The head of Westminster Council’s former PR agency has been labelled as
‘dictatorial’ by an industrial tribunal.
Sheila Spaul, managing director of SAS PR which held Westminster’s press
office account from September 1994 to August 1995, was lambasted in a
tribunal report after former employees, Neal Zetter and Paul McIntyre,
won claims for unfair dismissal.
Spaul was found by the Croydon tribunal to be ‘dictatorial and
exaggerated in her reactions to people and events’. Its report goes on:
‘As she gave evidence of her view of things, she was oblivious of her
surroundings and the inference which the tribunal drew from her
behaviour was that this was not an employer who could be reasoned with.’
The tribunal found the December 1994 dismissals of Zetter and McIntyre,
both of whom had been working on the Westminster account, had been
‘procedurally and substantively unfair’.
Spaul had said the two men had been fired due to a lack of capability in
preparing a PR strategy document, and because they had failed to obey a
‘reasonable and lawful instruction’ to produce the strategy.
However the tribunal judged the two were more than capable of preparing
the strategy document and that, rather than refusing the instruction,
they had merely asked to hold while certain problems were discussed.
Spaul was ordered to pay Zetter, who now works in Westminster Council’s
marketing department, more than pounds 10,000 and to pay McIntyre pounds
SAS PR won the account, now held by John Kendall Associates, after
Westminster’s previous agency, the now defunct McIntyre Hodges, hit