An employment tribunal has heard a man from Cardiff claim a record £2m in compensation for unfair dismissal from courier company DHL.
Kevin Kay, 46, worked as a business development manager for the company. He alleges that after resuming his duties following nine months of sick leave caused by stress, he was targeted by bosses.
He claims he was fired because he did not want to relocate, which would have forced him to spend most of the week away from his wife and two children.
In addition, Mr Kay says he did not receive a bonus or pay increase, which he had been given regularly since he joined the company 22 years ago.
The employment tribunal in Bristol was told that during Mr Kay’s time off work, his role had changed significantly and all the members of his team had been relocated to the West Midlands.
However, in order to join the rest of the team, Mr Kay would have been forced to commute and stay in hotels for most of the week.
Mr Kay’s boss, Martin Dougherty, a business development director, said: “We changed our business plan in 2009 to a plan which meant we had to spend a lot more time with the customer.
“This fundamentally changed Mr Kay’s daily activity, he would have had to spend more time face to face with a client and less time doing data analysis in an office.”
Mr Kay worked at the Avonmouth DHL branch before taking sick leave in March 2010 due to stress and depression. But when he returned to work in January 2011, he was told he would have to move to the West Midlands.
According to Mr Doherty, Mr Kay believed he could still live in Cardiff and commute to and from the West Midlands, refusing to stay overnight.
He said: “The amount of driving he would have done would have been worrying.
“It is a five hour round trip to the West Midlands from Cardiff, which would have taken five hours out of an eight hour working day. I got the impression that he thought the business needs were not what we were telling him they were – that he could do it all from home. I believed he knew he would have to stay away from home though, meeting clients face to face.”
Mr Kay started a gradual return to work in January 2011, but was eventually sacked by the company in June 2011.
The decision to fire him was upheld after Mr Kay appealed.
Mr Kay’s lawyer Stephen Jackson said: “We’re hoping to get a total of £2.4m from DHL. We have asked for £1.2m, but grossed up with tax that comes to £2.4m.”
The tribunal will resume on 10 September.