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NSL loses key unfair dismissal Employment Tribunal case.  Judge says "We found the Claimant and his two witnesses to be a straightforward, clear andconsistent. We did not feel the same way about the Respondent's (i.e NSL's) witnesses, and particularly Mr Dunbar and Mr Rowland. Where the evidence adduced by the Claimant disagreed with the Respondent's evidence we preferred the former.

An employment tribunal judge has issued a devastating judgement against NSL Limited the employers of a parking attendant who maintained he was sacked for not giving motorists a quota of parking tickets.

The case was brought by Hakim Berkani, who was employed by Kensington and Chelsea Council's parking enforcement contractors NSL.

According to the judge NSL, who operate parking enforcement for Kensington and Chelsea Council and Westminster City Council maintained a ‘clandestine quota system’ to issue parking tickets to motorists in a ‘predatory and dishonest’ way.

According to the decision which I have seen the judgement shows that the Kensington and Chelsea Council contractor set its civil enforcement officers a minimum quota of ten parking tickets each day.

NSL is unquestionably the most significant business employing civil enforcement officers in the United Kingdom, offering on street parking enforcement for in excess of Sixty local authorities.

NSL denies that it set quoas and said that it was disappointed by the judgment and was contemplating its possible choices.

In a judgment that has only just been released after the hearing in the London Central Employment Tribunal, Judge Burns decided that Mr Berkani was unfairly sacked.

In the judgement the judge stated "We found the Claimant and his two witnesses to be a straightforward, clear and
consistent. We did not feel the same way about the Respondent's (i.e NSL's) witnesses,
and particularly Mr Dunbar and Mr Rowland. Where the evidence adduced by
the Claimant disagreed with the Respondent's evidence we preferred the
former.


We accept the Claimants evidence that the managers clearly wanted more
rather than less PCNs to be issued. This is corroborated not only by Mr Foudils
evidence (paragraph 20 of his witness statement), but by page C61 of the
bundle which is an email from Emma Collins, Regional manager within NSL to
Jeff Miles and Andrew Davison (then contract . manager) dated 9 November
2009 which reads as follows "there are still significant numbers of people issuing
at a rate of below .9 per hour .... we should not feel uncomfortable to use the
disciplinary process ... etc". (see paragraph 14 of judgement)

This regrettable situation appears to been contributed to largely by the lack of
clear open and honest management - particularly on the issue of the proper
approach to the issuing of PCNs - which lead different CEOs to adopt different
approaches, and to their being pitted against each other - some feeling
compelled to comply with an unwritten quota system, while others, such as the
Claimant, adopted · the opposite approach, apparently without attracting either
formal disciplinary sanctions or proper guidance as a result. (see paragraph 20 of judgement)

Conclusions
71. The Respondent has not shown that the real reason for dismissal was
misconduct or any other potentially fair reason.
72. The real reasons for the Claimant's dismissal were (i) his opposition to the
Respc;mdent's clandestine quota system ·relating to the issuing of parking
contravention notices, and (ii) his trade union activities, neither of which were
potentially fair reasons for dismissal within section 98(2) or some other
substantial reason of a kind such as to justify dismissal.
73. Messrs Davison, Dunbar and Rowlands were a party to a campaign against the
Claimant designed to frame him on trumped-up charges.

7 4. Mr Boxall and Mr Storey did not have a genuine belief based on reasonable
grounds that the Claimant had perpetrated the alleged misconduct. There was
substantial evidence on which they should have concluded that the Claimant
was being victimised and that the original complaints against the claimant were
simpi.Y an expression of this.
75. The so called misconduct - consisting in the Claimant not issuing PCNs
because he was scared and unsupported, trying to persuade CEOs to join his
union, and taking issue when he was on the receiving end of serious
provocation from Messrs Dunbar and Rowlands would- not have justified
dismissal in any event, even if if these matters had been the genuine reason.
76. The disciplinary process was a sham designed to get rid of the claimant while
. skating over or ignoring the genuine serious counter-complaints which he had
raised.
77.1n final submissions Mr Preston suggested that the Claimant was guilty of
contributory fault consisting in firstly his not attending the disciplinary hearings
before Mr Boxall after 2"d December 2010. However, with good reason, he had
lost faith in the process. He asked for a new process in front of an independent
· decision maker, but was refused.
78. Secondly it was suggested that he had refused to see matters from his
"employers point of view''. However the main areas of disagreement were (i) that
the Claimant objected to being forced to · issue PCNs under a quota system,
whereas the Respondents managers were seeking to advance such a system
on a clandestine basis; and (ii) that the Claimant wanted to be able to pursue
legitimate union activities on behalf of his union members in the face of severe
illegitimate opposition to this from managers. We do not think that the Claimant
refusal to share his managers' views on either of these subjects can be justly
described as contributory fault on his part.
79. There is also no basis for making a finding that had matters been dealt with
fairly and properly, that the Claimant would have been dismissed anyway (ie

 

Mr. Berkani was subsequently award £20,000.

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