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A retail worker has been awarded more than £12,000 in compensation after she was told by her boss to wear ‘more fashionable shoes’.
Former New Look worker Samantha Jackson told a tribunal that she felt bullied by her line manager Kirsty Sherburn, who criticised her for wearing Nike trainers while she was ‘berated’ over another issue.
Jackson said Sherburn was aware that she had to wear the trainers due to a knee condition, but claims she was told not to come in wearing the ‘horrid orange things’ again.
The incident started over the length of time it took Jackson to serve a customer, which turned out to be caused by a faulty till.
Jackson told the tribunal: “There were in fact problems with the operation of the till although Kirsty took no time to discover this – she simply berated me about this.’
“At the same time as telling me off about the till Kirsty also berated me about what she described as inappropriate footwear.
“New Look has no set or rigid policy with regard to footwear and as Kirsty and New Look were aware I have a condition with my knee – hyperflexion.
“This is a painful condition and I need shoes that are sufficiently comfortable to ensure that I can stand all day on the shop floor.
“During the incident Kirsty told me in strident terms that my footwear was inappropriate for work and that she didn’t expect to see me in those or the ‘horrid orange things’ again. She was wound up and highly heated during this exchange.’
She went on to say she was ‘made to feel incompetent and treated like a naughty child’ during the exchange.
The tribunal, held in Sheffield, heard that as a result Jackson went on sick leave with work-related stress and later filed a grievance.
In January 2019, the grievance was dismissed and Jackson, who had worked at the store since 2003, was invited in for mediation.
However, the tribunal found the mediation was not run in a reasonable manner and that there was ‘no real attempt to mediate’.
By April of the same year, Jackson said she felt she had no options but to hand in her notice and quit the role.
The employment tribunal ruled that failures by New Look amounted to a breach of trust and confidence, causing unfair dismissal.
Employment Judge Jonathan Brain said: “There can be no reasonable and proper reason for a store manager to treat a junior employee in this manner.”
Jackson was awarded £12,138.40 in compensation for unfair dismissal.
LADbible has contacted New Look for comment.