These accusations are originating from Assistant Manager Chlebanowski who was regularly instructing staff to use out of date ingredients in food production last year in York Way branch. He was also bullying staff. Witness Statement 1 states in paragraphs 6 and 7:
“In response to Mr Stopa’s concern with food safety standards, Mr Chlebanowski started bullying him. He spoke about Mr Stopa’s personal file openly in front of the team, he was forcing him to work more than six hours without a break and would point out any mistake Mr Stopa did in front of all team to humiliate him. Finally, on 1st December 2011 Mr Chlebanowski raised a grievance against Mr Stopa alleging that Mr Stopa made homophobic comments against him.
I believe that this was a malicious grievance as I witnessed these comments and I don’t find them homophobic in any way which I repeatedly stated during the investigation. I believe that the true reason why Mr Chlebanowski raised this issue was his concerns that Mr Stopa would eventually report his practice of using out of date ingredients in production.”
Witness Statement 2 states in paragraph 6:
“On 1st December 2011 and 10th January 2012 Mr Chlebanowski raised two grievances against Mr Stopa. I believe that both of these grievances were malicious as Mr Stopa opposed almost every day Mr Chlebanowski’s practice of using out of date ingredients. Mr Stopa was also aware of his basic worker’s rights which he pointed out to Mr Chlebanowski on a few occasions when he was trying to intimidate him or the other staff members. I believe that Mr Chlebanowski felt uncomfortable that Mr Stopa was working in his shop as he could eventually report any of these incidents. That is why he decided to get Mr Stopa dismissed so he can continue to bully staff members and instruct them to use out of date ingredients.”
In December 2011 and January 2012, Andrej challenged Mr Chlebanowski on the breach of food safety via two text messages. Although, Mr Chlebanowski knew what was the subject of these text messages he claimed that Andrej was threatening him. However, Pret didn’t deal with these accusations for 9 months. After Andrej established PAMSU on 1st September 2012 he was finally called for the disciplinary hearing based on these malicious accusations and consequently dismissed even though he presented the statements from his colleagues to Pret. Clearly, Pret could not stand to have a whisle-blower and a trade union activist among their staff. Although, Pret was presented four statements from their staff that Mr Chlebanowski is instructing them to use out of date ingredients in food production, he was never investigated. Instead, he was recently promoted to the General Manager.
Andrej lodged in a claim to Employment Tribunal last week on the grounds that he was dismissed unfairly.