A MAN has told how he was left homeless and drowning in £20k of debt after being unfairly fired from his job at a Glasgow restaurant.

Gerry McEvoy was left on the breadline after having his employment terminated while absent from his job as a night shift cleaner at German Doner Kebab after claiming to have suffered a bout of work-related stress.

Gerry, from Cowcaddens, was employed at the franchise in Renfield Street for just over four years before he was dismissed without a right to appeal by a manager, he had rowed with over withheld holiday cash that he was legally due.

The restaurant boss fired Gerry after claiming he had shouted and acted in a threatening and intimidating manner – allegations that were later thrown out by an employment tribunal.

The 47-year-old – who lost his job in June - was informed by letter last Monday that a judge had ruled in his favour and awarded him a total of £13,444 for breach of contract, unpaid holidays and unfair dismissal.

Glasgow Times: Gerry McEvoyGerry McEvoy (Image: Gordon Terris, Newsquest)

He exclusively told the Glasgow Times: “It has been a nightmare but now I’ve been vindicated.

“I was determined that I was always going to fight for what was right. It was never about the money for me, it was about clearing my name and proving that I had done nothing wrong.

“German Doner Kebab in Renfield Street was a good place to work with a great team, but the way I was forced out was appalling. I was driven from the job for asking for money I was legally entitled to. I went from having a solid full-time career earning good money to living in a homeless shelter.”

During the legal battle, Gerry appeared at the tribunal to give evidence, with nobody appearing on behalf of his former employer, a factor which the ruling judge later said had influenced the final decision.

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The hearing was told that on June 2 this year, the cleaner became embroiled in a disagreement with the manager of the branch in respect of holiday pay for a six-day break he had taken in May, which was recorded on a whiteboard in the premises.

Gerry admits that he shouted in frustration at his boss when he was told he wouldn’t be given the full amount and told him that he wouldn’t return to work after being handed just £255 in cash – almost £500 less than he was legally entitled to.

The tribunal was told that days later Gerry was sent a letter headed ‘confirming suspension and continuing investigation’ that outlined how the firm was probing allegations of threatening behaviour – as well as claim by the manager he had exchanged words with that Gerry had ‘exerted bullying behaviour’.

Glasgow Times: German Doner Kebab in Renfield StGerman Doner Kebab in Renfield St (Image: Gordon Terris)

The hearing was also told how other employees were quizzed for their version of events with none saying they believed the former cleaner had acted in a threatening or bullying way. Gerry then sent a self-cert note to his workplace saying he would be unable to attend a scheduled hearing into the allegations due to workplace stress caused by the ordeal.

The former worker received a further letter saying that if he failed to attend the meeting in June, a decision would be taken in his absence.

He said: “I wasn’t fit to go along. If I was, I would have went because I knew I wasn’t in the wrong. Sure enough a few days later a letter arrived that said I had failed to explain my behaviour in the workplace so was dismissed for gross misconduct.”

The letter further said that he would receive no notice or pay in lieu of notice – leaving him penniless.

Glasgow Times: Gerry McEvoyGerry McEvoy (Image: Gordon Terris, Newsquest)

Gerry added: “Suddenly I was out of work, but I still had all my bills to meet. It has been the hardest time imaginable. I was forced to turn to credit cards and the debt I was accruing quickly ran out of control. Eventually I just couldn’t borrow any more money and I ended up unable to keep a roof over my head or feed myself. Before I knew it, I was in a homeless shelter, it was terrifying how quickly my life just went to ruin.”

The judge’s ruling, which has been viewed by the Glasgow Times, describes the sacked worker as a ‘completely credible witness’. It also noted the firm’s failure to communicate or represent at any stage of the hearing, as well as the lack of corroboration for any claims the 47-year-old had ‘bullied or threatened’ his boss.

Gerry has since managed to secure a part-time job as a cleaner and is now rebuilding his life.

He said: “It is something and I’m grateful to be earning again, but I’ve no idea how I’ll get my finances back on an even keel. Even with this money I’ve been awarded, most of it will just disappear on paying back some of the debt I had to accrue. I’m £20k in the red through no fault of my own and I’m worried of course, given the way the business has failed to engage, that I will never see a penny of it.

“If it comes to it, I will instruct sheriff officers to go in and get what I’m entitled to.”

A spokesperson for German Doner Kebab said the firm was in dialogue with the owner of the Glasgow branch over the matter.

They added: "GDK is the UK's fastest growing restaurant chain and we work closely with all of our franchise partners to create a positive and inclusive work environment for every member of the GDK family. 

“We value our people, who are at the heart of the GDK experience, and we expect all of our franchisees to legally comply with UK employment legislation. 

"We continue to engage with our Glasgow franchise partner to discuss this matter, but we cannot comment further at this stage." 

The spokesperson added: “Glasgow is our home, and our two restaurants on Renfield Street and Byres Road continue to be great successes which create valuable jobs for the city.”