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Breaking: Sacked oboist wins appeal. Welsh Opera faces huge bill

Sandy Johnston, the oboist sacked by Welsh National Opera, has succeeded in the Employment Appeal Tribunal against an earlier ruling on his dismissal.  WNO were ordered to pay the costs relating to the Court of Appeal – more than £30,000 – after the Court ruled that a finding of unfairness was “inevitable”.

Sandy was also awarded the maximum permissible pay-off, just under £73,000.

It is estimated that the total cost of the case to WNO will exceed quarter of a million pounds. That’s money which could have been spent on new productions.

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  1. Mark Pemberton says:

    I’m pretty sure WNO have insurance to cover the legal costs.

    • Will the insurance pay, Mark, if the judge says the case should never have been fought? And if they do, how much extra will go on to WNO’s next insurance bill?

  2. Good for Sandy, he should never have been fired. He was good to me when I dept in a rehearsal and Rizzi tried to pick on me.

  3. Peter Sheeran says:

    Ok £30,000, £73,000: what is the other £150,000 being spent on?

    • The rest is almost certainly their own legal costs of the trial at the Employment Tribunal, the appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and, what looks like, another appeal to the Court of Appeal (though I think the author may have confused the EAT and the CoA).

    • Dean Wright says:

      Lunches and a decent claret for high powered barristers I suppose.

    • David Reid says:

      Yes, Norman, please tell us?

    • Dean Wright says:

      Probably on lunch and decent clarets for all the barristers.

  4. Philip Lawton says:

    I hope your comment: “That’s money which could have been spent on new productions” is meant as a sobering reminder to WNO to treat their musicians in such a way that they can’t successfully sue (and win the appeal) for (wrongful?) dismissal.

    I only say that because it currently reads like you’re chastising Mr Johnston for having sued.

  5. Graham Salter says:

    Sandy is a remarkable expressive, talented player, admired by all who have had the pleasure to work with him. 73K scarcely makes up for the stress caused, or the loss of reliable earnings over some years. Yet I’m not alone in being delighted he won: this case should never have occurred. We all wish him well, anyhow!

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