Sam Allardyce left his job as England manager this week after being caught telling undercover reporters how to bypass rules on player transfers. He was also filmed mocking his predecessor, Roy Hodgson, and making comments about Prince William, the FA president, and Prince Harry.
While, technically, Allardyce didn’t actually circumvent the rules and has called his actions “an error of judgement on my behalf” and a “silly thing to do”, the FA said the situation was “untenable” and they had no choice but to replace him.
We asked one of our employment law consultants what employers can do when an employee damages the reputation of their company.
“Employees making adverse comments about employers so publicly can be damaging to employer’s reputation. Employers can have clear policies regarding bringing the company into disrepute for example a social media policy, however they also need to be clear in cases such as this when comments made in person are clearly out of line with company policy.”
“Employers are able to fairly dismiss where an employee brings the company into disrepute however, this is not a free licence to dismiss all staff members who say anything unsavoury at any time. It’s important to establish that the reputation of the company is at risk. In this case Allardyce was the England manager and England is on the International Football Association Board, which is responsible for making the rules of the game. England invented association football and, as such, is often referred to as the ‘guardian of the game’. To have the most important footballing officer of the FA make comments about how to circumvent the rules is extremely damaging to their reputation.”
“Sam Allardyce had only been in the role for 67 days, therefore he doesn’t have the right to bring an unfair dismissal claim, but a severance package is likely to have been discussed. Employers should always seek advice before dismissing employees on the grounds of bringing the company into disrepute.”
Don’t let staff damage the reputation of your business, call us on 0161 785 2000 before it’s too late!