A LEISURE centre in Gwynedd which left one its former employees feeling “undervalued and worthless” is to pay her more than £10,000 after she won a claim of constructive unfair dismissal.

Bethan Thomas will receive a total of £10,683.75 from Harlech and Ardudwy Leisure after a two-day employment tribunal hearing ruled in her favour on October 31.

She had worked at the premises since June 1983, initially under Gwynedd Council, and then Harlech and Ardudwy Leisure when the social enterprise took charge in December 2010.


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Employment judge Stephen Jenkins, presiding over the hearing, found that Harlech “did not advance any potentially fair reason for any constructive dismissal, if there was found to have been one”.

Ms Thomas had worked at the centre as a swimming teacher, a water aerobics instructor, and a lifeguard, but had been based predominantly within its café since 2020.

In the summer of 2022, a new centre manager, Donna Morris-Collins, was appointed, and held the role of Ms Thomas’ line manager, with both enjoying a “good relationship” with each other initially.

That changed early this year after Mrs Morris-Collins undertook a “deep clean” of the café, despite Ms Thomas having arranged to do this herself.

A written review, produced by Mrs Morris-Collins on January 3, proposed revised opening hours for the café.

Ms Thomas only became aware of this review when she returned to work, following the usual Christmas and new year break, on January 4.

She said she was not happy with “split shifts” being put forward, where the café would close and then re-open later that day, as well as a proposed café closing time on Saturdays of 10pm.

Mrs Morris-Collins told her that, were Ms Thomas not to work “split shifts”, her working hours would fall short of the 37 she was contracted to work weekly.

When sent the rota for the next fortnight, Ms Thomas found that she was due to work 35.75 hours in the first week and 38.75 in the second.

Ms Thomas then sent an e-mail on January 6 saying she was “extremely unhappy” about the change to her working hours, and about Mrs Morris-Collins’ review document.

She said that “split shifts”, two hours apart, meant an extra 20-mile trip for her to go home, and that Mrs Morris-Collins was aware that she could not financially manage on part-time hours.

Adding that she had been a “loyal and hard-working member of staff” at the centre for 39-and-a-half years, Ms Thomas said this had made her feel “undervalued and worthless”.

Though Ms Thomas worked the following fortnight, Mrs Morris-Collins was said to have made no attempt to discuss Ms Thomas’ email with her.

Heidi Williams, a director, said that Ms Thomas had been “very upset and crying” during an informal discussion with her, and that she felt the company was “trying to get rid of her”.

This was echoed by Ms Thomas in another email to Mrs Morris-Collins the day after her informal discussion with Ms Williams.

Ms Thomas then took leave on January 20 due to “stress at work”.

She emailed Mrs Morris-Collins again on February 2, copying in some of the company’s directors, saying she was yet to receive any acknowledgement of the issues she had raised.

As a consequence, she said she felt “totally worthless”, and had discussed with her GP how the matters were affecting her mental health.

Mrs Morris-Collins replied on February 8, telling her the issues raised were being looked into, that she was a “valued member” of the team, and that her health was “very important” to the company.

No further communication was made by Ms Thomas until February 21, when she submitted her resignation.

Despite efforts to arrange a “grievance meeting” with Ms Thomas, the company was told by her on March 2 that her resignation still stood amid a “complete breakdown of trust”.

Mr Jenkins noted in his findings: “Whilst no change was implemented to the claimant’s salary in January or February, it was clear to me that the future intention of the respondent was that, if the claimant worked fewer than 37.5 hours, she would be paid a lower salary.

“I was therefore satisfied that there had been an actual, or at least an anticipatory breach of contract, due to the changes to the claimant’s hours and the requirement that she work ‘split shifts’.

“Whilst I noted that the respondent's board is made up of volunteers who have their own other responsibilities, I did not think that the respondent collectively had adequately dealt with the claimant's grievance.

“For a period of seven weeks, the claimant was effectively left in limbo.”