Woman sacked over raunchy emails awarded £25,000 compensation

A woman who was sacked for exchanging raunchy emails with a company supplier has been awarded £25,000 compensation.

Aileen Paterson had worked for the explosives manufacturer Chemring Energetics in Ayrshire for 35 years. Problems arose after the company discovered inappropriate emails between her and a supplier who gave her the nickname of ‘sexy knickers’.


Some of the emails had sexual references and she called the supplier “Honey” and signed off with kisses.


When her managers asked her about the emails she said they were just harmless banter. However, the decision was taken to dismiss her on the grounds that the “email exchanges were unprofessional, contained sexual undertones and breached the respondent’s code of business principles”.


Ms Paterson then brought a claim of unfair dismissal.


The Employment Tribunal found in her favour. It accepted her explanation that she had a bubbly personality and the emails were just banter with an old friend.


Judge Lucy Wiseman said: “I concluded that no other reasonable employer having regard to the extent of the misconduct in this case, and having satisfied itself there was no issue of preferential treatment, and no issue of a loss of trust and confidence in the employee, would have dismissed the claimant.”


Ms Paterson was awarded £25,000 but had the award reduced by 25% because her conduct had contributed to her treatment.


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