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Sacked BNP worker awarded damages for wrongful dismissal

image captionMarion Thomas was awarded more than £2,500 by the tribunal

A former British National Party worker has been awarded over £2,500 for wrongful dismissal by the right-wing party last year.

Marion Thomas worked in the party's east Belfast office for over a year.

BNP leader Nick Griffin was named as the respondent in the case as the employment panel unanimously decided to award the damages.

The ruling said that both the BNP and Mrs Thomas provided evidence that was "not credible" to the tribunal.

The 49-year-old Comber woman was dismissed by the party when the call centre she worked in closed in December 2010.

Mr Griffin and his daughter, Jennifer Matthys, who jointly managed the call centre, were criticised for not giving evidence to the tribunal.

The settlement Mrs Thomas received was made up of four weeks' pay, one week's notice pay, postage expenses incurred taking the case and £760 for the failure of Mr Griffin to provide a witness statement to the panel.

Mrs Thomas' claims for overtime, holiday pay and mobile phone expenses were dismissed.

The tribunal did hear evidence from five other members of the BNP during the three-day hearing.

The three-strong panel heard how the call centre, which was leased to the BNP by Belfast businessman Jim Dowson, closed at the end of 2010 when the party found itself in serious debt.

image captionBNP leader Nick Griffin was criticised for not giving evidence to the hearing.

In its decision the panel referred to some of the colourful testimony during the hearing.

"The tribunal heard allegations of blackmail, threats, cars being forced off the road, information being sought about political rivals, electoral malpractice, paramilitary involvement and that staple of Irish political life, the passing of money-filled envelopes in strange locations and in even stranger circumstances.

"However, this was, in truth, a banal and ordinary employment tribunal claim alleging unfair dismissal and non-payment of holiday pay, overtime, expenses and notice pay."

The tribunal concluded that Mrs Thomas was "automatically unfairly dismissed for non-compliance with the statutory dismissal procedure".

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