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Tanning salon sacking unfair; BLOXWICH Worker dismissed after customer burned.

Byline: By Pete Swingler

A WALSALL assistant was unfairly sacked after being accused of allowing a woman customer to be burned under a tanning machine at a Bloxwich salon, a Birmingham Employment Tribunal decided.

The woman was under the machine for nine minutes at the Top Tan Tanning Studio - at least three minutes longer than she should have been because of her pale skin, it was said.

Katie Yeomans, aged 21, of Station Place, Walsall, was accused by the management of allowing the woman to get burned and was told over the phone she was sacked for gross misconduct, the tribunal was told.

But Miss Yeomans denied she was responsible for the incident and complained she was dismissed without being given a chance to explain what happened. She also said she had not been given enough training.

Details of the incident were disclosed as the tribunal decided Miss Yeomans had been unfairly dismissed. She was awarded a total of pounds 1,969 compensation plus pounds 160 unpaid holiday pay.

The Top Tan firm, which is said to have four other salons in the West Midlands, had failed to attend a previous hearing at which Miss Yeomans was given approval to have her claim heard. The firm had asked for a review of the previous decision.

At the latest hearing Mrs Diane Martin, who runs the Top Tan firm, opposed Miss Yeomans' claim and said that customers were allowed to go under the tanning machine for a maximum of nine minutes only under certain circumstances. The normal tanning time was six minutes and only three minutes for beginners. She said a woman customer telephoned the salon to complain about getting burned under the machine, but she had not taken legal action against the salon and had accepted an apology.

The tribunal was told that the Top Tan salons had a good reputation and that Mrs Martin said her first priority was maintaining health and safety for her customers.

Tribunal chairman Mr Charles Saunby said, however, that Mrs Martin had not conducted a thorough investigation into the incident and had not given Miss Yeomans a chance to give an explanation
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 20, 2005
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