Statement from the RSA following the Employment Tribunal decision of 12 October - RSA

Statement from the RSA following the Employment Tribunal decision of 12 October

Industrial relations

IWGB have encouraged and supported the pursuit of an Employment Tribunal claim against the RSA. This has come at a considerable cost to our charity, including in legal fees. It has been part of an ongoing campaign by the IWGB union to spread defamatory, malicious and misleading information about the RSA and its senior management team and to create publicity for itself. This has been despite our ongoing formal requests to desist.

IWGB's actions have been to the detriment of our charity and the wellbeing of our staff and our rights to take legal action in respect of statements issued and claims made have been reserved.

We respect, but are extremely disappointed, by the Tribunal’s judgment given the facts of this case. We reserve our right to appeal it.

The key facts of the case were as follows:

In October 2022, Ruth Hannan, having resigned as the RSA's Head of Policy and Participation and whilst working her notice, went on record to the national press. She voiced unauthorised and misleading statements about the RSA which in our view were clearly intended to damage our charity's good name and established reputation.

We were surprised and shocked to read Ms Hannan’s statements in the Guardian in early October.

Our main concerns are and always have been to protect the reputation of our charity and the wellbeing of our people - and in particular our more junior staff. For those reasons, given the seniority of Ruth’s position, we decided not to require her to work out the remaining 3 days of her notice period and (as the Tribunal has confirmed) we paid her in full for all of that period. Ms Hannan remained on our payroll to the date on which her resignation notice expired; she received all of the salary, benefits and holiday pay she was entitled to receive; she started a new job shortly after; and she suffered no financial loss.

Despite the fact that Ms Hannan had resigned, had not suffered any financial loss, and had committed clear breaches of her duties as a senior member of staff by publishing unauthorised, misleading and potentially damaging statements about the RSA in the national press, IWGB actively encouraged her to pursue a highly time consuming and contentious Employment Tribunal claim.

Most people would, we think, find it very surprising that in such circumstances any kind of legal claim could even get off the ground, let alone succeed. We are obviously very disappointed at the Tribunal’s finding in this regard. We are also convinced that the outcome is unjust, and that we have at all times acted in good faith and in the best interests of the RSA and its staff.

Because of this claim, the RSA has been forced to devote valuable management resources and spend vital charitable funds on legal costs instead of making investments in our social impact work and our staff, at a time of considerable financial pressures on our charity.

After leaving the RSA's employment, Ms Hannan has continued to participate in the IWGB’s public campaign to damage the interests and reputation of the RSA, and has regrettably made further misleading statements in the national press. Our rights to take legal action in respect of these statements have been reserved. At the risk of stating the obvious, the role played in all of this by the IWGB has not been conducive to good industrial relations; nor is it in the best interests of our charity or the wellbeing of our people.

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