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The Drum

Tribunal hears Sim claim for unfair dismissal, while Love claims conviction damaged its reputation

The Tribunal hearing between Alistair Sim, former managing director at Manchester creative agency Love and the agency itself, heard Sim claim that he had been unfairly dismissed by the company following his conviction for assault.

Love released a statement announcing that Sim, a co-founder of Love, had resigned from the agency last November after he was convicted of assault.

But the tribunal heard that Love started disciplinary action after Sim “revoked” his resignation.

Sim claimed he was unfairly dismissed because he had been given “assurances” by the agency that he could “let things blow over” and return to the business.

He told the tribunal that he had an “agreement” with Love’s partners that he could come back to Love “within [one of its sub-businesses] Toy or Make”.

Dave Palmer, Love’s creative director, said there was no agreement and Sim had resigned “unequivocally” when his conviction came to light.

Richard Hall, Love’s joint-managing director, told the tribunal that he phoned clients immediately to tell them about Sim’s resignation "before they heard it from their PR people".

Stephen Harvey, representing Sim, said that Love “had backed itself into a corner” by telling clients Sim had left the agency. He argued that Love had “overreacted” to press reports about the conviction.

But Hall denied that he would have been “too embarrassed” to call clients and tell them Sim was returning. He said Sim had to be dismissed because “he had brought the agency into disrepute”.

The tribunal heard that Sim “was the face of the agency”. Love said it worked with “family-orientated clients” such as Warburtons and the BBC which would not welcome “a connection to domestic violence”.

But Harvey said there was “no evidence” to suggest Love had lost any business because of Sim’s conviction. He said the agency had “tried to put out a fire and re-lit a bonfire”.

Love said it maintained its contracts because of its “damage limitation” actions.

The tribunal members reserved their decision yesterday. It is scheduled to be made on 9 October when the tribunal will be reconvened.