...By Solomon Thomas for TDPel Media.
Engineer Doug Andersen, who was caught drinking beer during a Zoom call, has lost his case against his former employer, RHEON Labs, at an employment tribunal in London.
Andersen was given a final written warning for the Zoom incident, after which he was caught drinking alcohol while working remotely.
Six months later, he was suspended over poor performance and a poor attitude, and then sacked.
The panel found his “behavioural weaknesses” had been flagged and his warnings were “valid”.
His sacking was found to be fair, and he was ordered to pay £9,965 in costs to cover RHEON’s legal fees.
In his 20s, Andersen is a development engineer and was educated at the £13,700-a-year Merchant Taylors’ School in Crosby, Merseyside.
He began working at RHEON Labs in October 2017.
Andersen received a final written warning for the Zoom incident after he was challenged by RHEON’s chief operating officer for drinking beer during the call.
Andersen then failed to contribute to the meeting, laughed “cynically” during it, and eventually switched off his camera.
Six months later, Andersen was suspended over poor performance and a poor attitude and then sacked.
The university graduate, who studied mechanical engineering at Imperial College London, was given targets to “be more of a team player, not a superhero lone wolf”, to be “more professional, more organised”, and to “say thank you more and work on empathy”.
His targets also included “minimising sulks”, “respecting all colleagues”, not “battling” with colleagues, and “having a consistent upbeat demeanour in the office, not big emotional swings”.
Andersen asked RHEON founder Dan Plant: “How close I am to getting fired and what has sparked this happening now?”
Critics will argue that incidents like this can undermine the credibility of the party on financial matters.
Andersen’s case highlights the importance of professional conduct, particularly during online meetings.
It is essential to maintain a professional attitude and behave appropriately during business meetings, including those conducted remotely. Failure to do so could lead to disciplinary action or even termination of employment.
As employers embrace remote work, it is important to establish guidelines for online conduct to maintain a professional image and avoid unnecessary disruptions during meetings.