Skylark Hotel settles with worker sacked for complaining about boss' smoking

Echo: Sarah Emerson at the Skylark Hotel Sarah Emerson at the Skylark Hotel

A WOMAN has settled a claim against her former employer after she was wrongly sacked for reporting her boss was smoking in his office.

Sarah Emerson worked as PA to Andreas Stavrinides, boss of the Skylark Hotel and Conference Centre in Aviation Way, Rochford, but was sacked when she raised concerns about his in-work smoking habit.

Judges described Mr Stavrinides as having behaved inappropriately and disruptively.

Hours before a hearing for costs was due to be held on Friday, the firm settled with Miss Emerson for £8,000.

Speaking to the Echo after the case was settled, Miss Emerson, 42, said: “I’m delighted that justice has won the day. Everyone said to me the odds were stacked against me. It’s not about the money – I’m still massively out of pocket – it was the principle.”

Echo:

Andreas Stavrinides, right, pictured in 2011.

Last year, a tribunal ruled in Miss Emerson’s favour in the dispute over Travelforce Ltd, Andreas Stavrinides’ company which owns the hotel.

It heard that the MD told her he would curb his smoking after she started full time at the centre, after four months of working part time.

But one day , Miss Emerson, of Woodside, Leigh, said she found that the smell of heavy pipe smoke in the office was “simply unbearable”, and asked to work somewhere else in the hotel.

After she complained, Mr Stavrinides told her to swap desks with a younger employee, but when she protested that her colleague shouldn’t have to put up with his smoking either, he sent her home.

That evening he phoned Miss Emerson and sacked her, claiming later that he had been planning to restructure his business.

But the tribunal judges dismissed this claim as a “lie” from Stavrinides. They also said that a defence he made about her having signed a contract for a function without his approval was a “total fabrication”. Elsewhere they described his evidence that she was a disruptive worker as “unconvincing and cynical”.

The hearing also heard that Mr Stavrinides said he was the safety representative for the company, but the tribunal found he had “ignorance of the law and his responsibilities”.

Miss Emerson added: “I couldn’t have done this without borrowing money from my Dad, who I am paying back with the settlement. If this inspires one other person to stand up for themselves then it will have been worth it.”

Mr Stavrinides said he still doesn’t accept the tribunal was correct and claimed the courts were “very sympathetic to employees”.

He added that the company puts “a lot of emphasis” on ensuring that there was “health and safety of our staff, visitors and guests”.

Mr Stavrinides, 64, took over the Skylark Hotel in 2011 and carried out a large refurbishment of the complex.

Comments (15)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:14am Thu 6 Mar 14

Dan-Hockley says...

And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable
And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable Dan-Hockley
  • Score: -20

10:18am Thu 6 Mar 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

£8000 now put that, in your pipe, and smoke it, though I expect the firms BBQ wiont be quite so smokey, from now on !
£8000 now put that, in your pipe, and smoke it, though I expect the firms BBQ wiont be quite so smokey, from now on ! carnmountyouknowitmakessense
  • Score: 6

10:39am Thu 6 Mar 14

pembury53 says...

should have kept her mouth shut or dobed him in anonymous ..... 8 grand wont get you far without a job or benefits
should have kept her mouth shut or dobed him in anonymous ..... 8 grand wont get you far without a job or benefits pembury53
  • Score: -7

11:16am Thu 6 Mar 14

ThisYear says...

Dan-Hockley wrote:
And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable
The implication of your comment might be seen as there is no fairness in the land when it comes to justice..
[quote][p][bold]Dan-Hockley[/bold] wrote: And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable[/p][/quote]The implication of your comment might be seen as there is no fairness in the land when it comes to justice.. ThisYear
  • Score: 15

11:56am Thu 6 Mar 14

Elephantman2 says...

And two of the comments on here sum up why Trade unions started; employers taking the mickey; breaking the law and workers intimidated in to just accepting it. This country is falling back to the times of the Lords and Masters and the surfs and a fair few that live in this part of the world are too frightened to stand up for themselves. Well done Sarah you have my respect for doing what is right not what is expedient.
And two of the comments on here sum up why Trade unions started; employers taking the mickey; breaking the law and workers intimidated in to just accepting it. This country is falling back to the times of the Lords and Masters and the surfs and a fair few that live in this part of the world are too frightened to stand up for themselves. Well done Sarah you have my respect for doing what is right not what is expedient. Elephantman2
  • Score: 14

12:18pm Thu 6 Mar 14

essexlad1 says...

Well done. He obviously has no respect for his employees health. Not a very professional business poor excuse for a hotel.
Well done. He obviously has no respect for his employees health. Not a very professional business poor excuse for a hotel. essexlad1
  • Score: 37

12:45pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Happy Chickie says...

Dan-Hockley wrote:
And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable
How so?
[quote][p][bold]Dan-Hockley[/bold] wrote: And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable[/p][/quote]How so? Happy Chickie
  • Score: 20

1:01pm Thu 6 Mar 14

emcee says...

Trade Unions will, indeed, offer the individual "token" advice or reassurances but they will quite often deliberately try to avoid getting involved with individual employee conflicts (their advice and reassurances often reflects this) unless the conflict can be used for political point scoring and/or can be manipulated to create positive publicity for the union.
Trade Unions will, indeed, offer the individual "token" advice or reassurances but they will quite often deliberately try to avoid getting involved with individual employee conflicts (their advice and reassurances often reflects this) unless the conflict can be used for political point scoring and/or can be manipulated to create positive publicity for the union. emcee
  • Score: 9

1:52pm Thu 6 Mar 14

andy:) says...

Dan-Hockley wrote:
And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable
On what basis do you make that claim on ?
[quote][p][bold]Dan-Hockley[/bold] wrote: And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable[/p][/quote]On what basis do you make that claim on ? andy:)
  • Score: 11

1:55pm Thu 6 Mar 14

andy:) says...

Well done, £8k isnt a fortune but she'd only been there 4 months so not bad and this job could easily be skipped from a CV..I don't list every job on my CV and it hasnt given me any problems.
Well done, £8k isnt a fortune but she'd only been there 4 months so not bad and this job could easily be skipped from a CV..I don't list every job on my CV and it hasnt given me any problems. andy:)
  • Score: 17

4:57pm Thu 6 Mar 14

the25man says...

Good well done bully boy got his up commence. He was breaking the law the office was a working place.
Good well done bully boy got his up commence. He was breaking the law the office was a working place. the25man
  • Score: 15

6:23pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Living the La Vida Legra says...

Dan-Hockley wrote:
And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable
Quite right this news is on the internet. Every boss is going to Google her name ! Employ a whistle blower I don't think so. I google all of my employers.
It's only common sence Once on the internet always on the internet!
What a silly girl she should of done anonymous
And Re Unions watch Carry on up your convenience
[quote][p][bold]Dan-Hockley[/bold] wrote: And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable[/p][/quote]Quite right this news is on the internet. Every boss is going to Google her name ! Employ a whistle blower I don't think so. I google all of my employers. It's only common sence Once on the internet always on the internet! What a silly girl she should of done anonymous And Re Unions watch Carry on up your convenience Living the La Vida Legra
  • Score: -11

7:10pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Idontknowy says...

Living the La Vida Legra wrote:
Dan-Hockley wrote:
And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable
Quite right this news is on the internet. Every boss is going to Google her name ! Employ a whistle blower I don't think so. I google all of my employers.
It's only common sence Once on the internet always on the internet!
What a silly girl she should of done anonymous
And Re Unions watch Carry on up your convenience
If she doesn't get further employment on the basis of this Tribunal case then she can take that prospective employer to tribunal as well for discrimination
[quote][p][bold]Living the La Vida Legra[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dan-Hockley[/bold] wrote: And now Miss Emerson has made herself unemployable[/p][/quote]Quite right this news is on the internet. Every boss is going to Google her name ! Employ a whistle blower I don't think so. I google all of my employers. It's only common sence Once on the internet always on the internet! What a silly girl she should of done anonymous And Re Unions watch Carry on up your convenience[/p][/quote]If she doesn't get further employment on the basis of this Tribunal case then she can take that prospective employer to tribunal as well for discrimination Idontknowy
  • Score: 11

7:12pm Thu 6 Mar 14

CHRISTMAS CAROL says...

Why wasnt old Mr Whatshisface proscecuted. It is against the law to smoke in doors at work
Why wasnt old Mr Whatshisface proscecuted. It is against the law to smoke in doors at work CHRISTMAS CAROL
  • Score: 14

4:12pm Fri 7 Mar 14

NatalieSayer says...

I live near The Bell pub on the Arterial, and we get so many noise problems from that Skylark Hotel nightmare place. They're technically almost a mile away, but their noise is awful.

Looks like that idiot boss treats his staff as bad as he treats local residents.
I live near The Bell pub on the Arterial, and we get so many noise problems from that Skylark Hotel nightmare place. They're technically almost a mile away, but their noise is awful. Looks like that idiot boss treats his staff as bad as he treats local residents. NatalieSayer
  • Score: 4

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree