Former East Northants Council HR boss to claim unfair dismissal at employment tribunal

She was the most senior human resources staff member at the authority at the time

Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 8:43 am
The former East Northamptonshire HQ in Thrapston
The former East Northamptonshire HQ in Thrapston

The former human resources manager at East Northamptonshire Council is taking her former employers to a tribunal for unfair dismissal.

Aime Armstrong, who was the authority’s HR boss for nearly nine years until June 2019, will appear at a preliminary hearing later this week which is set to last three days.

The forthcoming action was revealed by this newspaper last month, but now details have been released in court papers for the first time.

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A full hearing in September is due to go on for 19 days – an unusually long period for an employment tribunal.

Ms Armstrong, who has two decades of experience in HR, is making claims under several categories; Disability discrimination; That she suffered a detriment due to exercising rights under the Public Interest Disclosure Act; Sex discrimination; and Unfair dismissal.

North Northamptonshire Council is defending the claim in place of East Northamptonshire Council, which is one of the five local authorities it subsumed when it took over as unitary authority last April.

At the time of Ms Armstrong’s dismissal, the leader of ENDC was Cllr Steven North, who has since taken a ‘step back from top level politics’ and has not attended any of the past four full council meetings. Chief executive was David Oliver who has since retired.

In an internal memo to councillors last month, NNC said it hoped that the scope of the claims could be narrowed at the preliminary hearing which will begin on Wednesday (April 6) before an employment tribunal judge sitting in Cambridge.

NNC has faced a string of legacy legal issues from the former East Northamptonshire Council. Publican Geoff Monks sued the authority for the treatment he received at the hands of council over two decades. He settled in January this year with a payout of £4m.

Then the Northants Telegraph revealed in February that police had been called in after a direct debit was set up from the authority’s coffers costing £100 per week, for 130 weeks.

It is not believed that members of the shadow authority, which helped set up the new unitary authority, had been told of these legal issues in advance of the unitary council taking over.