Manager of men’s fashion shop who was accused of offering colleagues cannabis which was dropped by a customer wins wrongful dismissal case

  • Alison Fisher was the manager of Cruise Clothing Shop, Derby, for seven years 
  • She was sacked after junior colleagues accused her of offering them cannabis 

A manager of a menswear fashion shop has successfully sued bosses who sacked her after she was accused of offering cannabis to younger colleagues. 

Alison Fisher, who had worked for Cruise Clothing Shop, Derby, for seven years, was sacked after her colleagues accused her of offering them cannabis in 2021. 

But Mrs Fisher has now won a claim against the store for wrongful dismissal after the store’s management sacked her without proper evidence of ‘gross misconduct’ and within less than her contractual notice period.

Mrs Fisher asked colleagues at the ‘understaffed’ store to throw the bag of cannabis away, who thought she was offering it to them, an employment tribunal heard.

Alison Fisher, who had worked for Cruise Clothing Shop, Derby (pictured), for seven years, was sacked after her colleagues accused her of offering them cannabis in 2021

Mrs Fisher – who had over 30 years of retail experience – was working with one other colleague, Sydney Elliott, who found what she thought to be cannabis on the shop floor in September 2021.  

Mrs Fisher said she thought the bag contained clothing buttons but was told by Miss Elliott that it was cannabis.

It was then Mrs Fisher asked her colleague if she knew ‘anyone that does this’ because she wanted to confirm how Miss Elliott knew how it was cannabis. 

But the colleague assumed Mrs Fisher was offering her the cannabis to take home, the tribunal heard.

The bag of cannabis was left next to one of the shop’s tills at the front of the store until the following day, when Mrs Fisher asked a different colleague Jennifer Camm, to throw it away in a bin opposite the shop.

Miss Camm also thought her manager was offering her the drugs and said Mrs Fisher asker ‘me if I or any of my friends wanted it’ before telling her to throw it in the bin.

Mrs Fisher’s manager was made aware of the problem and scheduled a disciplinary meeting where she was sacked.

But her employment tribunal, heard in Nottingham in December last year, found the allegation made against her was ‘inherently improbable’ and she had been wrongfully dismissed.

Judge Liam Varnam said: ‘Cruise Clothing Limited alleges that Mrs Fisher, after an unblemished seven-year career with them, and a thirty-year career in retail, did something as bizarre and irresponsible as offering cannabis to junior members of staff.

‘Of course, people sometimes do bizarre and irresponsible things, but on the face of it the allegation against her was inherently improbable.

‘My view is that while Mrs Fisher’s actions amounted to misconduct, they were not gross misconduct. She was prioritising other matters over disposing of the cannabis.’

A further hearing will decide how much compensation she is awarded.

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