Employment tribunal accepts claim by two executives that they were bullied into resigning.
Former directors of collapsed regional contractor Bickerton Construction have won an unfair dismissal case after an employment tribunal accepted that they were bullied into leaving.

Bickerton managing director Ray McCauley was awarded £30,000 and construction director Alan Vaux £13,000 at the tribunal in Watford, Hertfordshire.

Bickerton, which was wound up last month, is also facing a Serious Fraud Office probe linked to an investigation into failed M&E group Mea Corporation.

The tribunal chairman said in a statement that inappropriate pressure had been exerted by John Aviss, the owner of Bickerton, and this had led McCauley and Vaux to resign. The statement said a development plan was put forward by Bill Berry, a disqualified director, on behalf of Aviss with the objective of removing them.

The statement said that on 23 October last year Aviss ordered McCauley and Vaux to resign as directors. The chairman's statement said: "This [request to resign] was put to them in forceful terms and amounted to threats and it was clear they were being bullied."

The applicants behaved appropriately and with courage

Chairman of employment tribunal

These threats were repeated in telephone conversations later in the day, at which point McCauley and Vaux decided it was time to make a stand.

The statement added that McCauley was astonished to find that his job had been advertised in Building without his knowledge. It said he was subsequently able to prove it had been prepared and paid for by John Aviss.

Evidence was produced to show that two disqualified directors were acting as advisers and interfering with the business run by McCauley and Vaux. The statement said: "Action was taken by Mr Aviss, and others, which appeared high-handed and potentially irregular."

The tribunal chairman said: "I conclude that the applicants behaved appropriately and with considerable courage and were left with no alternative but to resign as they did."