Tribunal Into Unfairly Dismissed KCOM Groundsmen Ends: Two former groundsmen at the KCOM Stadium have been battling for compensation after being unfairly dismissed but will have to wait for weeks to find out the verdict of a tribunal hearing.
Head groundsman Mark Harrison and his number two Darrell Cook were sacked by the SuperStadium Management Company (SMC) in June.
A hearing at Wilberforce Court has already been told that the company ran by Ehab Allam admitted it unfairly dismissed the pair.
But the company is arguing that no compensation should be paid to the ground staff, claiming that Mr Cook worked as a kitman for Hull FC when he was supposed to be working for the SMC.
At the end of Friday’s hearing, tribunal judge Rita Rogerson told the men that they will have to wait “weeks not days” to find out if they will receive any compensation.
She said that she had “run out of time” to make a decision and the men would receive a written judgment.
During the hearing, Mr Cook denied allegations that he had been working as a kitman for Hull FC while employed to maintain the pitch at the KCOM stadium.
Giving evidence, he insisted that he kept the two roles separate from each other and said he had always helped prepare Hull FC’s kit for upcoming matches outside of his working hours for the SMC.
Although he said he had been the club’s kitman for 20 years, he had never been given an employment contract and was paid £65 per fixture.
His former employer says that CCTV footage and security records show him carrying out kitman duties on four dates when he was meant to be working for the SMC.
SMC barrister Melanie Teather said that although the company acted unfairly during the dismissals process, their sacking was justified because of their conduct. She also accused Mr Cook of “making up explanations” for his whereabouts, and providing “contradictory” evidence.
She told the hearing: “When [Mr Cook] did submit his evidence today, his evidence fundamentally changed and he gave no proper explanation as to why he had done so.”
Mr Cook said that he had been carrying out normal ground-keeping duties at the stadium. CCTV footage shown at the tribunal showed Mr Cook carrying a Hull FC shirt near the changing room, but he said the shirt belonged to his wife who worked in the Hull FC shop at the stadium.
Miss Teather accused Mr Harrison of being aware that Mr Cook was working as a kitman, on three of the days, they allege he was doing that work instead of groundsman duties.
In concluding statements, barrister for the groundsmen Nicholas Siddall said that much of SMC’s case relies on the belief that it has an “infallible system” to understand the comings and goings of Mr Cook while on duty.
He also argued that Mr Allam, who gave evidence on Thursday, resides in “an ivory tower” and doubted he would witness the day-to-day activities of the groundsmen.
The final judgement on the case will announced at a later date.
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