The Automobile Association - popularly known as breakdown cover and insurance firm AA – has sacked its Executive Chairman after a ‘Jeremy Clarkson style’ fracas with a colleague.
Bob Mackenzie was dismissed for gross misconduct on Tuesday with multiple reports that the now-ex-Chairman had lashed out at a male colleague at a hotel bar.
In March 2015, Jeremy Clarkson’s BBC contract was not renewed after physical and verbally assaulting a BBC producer.
A statement from the AA read: “Bob Mackenzie has been removed by the Board from his role as Executive Chairman, from his other roles and as a Director and as an employee of the company, for gross misconduct.”
After the incident, £200million was wiped from the company’s value. Since Mackenzie’s dismissal, Mackenzie’s son released a statement saying that his 64-year old father had been “acutely ill” and was in hospital with an “extremely distressing mental health issue”.
One Twitter user, @no1whisky, added that if “suggestions are true and Bob Mackenzie has been fired while suffering from mental health issues it doesn’t put the AA in a great light”.
Sarah Evans, who was not speaking about Mackenzie’s AA dismissal, told HR Grapevine: “Mental ill-health is, ever so slowly, creeping up the agenda and being talked about more openly, but time and time again, we see employers get it wrong.”
ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service which offers impartial advice to employers and employees, state that an act of gross misconduct is considered to be serious enough to overturn the contract between employer and employee – therefore justifying summary dismissal.
However, they state that: “failing to establish the facts before taking action and holding a meeting with the employee, and denying the employee the right to appeal is highly likely to be considered unfair at an employment tribunal”.