Boss tells Employment Tribunal that she had a right to keep salary details secret

The chief executive of Hafan Cymru, a Camarthen-based charity, has told the Employment Tribunal that she had a right to keep details of a pay rise secret from the rest of her staff.

Ms Cathy Davies, chief executive of Hafan Cymru, was attending the Cardiff Employment Tribunal last week as a witness in a claim for unfair dismissal made against the charity by a former employee, Ms Andrea Finney. Ms Finney was sacked last year from the business last year for gross misconduct after she disclosed details of a pay rise that Ms Davies had been awarded to other staff members at a union meeting.

The problems started for Ms Finney and Hafan Cymru after staff at the charity were asked to take a 3% pay cut and an increase in the hours that they would work after being told that the organisation faced cuts of up to 25% in its budget over a four-year period. However, Ms Finney discovered through her position as finance officer that although the rest of the staff  were being told that they would receive a 3% pay cut, Ms Davies was being given a pay increase of approximately 20%, with two other managers also being awarded increases in their salary. Ms Finney disclosed this to other workers at a union meeting in June 2012. As a result of this disclosure, Ms Finney was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct. She subsequently instructed employment law solicitors to conduct her claim and submitted a claim for unfair dismissal to the Employment Tribunal in 2012.

The Employment Tribunal heard evidence from both parties last week on the matter. Ms Davies, under cross-examination, told the Tribunal that she had asked the Hafan Cymru board in 2011 to instruct an independent consultant to undertake a review of salaries at the organisation and compare these with the salaries of staff at other housing associations. The report found that pay at Hafan Cymru was significantly lower than that at the other housing associations and the board therefore agreed to implement 70% of the payrises from April 2011 with the rest payable in April 2012. Ms Davies said that she had been “shocked” by the disclosure of her salary in a public meeting, although she had agreed to share details of her pay with staff in 2010. She said, however, that if she had been asked to disclosure her pay in 2011 she would have said no. She also told the Tribunal that she felt the disclosure of her salary was a “clear breach of personal confidentiality and also a breach of any trust and confidentiality I may have once had in the claimant”. Ms Williams, giving evidence from Hafan Cymru, told the Tribunal that the board had not intended to announce details of the rises.

The Employment Tribunal has apparently reserved judgment in the matter, with judgment to be given at a later date.

Redmans are compromise agreement solicitors based in Richmond, London.

Redmans Solicitors

Redmans Solicitors

Commercial law, employment law and litigation firm based in Richmond, London
Redmans Solicitors
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