A firm has successfully defended an employment claim from a former staff member sacked following an explosive meeting to discuss his behaviour.

Tribunal judge AC Holt, sitting in Manchester, said Satchell Moran Solicitors was justified in dismissing James Taylor without notice following the incident last year.

Taylor had been a call handler with the firm for seven months when he met Mark Satchell, head of the criminal department, for an ‘informal chat’ behind closed doors. Taylor claimed that Satchell told him that colleagues had complained about his behaviour, that he was denied the opportunity to explain, and that he was sacked ‘on the spot’. It was agreed that following the meeting Taylor had posted on his personal Instagram account referring to ‘fucking shitbag snitches’ and ‘absolute fucking weirdos who stalk the life out of you’.

Satchell told the tribunal that he wanted to resolve issues which had cropped up with other members of staff and wanted a positive outcome for all concerned. He said there had been a number of complaints from colleagues who accused Taylor of ‘disrespectful behaviour’ and who said he was ‘quite intimidating’.

Satchell said that Taylor had suggested he would confront the colleagues who reported issues and submitted that his demeanour was ‘shouting and growling when responding to me, his face was contorted and his fists were clenched’. Satchell recalled being concerned that Taylor might damage the firm’s property or even assault a member of staff, at which point he ended the meeting and said the appropriate remedy was for the company to summarily dismiss him.

The judge said Taylor ‘lost control of his behaviour’ and it was reasonable for Satchell to have concerns about safety. This conduct amounted to a repudiatory breach of contract.

The tribunal further heard that after the incident, a witness reported that Taylor said to the whole office: ‘Who the fuck finds me intimidating?’ He also deleted a spreadsheet from his work computer and ‘noisily and angrily’ emptied his desk.

The judge said: ‘The claimant’s behaviour was so extreme, rude and aggressive that Mr Satchell was entirely justified in dismissing the claimant summarily. The claimant compounded matters by continuing to be unprofessional in the office when emptying his desk and by deleting his work.’

He added that Taylor had since found other work and noted that at the time of the incident people were in the middle of lockdown and dealing with multiple stresses and challenges. He stressed that Taylor had been polite and courteous during the hearing and expressed his hope that he could ‘pursue his career without letting non-work-related matters cloud his judgement’.