Leading Theatre Industry Figure Terri Paddock Wins Unfair Dismissal Claim

Renowned arts journalist, Terri Paddock, represented by Susan Thompson, Partner, and Samantha Prosser, Solicitor, of Magrath LLP, has won her unfair dismissal claim against WhatsOnStage.com and its American owners, TheaterMania.Inc.

Ms Paddock co-founded WhatsOnStage and was employed by the company for more than 16 years prior to her dismissal for gross misconduct in December 2013.

Following a six-day hearing in September 2014, the London Central Employment Tribunal held there had been no reasonable grounds to dismiss Ms Paddock, nor had any fair procedure been followed in dismissing her. The Tribunal stated in their ruling that ‘in all the circumstances we do not agree that the Claimant’s conduct was culpable or blameworthy’ and that ‘no reasonable Board could form the opinion that the Claimant had….brought the Respondent into disrepute or discredit or prejudice the interests of the Respondent.’

Whilst the Tribunal expressed ‘a great deal of sympathy with many of the complaints made by the Claimant of Ms Shugart’s [CEO of TheaterMania.Inc] management of her’ and whose conduct had ‘the purpose or effect of creating an adverse environment for the Claimant,’ this was not related to Ms Paddock’s gender and therefore her direct sex discrimination claim was dismissed. Ms Paddock’s claim for perceived disability discrimination was also dismissed.

In light of the regard to which Ms Paddock is considered within the theatre industry, various theatre-related websites have been following the case with great interest. Links to some of the latest articles announcing Ms Paddock’s Tribunal success can be found here:

https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2015/terri-paddock-wins-unfair-dismissal-tribunal-whatsonstage-owner/

http://www.westendwilma.com/whatsonstage-founder-wins-unfair-dismissal-claim-against-the-companys-new-american-owners/

Ms Paddock was also represented by Declan O’Dempsey, Counsel, at Cloisters Chambers.