November 11, 2017

Rooftop Protest at Tesco Extra Highlights Difficulties in Disciplining Third Party Employees

A security guard has made headlines for his novel approach to enforcing his employment rights – a 20-hour rooftop protest at the Tesco Extra in Reading where he had worked.

Adama Jammeh, who had been employed by security firm Total Security Services (TSS) and stationed at the Tesco Store in Reading, alleges that Tesco accused him of stealing £20,000 worth of electrical equipment – an allegation that was accepted by TSS who then summarily dismissed him.

Mr Jammeh claims the police have cleared him of any guilt but he has not been offered either his job back or an apology from Tesco.

So, in response Mr Jammeh has spent the past six months staging a one-man protest outside the store with banners. However, his protest escalated when he climbed onto girders above the checkouts and stayed there for more than 20 hours while live-streaming events on Facebook.

What happens when third party employees break policies

Whilst Mr Jammeh’s reaction to his dismissal is an unusual one, the issues leading up to it are more familiar.

Where employees work not directly for their employer but instead fulfil their duties on a third party’s premises, a number of difficulties can arise.

The employee will almost certainly be subject to the third party’s policies whilst on their site, however the third party is unlikely to have to – or indeed want to – follow any sort of procedure when faced with even a suggestion the employee’s conduct has fallen below the required standards.

Instead, the third party is likely to send the employee back to their employer, with a simple “they are no longer welcome on our site”.

How to investigate and discipline employees working for third parties

This leaves the employer in a very difficult situation.

Do they move to discipline the employee on the grounds of misconduct?

This may be very difficult as the third party may be reluctant to assist with any sort of investigation, and the employer also has the commercial considerations of the relationship with the third party to maintain.

Where dismissal on the grounds of misconduct is not possible, the employer then must deal with redeploying the employee, but this may not be desirable or practical.

An employer in such circumstances should always make sure the employee is obliged to follow the third party’s policies whilst on site, making it much easier to deal with any misconduct should it arise.

They should also try and rotate their employees off specific sites so that it is easier to redeploy them should it be required. Lastly, the employer must be prepared to dismiss the employee for “some other substantial reason” should they have to.

If you are a Moorepay customer please contact us immediately should you find yourself in a similarly tricky situation.

More guidance on the latest HR & employment law legislation

Want a round-up of stories like this delivered to your inbox?

About the author

Stephen Johnson

Stephen has over 25 years experience in private sector HR and management roles, working as a Manager for over 10 years and eventually moving into the financial services industry. In his current role as an HR Policy Review Consultant he develops, reviews and maintains our clients’ employment documentation. With extensive knowledge of management initiatives and HR disciplines Stephen is commercially focused and supports clients in delivering their business objectives whilst minimising the risk of litigation.