Former AA hotel inspector Jayne Wyatt has accepted a public apology from an ex-colleague who claimed she had sent him pornographic material, but not ruled out further action against the ratings guide publisher.
Wyatt's representative, David Glen, told the court that the pair had been senior members of the AA's hotel inspection team in 2007, when the company proposed changes to employment terms.
These included the introduction of consultancy and training sales, which inspectors would be expected to take on.
Glen said that Cartwright had been acting in support of the AA's plans and that his relationship with Wyatt had become strained after she brought the GMB union into negotiations.
As a result, Glen said, Cartwright "had made a number of unfounded remarks" including the claim that he had been sent pornographic material.
Cartwright had expressed his regret for the accusations which he said he would have withdrawn "but was prevented from doing so by the AA".
Wyatt said: "I begged the AA to investigate thoroughly the allegations brought against me and this statement shows that the investigation process was flawed.
"The fact that they prevented Gordon Cartwright from putting this particular allegation right is staggering."
GMB national secretary Paul Maloney said that Cartwright had realised he had been wrong to make the accusation.
He added: "In fairness, Gordon Cartwright tried to do the right thing when he realised he was being used. He realised that she might be fired, wanted to apologise and the AA refused to allow him to do it. "We will stand by Jayne Wyatt until we see justice done."
The AA declined to comment.
Assessors under the microscope
Jane Wyatt won a claim for unfair dismissal against the AA's holding company, Acromas, in December 2008 after a row over employment terms and conditions. She then pursued legal action against Gordon Cartwright for defamation of character.
The dispute has made public the actions of a company that, since being bought by private equity firms CVC and Permira in 2004, has undergone substantial and controversial restructuring at the expense of experienced staff.
With the private equity owners hoping to boost profits, they have placed greater emphasis on consultancy, blurring the boundaries between impartial accreditors and fee-charging consultants.
By James Stagg
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