The AA hotel inspector who was sacked by the organisation after 30 years' service in 2007 has spoken of her relief after winning her claim for unfair dismissal.
Jayne Wyatt, a senior AA hotel inspector in the Hotels Services Division, was dismissed by AA owner Acromas last October after a row over new terms and conditions.
The dispute began in the autumn of 2006 when CVC and Permira, the AA's private-equity owners at the time, appointed a new manager at the Hotels Division and changed the terms and conditions of employment.
Wyatt made clear her opposition to the changes in an e-mail to staff on 6 February 2007, after which she was victimised, according to the GMB union.
The GMB, which is not recognised by the AA as its official union, claimed that Wyatt was isolated, marginalised and eventually dismissed by the AA - by then owned by Acromas - in October 2007. The tribunal agreed that she was unfairly dismissed. No date has yet been fixed for the damages hearing.
In an exclusive interview with Caterer, Wyatt said: "I am delighted and relieved that after nearly two years of internal hearings and court appearances the facts surrounding my departure from the AA have been aired in front of a tribunal and I have been found to have been unfairly dismissed."
In a statement, the AA said that the tribunal ruled that Wyatt had partly contributed to her dismissal by her actions.
But Wyatt pointed out that the manner in which she needed to "robustly defend" herself in the face of "very serious allegations" was ruled not blameworthy by the tribunal.
It found that there was material which gave her some reason to believe there may have been collusion and that the AA's investigations had been "unreasonable, defective and unfair".
"Questions now need to be answered by all those involved," Wyatt said.
Wyatt, who is presenting a new Sky TV series on food in the South-west of England, is now taking legal action against an AA manager for the defamation of her character.
Exclusive by Daniel Thomas
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