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BP Chargemaster unfairly dismissed EV pioneer, tribunal finds

Calvey Taylor-Haw

Electric vehicle charge point pioneer Calvey Taylor-Haw was unfairly dismissed by BP Chargemaster, Watford Employment Tribunal has ruled.

Taylor-Haw founded electric vehicle charging company Elektromotive in 2003 and introduced the first commercial car charging points in London two years later.

He sold this business to Chargemaster in 2017, where he worked as director of partnerships, and claimed he was given share options as part of this transaction but later found these had been taken away when BP acquired Chargemaster for £130 million in 2018.

The tribunal also ruled Taylor-Haw had been promised he would be able to keep the share options which are now valued at £1m.

In his ruling, employment judge Jack said that solicitors acting for BP Chargemaster had made “grevious failures to disclose documents”.

The company had asserted that the inventor was dismissed from his role as director of partnerships partly because he had failed to meet sales targets, offering what the judge called “rather precise” revenue figures as evidence.

But BP Chargemaster did not present financial documents substantiating these figures to the tribunal.

The judge called this “astonishing”, but BP Chargemaster solicitor Joseph Bryan told the judge that a “reasonable search” for the financial documents had been carried out, noting that in-house BP lawyers had instructed relevant parties not to destroy documents.

Taylor-Haw told the tribunal that the purported sales targets were not formally communicated to him – something that BP Chargemaster denies – and “if they were put to me formally, I might have told them they were not achieveable”.

That his role was at risk of redundancy was first mentioned to him in August 2017, five months after he had moved into the director of partnerships role.

Employment judge Jack ruled that Taylor-Haw, in that role, was performing work similar to that of other salespeople within the company, and that this type of work had not diminished at the firm.

The judge said: “Accordingly, in my judgement, there was no redundancy situation.”

He noted that the company sought to recruit another business development manager in November 2017, weeks after Taylor-Haw was formally told he was being made redundant.

He therefore ruled that Taylor-Haw had been unfairly dismissed from the company, and adjourned the case until October 29, when remedies for Taylor-Haw will be decided.

Taylor-Haw claims he is owed £1m, based on the current value of the share options.

After the hearing, Taylor-Haw said his next step is to pursue a claim in the High Court for the share options.

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