Hotel manager claims unfair dismissal from Macdonald Hotels & Resorts

28 April 2014 by
Hotel manager claims unfair dismissal from Macdonald Hotels & Resorts

A hotel manager lost her job after "a campaign" by the new owners to dismiss her, an employment tribunal has heard.

Jan Hampton, who owned Egerton House in Bolton, until it was acquired by Macdonald Hotels & Resorts in 2010, is claiming unfair dismissal.

Hampton, who remained a director and a 2% shareholder in the business following the takeover, claims she was put under "pressure" to comply with the company's desire to rebrand the hotel.

She claims to have raised several grievances with the company that were simply "ignored" and her objections to the rebranding were one of the reasons she was sacked and replaced as general manager.

But Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, which operates 45 hotels in the UK, claim she was dismissed for her poor performance. They wished to rebrand the 29-bedroom hotel, which closed earlier this year, to improve its fortunes.

The tribunal, in Manchester, heard how Hampton had raised a number of grievances with her fellow directors James Davidson and Chris Wayne-Will, prior to losing her job in August 2012.

Hampton, 52, had objected to the rebranding of the hotel to include the Macdonald name and had not wanted to sign-off the hotel's accounts due to a £179,000 charge made by the company relating to shares which she believed to be fraudulent.

But Wayne-Wills told the hearing that he had wanted to "turn round" the "failing" hotel, believing it wouldn't survive without the rebranding.

"The point of rebranding was to improve the performance of the hotel," he said. "The hotel was failing and business at the hotel was poor in relation to other hotels in the area."

He denied that a fine imposed for the late submission of the hotel's accounts had been a way of "pressuring" Mrs Hampton to rebrand and her opposition to the rebranding and concern about the £179,000 charge had led to her sacking.

"The decision to dismiss Mrs Hampton related to performance and the financial performance of Egerton House," Wayne-Wills said.

The tribunal heard how Wayne-Wills had brought in a new general manager at the hotel when Mrs Hampton went on sick leave due to work-related stress.

Andy Hill, representing Hampton, told the hearing that the move was "part of a campaign to get her out".

But Wayne-Wills denied this and said he had made the appointment as a "supportive measure" for hotel staff.

Egerton House closed in January this year with the loss of 25 full- and part-time jobs.

Speaking earlier this month, David Guile, chief executive of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, told Caterer and Hotelkeeper: "The hotel was a joint venture and was never really representative of the brand in terms of quality.

"We're now reviewing the potential of the property and it may be sold or converted into a private residence."

The tribunal was adjourned until 12 May when Hampton will give evidence.

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