The former head chef of Number 1 Bar in London Bridge has been awarded over £36,000 in compensation after winning an unfair dismissal case at a tribunal.
Marcelo Lagos, a member of the GMB union, was unanimously found to have been unfairly dismissed for whistleblowing after raising concerns about the safety of the kitchen he worked in.
The employment tribunal in Croydon, to which Lagos's former employer Number 1 Bar Limited failed to turn up to, heard that Lagos was informed that the kitchen in which he was working was closing and he was dismissed in May 2015.
In fact, it was heard, the kitchen did not close and food continued to be served after Lagos's departure.
The tribunal went on to hold that the real reason for the dismissal was that Lagos had raised concerns about the kitchen's salamander grill and deep fat fryer after he burned his hand. Whistleblowing legislation requires there to be a disclosure in the public interest. On this point, the tribunal found that Lagos's disclosures were made "in the public interest because anyone who came into that kitchen was likely to be endangered by faulty equipment".
The tribunal also heard that Lagos had suffered race discrimination, that the company had failed to pay him the correct holiday pay and notice pay, and that the company had also failed to provide him with a statement of particulars of employment, which employers are obliged to provide to employees within two months of the start of their employment.
Lagos said: "It was an arduous and exhausting job but thanks to GMB everything went well. I am very grateful [to the GMB] - from the first moment I counted on it for support and advice, to the dismissal and the final hearing."
Jim McDermott, regional organiser of GMB, southern region, said: "This is a shocking case where the employer has failed on so many different levels to abide by well-established laws that regulate the workplace relationship.
"Health and safety in the workplace is a fundamental right that GMB pursues on behalf of all workers and GMB will always seek to support members who are victimised for health and safety reasons."
No one from Number 1 Bar Ltd was immediately available for comment.
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