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Mone lingerie firm unfairly sacked bugged boss

Michelle Mone listened to the recordings from the device. Picture: Getty

Michelle Mone listened to the recordings from the device. Picture: Getty

  • by Ashlie McAnally
 

A FORMER director of Michelle Mone’s bra firm who left after discovering his office had been bugged has won his case for unfair dismissal.

Scott Kilday walked out of MJM International when he found a listening device hidden within artificial flowers.

The bug had been installed amid fears Mr Kilday was planning to quit to work with Ms Mone’s ex-husband Michael.

Mr Kilday – who had the role of operations director at MJM – took the firm to an employment tribunal. Following a hearing in Glasgow last September, judges yesterday found in favour of the 35-year-old.

In a written judgment, the tribunal found that MJM’s decision to plant the listening device was likely to “destroy or seriously damage” Mr Kilday’s trust in his bosses.

Mr Kilday was awarded £15,920 in compensation.

The tribunal was previously told how matters became “difficult” with the lingerie firm after Ms Mone split with her husband and business partner Michael in December 2011.

Mr Mone left MJM days after another firm bought into the business in February last year.

Mr Kilday, of Glasgow, said around that time Ms Mone asked him to resign as a director. He said he was “not particularly pleased” and “sought legal advice”. He set up talks with Eliaz Poleg, the chairman of the firm following the sale.

But just days before the meeting, Mr Kilday found a listening bug “by chance” in his office.

Asked by his lawyer John MacMillan what his reaction was, Mr Kilday told the tribunal he was “horrified” and left the company.

The hearing was told the device had been hidden for “business-strategic reasons” and had been authorised by Mr Poleg.

Mr Poleg gave evidence and said he made the move due to “extreme concerns” over Mr Kilday’s loyalty to the lingerie firm.

Mr Poleg told the tribunal: “Michelle listened to these machines. Michelle advised me two separate times she heard Scott speaking about leaving the company. She said she heard him speaking to Michael Mone. She heard him saying, ‘I’m going to leave the company shortly’.”

It emerged during the hearing that Mr Kilday now works for Mr Mone’s firm Pendulum Apparel.

MJM contested the unfair dismissal claim.

In written findings, employment judge Shona MacLean went on: “The fact that a recording device was placed in his office was, in the tribunal’s view, conduct likely to destroy or seriously damage the degree of trust and confidence an employee is entitled to have in his employer.”

After the tribunal victory, Mr Kilday said he could “walk away with his head held high” after he refused to be “bullied”.

Describing the ordeal as “stressful”, he added: “I’m delighted with the result and glad that I can now put it all behind me.”

Mr Kilday lost his claim that he had been denied thousands of pounds in shares.

A spokeswoman for Ultimo Brands International said: “We are delighted to have won the main aspect of this case relating to the shares of £25,000. With regards to the secondary case, we are in discussions with our lawyers and insurers to review our options to appeal.”

 

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