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Chivas administrator pockets £65,000 unfair dismissal payout

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A Glasgow employment tribunal awarded a former Chivas Brothers engineering administrator £65,000 in compensation for this week.

Mary Robertson worked at Chivas' Kilmalid plant in Dumbarton. She was dismissed in December 2008 for "gross misconduct" after the company claimed she breached the spending limit on the company credit card she was given.

Chivas alleged the limit was set at £5,000 per month and that Ms Robertson exceed it by around £15,000 on average over a period of four months.

Her dismissal letter stated: "You ordered and paid for grossly excessive amounts of production consumables, thus negligently causing significant financial damage to the company.

"These actions constitute gross misconduct and it is our decision that you are dismissed from your post with immediate effect."

Ms Robertson acknowledged purchasing 84.000 ear plugs, 20,000 bin bags and making a string of other purchases during this period, but said that she assumed extra purchasing responsibilities when a colleague retired.

In a written judgement, Judge Roderick MacKenzie agreed that the dismissal of Mrs Robertson was unfair.

"Our conclusion is there is an absence of any gain by Ms Robertson and that it can not be said that in a company with a turnover in the region of £2bn, Ms Robertson's actions could be considered to have caused significant financial damage to the company."

Responding to the verdict, Ms Robertson said: "I was victimised, but the tribunal decision vindicates me."

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