More tribunal madness

Sep 15 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

We couldn't resist this story from the Times:

A zookeeper barricaded himself in his flat with two wallabies and fourteen tortoises and refused to leave for twenty-three days after he was dismissed for secretly selling off its marmosets, an employment tribunal was told yesterday.

When the owner of the Tropiquaria zoo in Somerset finally gained access to the flat, which was provided as part of the zookeeper's job, they discovered that "the flat had been completely trashed."

It was apparent that wallabies had actually been kept in one bedroom because there was straw on the floor and wallaby faeces on the carpet. The cooker had been destroyed with a sledgehammer and prawns stuffed in the pipes.

There were several pictures daubed on the walls of people catching monkeys and words saying, ‘Softly Softly Catchee Monkey.’

But there is a serious point here. The zookeeper had built up a collection of animals which were donated by other zoos in the belief they were going on show in Tropiquaria. Yet his employers still find themselves spending time, energy and money defending themselves against an allegation of wrongful dismissal.

No wonder so many employers view Britain's employment tribunal system as a lottery that is loaded against them.