Former AA CEO Robert Mackenzie has accused the firm of wrongful dismissal after he was fired following a drunken assault on a colleague in the bar of a five-star hotel.
In a hearing at London’s Court of Appeal yesterday, Mackenzie said the brawl was a result of stress, caused by being overworked by the organisation for six months.
He is seeking damages worth up to £900,000 for a lost performance bonus and perks.
For its part, the AA says Mackenzie oversaw a ‘sustained decline’ in its share price and the board took the cheapest option available to it, following the altercation with a fellow executive in 2017 at a work event.
The firm gave him a Pilon (payment in lieu of notice) fee instead of his 12-month notice period, saying it was entitled to end his employment in the least burdensome way.
However, Mackenzie claims that he should have been given six months’ sick leave before returning to work.
James Laddie QC, counsel for the AA, was reported as telling court: ‘The board would have been pilloried as soon as it had emerged it had accepted the liability of keeping Mr Mackenzie…when it could have used the Pilon clause.’
He added: ‘The idea that the less burdensome option was to pay this employee nearly a million pounds is certainly unsustainable.
‘You could hardly imagine a more compelling case to exercise a Pilon.’
Gavin Mansfield QC, representing Mackenzie, told the court that his client’s ‘acute mental unhealth’ ought to be considered.
He added that Mackenzie’s resignation letter, written by the 69-year-old from his hospital bed, shouldn’t be considered as valid.
The action follows an attempt by Mackenzie in 2018 to sue the AA for wrongful dismissal, in which he asked for up to £200m from his former employer.
The AA later countersued over bonuses totalling £1.2m.
The case continues.
- Join our breaking news WhatsApp group
- Listen to the latest Car Dealer Podcast
- Read the latest issue of Car Dealer online now
- Join the Car Dealer community to get daily email news bulletins
The post Former AA boss seeking up to £900,000 as he accuses firm of wrongful dismissal over drunken brawl appeared first on Car Dealer Magazine.