SMC Statement

The Superstadium Management Company can confirm that the Judgment in respect of the claims brought by Mr Harrison and Mr Cook was received on Friday 15 December 2017.  The full Judgment is attached to this statement and can be viewed on the Tribunal website.  It clearly sets out that both former employees (Mr Harrison and Mr Cook) were guilty of “dishonesty” and “culpable and blameworthy conduct” and as such no compensation has been awarded to either Claimant. 

Click here to read the full judgement.

We appreciate that this may be somewhat confusing due to the concession made by the Company that the Company accepted “procedural” unfairness prior to the hearing and therefore we feel it is important to explain this.  The Company made this concession in order to reduce the length of the hearing, the number of witnesses and to ensure that the Tribunal concentrated on the substantive reason for our decision to summarily dismiss Mr Harrison and Mr Cook.  The result of conceding procedural fairness meant that the Company’s HR Manager and the Company’s Facilities Manager did not have to appear in the Employment Tribunal as witnesses.  This was a further reason for the concession as the public way in which Mr Harrison and Mr Cook conducted the litigation caused serious distress to both employees who we believe were misrepresented by Mr Harrison and Mr Cook.  The Company therefore took the view to protect its employees from the further distress of having to give oral evidence at a public hearing. On the basis of the legal advice re received we felt that the remedy of “no compensation” would be reached in any event when the Tribunal was in receipt of all of the evidence and as such justice would be done. 

The Judgment is somewhat long and legalistic but we would like to highlight some of the key findings made by the Employment Tribunal.  As explained, neither employee has received any compensation which is, by the Judge’s own admission “unusual”.  Their claims for a basic award, compensatory award and compensation for wrongful dismissal have all failed.  They had also dropped their claims to be reinstated.

The Employment Tribunal found both former employees to be “dishonest” during the course of the internal disciplinary procedure and the Employment Judge concluded that both former employees were “dishonest” whilst giving evidence during the course of the Employment Tribunal hearing.  The Tribunal found that unhelpful evasive and dishonest answers were provided and that stories were “invented” during the course of the hearing. 

There are numerous references throughout the Judgment to their evidence being “inconsistent” and the Judge refers to the fact that both Mr Harrison and Mr Cook had changed their version of events on numerous occasions which led the Tribunal to conclude that their answers were not transparent.  In particular, Mr Cook was found to have been “stealing” work time for his own purposes which was something that his line manager, Mr Harrison was aware of and indeed allowed. 

The Tribunal has concluded unequivocally that regardless of any procedural matters both employees would have been dismissed in any event as a result of their gross misconduct. 

Whilst the Company is pleased that justice has been done and no compensation has been awarded to either former employee, we would like to put on record how disappointed we are with the way in which the media supported both Mr Cook and Mr Harrison which was in our view very one sided and resulted in many people reaching the wrong conclusions about the Company, its employees/directors and the way it treats its staff. The Company values all of its staff and dismissal of any staff member is always a last resort. However, there were on this occasion legitimate reasons to dismiss both Mr Harrison and Mr Cook and we are therefore pleased that our decision has been found to be the right one by the Employment Judge.

The public way in which the media gave oxygen to the former employees’ crowdfunding application also led to many fans of the Football Club and Hull FC financially supporting the former employees without knowledge of the full facts.  This was not helped by the fact that Hull City Supporters Trust and prominent figures such as Jeremy Corbyn supported both Mr Cook and Mr Harrison.  However, we feel entirely vindicated to have won so emphatically.

Finally, we would like to place our thanks on record to our legal team at Rollits, which was led by Ed Jenneson, and also our Barrister Melanie Tether from Old Square Chambers. 

We do not intend to make any further comment.