Worker fired over social media meat deal post

Noel Chadwick's in Standish
Noel Chadwick's in Standish

Deli bosses fired a long-standing employee after he shared a Facebook post about discount meats with his girlfriend.

Michael Hayward, who worked for Chadwick’s, in Standish, recommended a firm called Fresh Meat Packs North West to his then-girlfriend Helen Bennett, on social media, an employment tribunal heard.

Michael and Helen

Michael and Helen

But within 48 hours Mr Hayward, who had worked there for seven-and-a-half years, had been dismissed by directors John and Paul Chadwick for “advertising” one of their competitors.

An employment judge has described the worker’s sacking, without even the right to appeal, as “reprehensible” and awarded him a £6,091 payout.

The tribunal heard Mr Hayward accepted he had been “pulled up” regarding his use of social media before he posted a picture of Fresh Meat’s offer for steaks, chicken, sausages and mince to Miss Bennett.

But he rejected claims he had been given a formal warning before his sacking over the “advert” in April 2016.

The judge in the unfair dismissal claim, heard at Manchester, ruled in Hayward’s favour.

In a ruling, Judge Keith Robinson said: “It is not an advertisement. The post contains information about the cost of packets of meat purchasable online from a company known as Fresh Meat Packs North West Ltd.

“They are not a direct competitor of the respondent.

“Fresh Meats sell the same products but they take online orders. It is a different set-up from the respondent’s business, which relies on local reputation, on people visiting the shop and have few, if any, online orders.”

The judge also noted that Chadwick’s, based in High Street, had a deli and restaurant attached, unlike the other outfit.

He added: “Mr Hayward’s misdemeanour, if one can call it that, was minor.

“A post on Facebook about the selling of meat to his girlfriend and the cost of that item cannot constitute gross misconduct.

“He was not in breach of any social media policy. It is fanciful of the respondent to suggest that there would be any financial loss to them with regard to other people seeing the post.

“It is also fanciful to say that such a post harms their reputation.

“I accept that Chadwick’s had an extremely high reputation in the locality but they are not the only organisation to sell meat in the area.”

Mr Hayward, who is now understood to work at Starbucks and has married Miss Bennett, was awarded £4,891 in lost wages and compensation, and will be reimbursed his tribunal fees of £1,200.