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EMPLOYERS NEED TO LEARN TO DEAL WITH EMOTIONS

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The Times (Creme de la Creme, p3) reports on the case of a secretary who won her case for unfair dismissal after sh...
The Times (Creme de la Creme, p3) reports on the case of a secretary who won her case for unfair dismissal after she was sacked, according to her managers, for weeping in the office over princess Diana's death.

Jeanne Cummins lost her job after managers said she joined grieving crowds at Kensington Palace, sent a fax to a radio station and wrote poems and letters to her memory.

But the industrial tribunal held that the real reason Ms Cummins was sacked was that she had complained about sexual harassment by a director of the company.

Another case is that of secretary Sandra Jenkins, who was awarded£2,769 compensation, including£1,500 for injury to her feelings, by a tribunal. She had been sacked while on sick leave after the loss of her baby.

Clearly, the message to employers is: be careful of your secretary's feelings. For unfair dismissal an industrial tribunal can award a maximum of£12,000 now, but that limit will soon be removed.

The question is; how far can emotions be reasonably expressed in the office? A weep in the corner during a coffee-break may be acceptable; a full-scale row on the phone to a partner may not, especially if the boss can hear.

Office Angels advises: 'If you are in a very emotional state it's probably best to take time off work to recover. If you do go into work, tell your boss that you may not be 100%. If you don't feel you can do that, confide in a friend or colleague. And try keeping a journal.'

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