harassed’ by her manager, Katrina Riley.

The 40-year-old, now signed off work with stress and depression, had rejected a previous compensation offer – including a gagging clause – from Argos, of £7,500.

Last month she won a rare victory for unfair constructive dismissal, and was awarded the lesser sum of £5,714 compensation.

Judge Lorna Findlay at the employment tribunal slammed the company’s grievance procedures, describing them as a ‘debacle’ and a ‘sham.’

She told Ms MacDonald that any reasonable observer of the manager’s behaviour would have concluded she ‘singled you out, and that she had treated you oppressively.’ Ms MacDonald said: “Katrina Riley bullied and harassed me. She said there was a thief in the store and singled me out.”

But despite winning her case, the mum-of-two feels the retailer still refuses to accept responsibility for the incident.

“I have still had no apology from Argos whatsoever,” she said. “I don’t feel they’ve accepted that they were in the wrong.

“I went through sheer hell. Over the whole 18 months I’ve basically been told to shut up and stand in the corner, while they have protected her throughout.

“It’s so irresponsible to put someone who has been found guilty by a judge of bullying, back into the same store. Once a bully, always a bully.

“It’s another kick in the teeth.”

Ms MacDonald, who also brought complaints against area manager, Tim Bailey, and former HR business manager, Sally Whiteford, said she was on anti-depressants and working one day a week at Chelmsley Wood Citizens Advice Bureau.

“I’ve lost a lot of trust in people,” she added.

A spokeswoman for Argos said: “We refute the allegations of bullying and have a very strict policy on respect in the workplace.”

 

Journalists

Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
Full newsroom contact details
Tell us what's happening in your area.