Shropshire worker sacked over yoghurt dates mix-up

Advising consumers over the best dates on which to enjoy their yoghurts turned sour for a Shropshire supervisor when he was given the sack.

Darren Egan, of Orleton Terrace, Wellington, lost his job at T M UK Production Ltd of Shrewsbury Road, Market Drayton, after yoghurts were produced featuring the wrong "best before" dates.

Mr Egan complained he was unfairly dismissed as a result, and made a compensation claim against T M UK Production Ltd at Birmingham Employment Tribunal.

He told the tribunal that a machine had malfunctioned and that he was not to blame.

But the firm, which opposed his legal claim, accused Mr Egan of a breach of trust and confidence by not carrying out the proper process in reporting the fault.

It alleged he had been involved in a cover-up – a claim Mr Egan denied.

He was also accused of failing to complete his paperwork and record the incident as he should have done.

He denied an allegation that he had not carried out duties to his normal high standard.

Mr Egan had been employed by the firm for 13 years and had had a previous unblemished record, it was said.

The tribunal was told that the dating process involved a number of pallets containing yoghurt.

The actual number involved – nine pallets or a dozen – was disputed by the respondents and Mr Egan.

After a two-day hearing, tribunal judge Miss Karen Tucker said the tribunal decision was that the firm had acted within the bounds of reasonable response and rejected Mr Egan's compensation claim for unfair dismissal.

The respondents then made a claim for £3,000 costs against Mr Egan after complaining that "significant costs" had been involved in bringing the case.

But Miss Tucker rejected the costs application.

A tribunal spokesman said later that tribunals awarded costs "only in rare and certain circumstances".

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