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Flynn & Rothwell founder claims for unfair dismissal

FLYNN & ROTHWELL founder Brian Flynn is taking the consultancy he established in 1982 to an industrial tribunal for unfair dismissal.

News of the action comes less than a week after the London launch of De Leuw Rothwell, a new company formed from Flynn & Rothwell and De Leuw Chadwick (NCE 26 November)

Flynn claims he was unfairly dismissed from the company after a series of boardroom manoeuvres that, he says, continually reduced his powers. He was finally fired on 26 May this year, 16 years after creating the firm. De Leuw Rothwell currently employs 152 staff.

Although he was a partner of Flynn & Rothwell from 1982 until the partnership was dissolved in March 1997, Flynn claims he became an employee in October 1993, and so had employment rights. This came about, he says, when he became a director of De Leuw Chadwick Ltd after the partnership acquired the transport specialist. De Leuw Chadwick later became Flynn & Rothwell Ltd in December 1995.

Flynn claims his position at Flynn & Rothwell became difficult in November 1997 when he was removed as chairman by his three co-directors. He says his powers were then further reduced when he was given responsibility for training and marketing after a reorganisation.

But in response, Flynn & Rothwell argues that Flynn did not become an employee until after the Flynn & Rothwell partnership was dissolved in March 1997. It says he cannot claim unfair dismissal as he was not in continuous employment with the company for two years - the qualifying time to bring an unfair dismissal action.

The company argues that redefined roles given to Flynn in 1997 were important and that he simply would not accept them. It also argues that Flynn was removed as chairman because he would not accept that the growing organisation could no longer be run single-handedly. 'There are different issues with running a limited liability company to running a partnership,' said De Leuw Rothwell managing director Peter Treadgold.

Though he is now a director with rival consultant Robert West, Flynn remains the largest shareholder in De Leuw Rothwell with a 43% stake. He also retains pre-emptive rights which give him first refusal on the sale of any De Leuw Rothwell shares. 'We have offered to discuss the possibility of buying his shares but we have yet to hear from him,' said Treadgold.

The tribunal is set to be heard at the Office of Industrial Tribunals in Stratford on 16 December.

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