Former caf� worker at Southwold Pier loses case at employment tribunal

A WORKER who claimed she was owed more than �1,000 because her contract with Southwold Pier was breached has lost her case at an employment tribunal.

Helen Baird, of Nicholas Drive, Reydon, worked at the pier from March 19, 2009 until March 31 this year as a supervisor in the Beach Caf�.

The tribunal heard that Mrs Baird had resigned 'suddenly' on March 31, but returned to the pier on April 5, to see if she could resume working there.

Mrs Baird spoke with the pier's owner, Stephen Bournes, at an admin office and was then told to speak to Peter Websdale, manager of the caf�.

Mrs Baird told the tribunal in Bury St Edmunds on Friday that she had picked up a uniform and had a computer dongle, which allowed her to record her shifts at the pier, re-activated on her way to meet Mr Websdale.

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'Everyone in the office said 'welcome back, it's great that you're back' including Mr Bournes,' Mrs Baird said.

But Mr Bournes told the hearing: 'There was no offer of employment on April 5.

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'Mrs Baird came into the office – she was uninvited and it was inappropriate to go into discussions about employment as there were other people in the room. She requested to work in retail; we said 'no' and I said to talk to Peter.'

Mrs Baird then spoke to Mr Websdale about returning to work and received a text message from him on April 5 which said: 'I'm over the moon that you're coming back to the pier. I cannot wait to get you started, love you lots'.

Mrs Baird claimed she returned to the pier to collect her shift times on April 7, as she understood she was due to start work the following day.

But the tribunal heard that instead Mrs Baird had an exit interview on the day with Mr Websdale, following her resignation the previous month.

Mrs Baird claimed �380 for the alleged breach of contract and �708 in damages, claiming she was unable to take 118 hours in unpaid breaks from December 7, 2009 to March 31, 2012.

The tribunal chairman, Ian Pritchard-Witts, ruled that Mrs Baird could not be compensated for working through her breaks, as they were unpaid.

He also ruled that there were no possible damages over the alleged breach in contract because there was no signed letter of employment.

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