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Security guard unfairly dismissed but not discriminated against

An employment tribunal at Reading ruled that Saleem Tayab was unfairly dismissed from Atalian Servest Security Limited with the accusation of ‘abandoning his post’ to perform Friday prayers, but was not discriminated against. The security guard won claims of unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal and holiday pay regulations proven.

According to what was heard at the tribunal, the security guard was employed as a registered security guard for Atalian Servest Security Limited, since 2015. Mr Tayab worked on a contract for Tesco until 2019, when he was given a final written warning for abandoning his post.

Following this, he was moved to guard the gate of an HS2 site at Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. He then endured 12 hour shifts alongside two colleagues, who were allowed to sort breaks out among themselves as there was no ‘hard and fast rule’ about them.

In January 2020, Mr Tayab was on duty with two other security and they were following their usual agreed shift pattern. He was due to have his break from midday until 2.00pm. At noon he went on his hour lunchbreak until 1.00pm, leaving his two colleagues on the gate, and then went to pray at 1.00pm.

Kassem Khalifeh, who was Mr Tayab’s supervisor, visited the post while the security guard was praying and noticed that he was not on duty. An investigation was launched following this and Mr Tayab was accused of ‘gross misconduct.’ After a disciplinary hearing was held, he was sacked from his role.

The panel was told that there was no effort made into collecting CCTV evidence from the gate – which might have shown that Mr Tayab had gone on his pre-arranged break. Mr Tayab also appealed the decision that was made then. However, this was rejected.

The tribunal ruled that Mr Tayab was unfairly dismissed by Atalian Servest Security Limited because he did not ‘leave the gate unstaffed’. A hearing will be held later to decide Mr Tayab’s compensation.

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