A BAKERY firm has been ordered to hand over £650 to an employee who failed to turn up for work for months because he was in prison.

Joseph Carter won an employment tribunal against Aulds Bakers for unfair dismissal after being jailed for dangerous driving and breach of the peace.

The judge in the case initially awarded him nothing because he had contributed to his own sacking, but an appeal judge ruled against that decision and the bakery has now been ordered to pay out.

Employment Judge Ian McPherson found that while Mr Carter was to blame for his dismissal, “procedural flaws” in the way Aulds handled his dismissal meant it was unfair.

The judge said that, ordinarily, the former packer would have received almost £14,000, but he reduced this to just £651.02 because Mr Carter was to blame.

A legal source close to the case said: “He was lucky to get any award at all, although I know he was hoping for more.

“He should have asked for time off, but didn’t, and that was his downfall.”

Mr Carter, of Greenock, started work with Aulds in March 2005 and had a clean disciplinary record up until his dismissal in November 2013.

His last shift with the bakery was on September 8, 2013, because he was jailed for six months the following day at Greenock Sheriff Court.

He denied the charges against him but was found guilty of breaking the speed limit and changing lanes on the M8 when it was unsafe to do so.

He also behaved in an abusive manner by shouting, swearing and challenging members of the public to fight in Greenock Road in Port Glasgow.

After he was sentenced, his partner Vicky Shaw contacted Aulds to make them aware of what had happened, but Mr Carter did not get in touch with anyone from the firm until his release from prison two months later.

On November 13, he received a letter from Aulds managing director Alan Marr terminating his employment because he had “frustrated” his contract.

The tribunal found that Mr Marr had not acted correctly in issuing that letter.

In a judgment on the case published in 2014, Mr McPherson said: “But for procedural flaws in the original dismissal of Mr Carter by Mr Marr, Aulds’s managing director, it may well have been that had Aulds complied with both their own disciplinary procedures and the ACAS code of practice, Mr Carter may well still have been dismissed after them following a fair procedure.

“The fact is, at that early stage, Mr Marr followed no procedure whatsoever, and the claimant’s employment was regarded by the respondents as terminated on the basis of frustration.”

The judge also said there were “further defects” in the appeal process, which upheld the decision to dismiss the worker.

Mr McPherson awarded Mr Carter nothing in that judgment, but the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that he should reconsider.

In a further judgment issued earlier this year, he amended his decision and awarded him the nominal amount for a “basic award”, but still found he should be given nothing by way of a “compensatory award”.

He said: “Despite the claimant’s blameworthy and culpable conduct, which caused or contributed to his dismissal, the claimant has been unfairly dismissed by his former employers.”

He amended his “basic award” amount from a 100 per cent "wholly to blame" reduction to a 75 per cent "largely to blame" reduction.

However, it is understood that once Mr Carter pays his costs for bringing the tribunal, he will be left with nothing.

Aulds declined to comment.