Tribunal hears woman sacked over too many texts

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A WOMAN claims she was sacked from her university job – for texting too much.

Tracey Scott, 42, was a premises manager at Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) for over three years and was axed from her job for apparently sending too many personal texts during working hours.

It is claimed she committed gross misconduct for using her mobile phone to send private texts during working hours and for failing to stop sending as many texts once her line manager had asked her to.

During a hearing in Edinburgh today (mon) Ms Scott denied that she had ever been told by her line manager, Alan Blackwood, that she should not be sending as many texts personal texts.

She said that if she had been told then she would have stopped.

The single mother argued: “As soon as I was aware (that I should not be texting) I stopped using my phone during work time.”

When asked by Employment Judge Mary Kearns why she was claiming unfair dismissal Ms Scott said: “The dismissal itself seemed to be based on the word of Alan Blackwood and the fact that it was his word against mine.

“I have proved that he was not always the best at communicating.”

Ms Scott also claimed that due to restructuring, her role within the company had diminished.

She added: “My role had changed considerably and this is one of the reasons why I had sent so many texts.

“It didn’t interfere with work because I had no work to do. My role had been taken away from me.

“I didn’t cost the company any money. I never once tried to steal any money or time from the company.

“I just feel that when it came to the witness statement it was just decided that Alan Black was more credible than I was.”

Ms Scott admits having a conversation with Mr Blackwood about personal phone usage but she said: “At no point did he say that it was to be taken into immediate effect.”

Cathy Donald was present for EUSA and called Sam Mason director of trading and estates to give evidence.

It was claimed by Mr Mason that Ms Scott sent texts every eight or nine minutes to about every 16 or 17 minutes.

He added: “If this was just at breaks or at the weekend then I don’t need to know.

“There is always a difficulty in people using a company phone for private use as we get the bills but the calls are private.”

Mr Mason said that the reason that Ms Scott had been dismissed and not given a final written warning was because she had been told to stop using her mobile for personal use by her line manager Mr Blackwood.

He added: “At the first disciplinary meeting she was very feisty. She didn’t admit to doing anything wrong and made no attempt to apologise.”

Ms Scott had a doctor’s appointment the week before telling her that nothing could be done about the two tumours in her arm.

She said: “I had been given a life sentence then and my mind was nowhere.”

It was also claimed during the hearing that there were issues with Ms Scott’s performance at work as a fire safety visit was conducted in one of the buildings she was apparently responsible for which came back with a bad report.

Ms Scott said that there had never been any issues with her performance.

George Yuill, a supervisor cleaner for EUSA, was called by Ms Scott to give evidence.

Mr Yuill said: “I was never told that I couldn’t use the phone for personal use and was never asked to produce phone bills.”

The hearing continues tomorrow (Tues) for final submissions.

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