A MANAGER who quit his job at a car dealership after 50 years' service when bosses refused him full sick pay has won more than £70,000 at an employment tribunal.

Donald McKenzie, a former service manager with Pentland Motor Company in Aberdeen, successfully claimed for constructive dismissal after the firm breached his contract which stated he was entitled to full pay for all sickness absence.

When the 64-year-old was signed off sick with stress in August last year, he was told he would only receive two months’ full pay before receiving statutory sick pay for any further absence.

He then resigned claiming the firm had breached his contract took his case to the tribunal.

Employment Judge James Hendry awarded him a total of £73,482 for unfair dismissal and a further £1,855 for unpaid sick pay.

In a written judgment on the case, Judge Hendry said he had “no hesitation” in accepting that Mr McKenzie’s contract entitled him to full pay, adding: “There was nothing whatsoever to cast any doubt on the clear terms.”

The judge said: “A clear written term was overridden without a clear reason for doing so and following virtually no investigation of the matter.

“It is my conclusion that the claimant was entitled to resign from his employment because of the respondent’s actions in stating that they would not be honouring the terms of his written terms and conditions of employment.”

The tribunal heard that Mr McKenzie worked with firm for 48 years and first began working with Pentland’s predecessor company Frank Ogg & Son in 1867.

In 1992 he was transferred to a garage in Elgin that was being run by Mr Ogg’s son Frankie.

Much of the day to day running of the Land Rover dealership was carried out by Mr McKenzie, it was claimed.

In 2015, he began to suffer stress after the dealership ran into difficulties and there were rumours that the business would be sold. These were confirmed in August 2015 - the month Pentland bought over the firm.

Mr McKenzie was signed off work by his GP and handed in his sick line on August 3.

The judgment states: “The claimant was initially paid his full salary when he left work through illness.

“The clause in his terms and conditions dealing with sick pay was an unusual one. The majority of other employees who had worked for Frank Ogg Ltd were only paid full pay for the first two weeks.

“Payment of full salary to the claimant caused the Pentland’s management concern.”

Despite the written contract on Mr McKenzie’s entitlement, Pentland’s HR team spoke to the previous owner, Mr Ogg, who claimed that he was only entitled to two weeks’ full pay then statutory sick pay.

Bosses then took the decision not the pay him his full salary.

They wrote to Mr McKenzie to say he would be paid for two months as a “gesture of goodwill” but he would only receive statutory sick pay after that.

The service manager instructed a solicitor in a bid to argue against the decision but was again refused full pay.

He then resigned from the firm, citing the breach of contract as his reason.

The tribunal heard that he had no income following his dismissal and has limited prospects of finding alternative employment given his age.