Michelin-starred chef Alyn Williams has won his unfair dismissal case against his former employer, The Westbury hotel in Mayfair.
After the case was heard in court last week, the judge ruled in the chef's favour, following the dismissal from his position as chef patron of Alyn Williams at The Westbury in October 2019, after eight years of service.
At the time of his dismissal, Williams released a statement stating that The Westbury hotel terminated his contract on the grounds of “gross misconduct”, following an incident in which Williams used the restaurant to privately entertain a group of friends. He also claimed that his position was terminated “without any notice period or payment for his notice period.”
Williams had used the restaurant to entertain friends on a Sunday lunchtime, when the restaurant was closed. Due to the presence of children playing in the restaurant, the hotel believed that these actions constituted gross misconduct, leading to his dismissal.
However, further details around the reasons behind the dismissal have now come to light during the court case. CCTV footage of the private party hosted by Williams shows two young boys playing football in the restaurant on an improvised pitch and goal set up by the chef. Footage also shows children wrestling, doing headstands on the hotel furniture, and drinking tabasco sauce straight from the bottle.
After Williams initially appealed the decision, pointing out that all food and drink at the meal was provided by him personally and that no damage or loss was suffered by the hotel, the chef decided to take legal action.
Last week's Central London hearing saw the judge describe the hotel's disciplinary procedure as a 'sideshow', having allowed Williams to host similar private parties in the past without taking issue. Despite describing the chef's conduct as 'objectionable', Judge Pavel Klimov concluded by saying: "I find (they) did not have reasonable grounds to believe (he) was guilty of the misconduct. It was known.. that (he) had been using the restaurant for private events and those events involved children playing in the restaurant."
The tribunal will decide what compensation the father-of-two is due at a later date.
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