Brighton FC dismisses Gus Poyet – a PR own goal?
Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club will have woken up to headlines after their manager, Gus Poyet, was informed that his employment contract had been terminated. What makes this story unusual, however, is that Mr Poyet claims that he first found out about his dismissal from BBC Sport staff, while he was working as a studio pundit during live coverage of the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Mr Poyet had been Brighton manager since 2009, and had three years left to run on his fixed-term contract. At the end of last season, he was suspended whilst his employer investigated an alleged breach of contract.
Brighton released a statement on their official website at 7.14pm, which stated that Mr Poyet had been informed by the club’s internal disciplinary panel that his employment had been terminated with immediate effect. Mr Poyet, however, claims he was not officially informed by his employer of the outcome of the disciplinary action until he received an e-mail at 9.03pm. By that time, he had already been passed a copy of the online statement by BBC Three production staff while he was live on air.
From an employment law and HR perspective, this incident highlights the importance of good communication. The ACAS Guide to Discipline and Grievances at Work states that: ‘The employee should be informed as soon as possible of the reasons for the dismissal, the date on which the employment contract will end, the appropriate period of notice and their right of appeal’. Employers should therefore make sure that they notify an employee who is being dismissed first, before making a general announcement about the dismissal.