Football club security guard loses unfair dismissal claim over dirty kit

A recent case at Brighton Football Club raises questions on job duties and dismissals. A security supervisor with a decade of service lost his claim of unfair dismissal after refusing to make laundry duties a permanent part of his role. The Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of the club, stating it was entitled to ask for assistance.

A security supervisor at Brighton Football Club who refused to move dirty kit to the laundry because he felt it wasn’t part of his role has lost his claim of unfair dismissal. Neill Smyth had worked at the club’s training ground for 10 years. At first, he was happy to help and move the kit from the club coach to the laundry when the club was short staffed in 2019. However, he objected when the task was made permanent in 2020. He resigned and claimed unfair dismissal. He told the Employment Tribunal: “This clearly did not form part of my duties as I understood them, nor did I think that it was reasonable for the security team to step in and help with this.”

The tribunal ruled against him. It held that the club was entitled to ask him to help. It also rejected Smith’s submissions that a gym injury prevented him carrying the kit, and that the club had breached Covid safety measures by asking him to handle the kit after it had been in contact with players, who were in a “bubble” at the time due to Covid restrictions. Employment Judge Lowe ruled that Smith had resigned after getting a new security job with another employer and therefore he could not claim unfair dismissal.

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